Today, I Am Catholic

Today, I am Catholic.

Not because I necessarily agree with many positions of the Roman Catholic Church, but because I believe in religious liberty. There is no right more precious than the right to practice your religious beliefs. We enjoy the freedom of religion–not freedom from religion–as the first of our basic rights. Those who proposed the Bill of Rights correctly placed freedom of religion first. This freedom is basic and provides the ground work for all other rights and privileges.

But now, this freedom is being seriously challenged. The Obama administration has mandated changes which require religious institutions–but not churches yet–to provide health care for workers which include contraception, abortion-inducing drugs such as the morning after pill, and sterilization. All of these issues are fundamental to the Catholic conscience. To this point in American history, we have not faced this kind of opposition to the dictates of conscience. Even with the “accommodations” of the administration, this is a serious issue that should not be ignored.

To deny freedom of religion to some is to deny it to all.

I have dictates of conscience which are non-negotiable. I want Catholics and others to respect and appreciate those areas which are sacred to me. For this reason, today I am Catholic. I wish my Catholic friends to know that I stand with them in defense of the precious freedom of conscience.

Last week, I sat with editors of the largest Christian newspapers in Scandinavia. Remember, these countries still have a state church. Our freedom of religion is unique in world history. Why would we so quickly and easily give up our God given and God inspired freedom?

No one is threathening my freedom to preach–yet. But we already have school administrators and teachers who easily deny students the right to assemble and pray or even to bring a Bible to school. We have quickly lost something precious. If this is upheld for the Catholics, what will Baptists face?

Thankfully, we are not alone in upholding religious freedom. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod stated that “This action by HHS will have the effect of forcing many religious organizations to choose between following the letter of the law and operating within the framework of their religious tenets.” The National Association of Evangelicals held that “No government has the right to compel its citizens to violate their conscience. The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent.” I am thankful for Christians and Jews who are standing for the principle of religious freedom.

Two years ago, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. At the entrance are engraved the haunting words of German pastor Martin Niemoller, who spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in Dachau.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Please forward this to your friends and call/write your senators and representatives. It is time for us to speak up for the Catholics.

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  1. Diane S. Baker
    Feb 11, 2012

    Waylon, thank you for speaking on this. I totally agree with you. This is a serious situation we’re facing.

  2. Carleen Burgess
    Feb 11, 2012

    Waylon, thank you for being our leader. I agree with you.

  3. Maureen Chambless
    Feb 11, 2012

    Thank you for expounding on this issue….today we are also Catholic.

  4. Bethellen
    Feb 11, 2012

    Thanks for this important post today! We can all relate to what could happen to us as well as our Catholic friends. Thanks for your leadership!!!

  5. Tissie Gibson
    Feb 11, 2012

    A very thought-provoking post. It is very scary to think what could happen in our country if Christians do not stand together and speak out for our beliefs. Thanks for all you do!

  6. Ed Matthew
    Feb 11, 2012


  7. Beverly Kiefer
    Feb 12, 2012

    Thank you for standing up with us on this matter. We Christians must all stand together before they silence us as they did the Christians in the Soviet Union.

  8. Byron Mullet
    Feb 13, 2012

    Obama is counting on all the “emerging voters” to carry him over the top in 2012. You know the third and fourth generation of children, now voting adults, inculcated with Darwinism, amoral sexuality and abortion in our public funded schools? We the People, Catholics, Baptists etc funded the theft of not only our own children’s faith, but their consciences. The arrogance of Progressive Obama, is that he seems to think America is at the “tipping point” and he can already disregard your and my Christian conscience. He seems to think also that he doesn’t even need your vote! Sadly, he may be right? Repent America and take away the power to destroy us from within.

  9. Lynne Barlow
    Feb 14, 2012

    Thank you for reminding me of the importance of speaking up and speaking out against wrongs. I always appreciate your insights in these matters. As Christians, we can no longer afford to be apathetic in matters of faith.

  10. Dana R. Doyle
    Feb 14, 2012

    I am a Catholic everyday – and so glad that you wrote this post. I am very worried about our religious freedoms being taken away. We cannot sit by an let it happen. I discussed this with my students, quoting – the old saying – “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I don’t want to live in a country without religious freedom!

  11. Sam
    Feb 15, 2012

    I am Catholic, and it’s great to see leaders of other denominations recognizing this as an attack on all religious liberty – not just the liberty of Catholics. This is an opportunity to come together and be united (Jn 17:20-23).

  12. […] “Today, I Am Catholic,” by Waylon Bailey in his blog, showing solidarity with the Catholics who stood against the Obama administration policies about health care which marginalized freedom of religion. […]

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. — Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)