Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila joined civil leaders and representatives from various faith traditions in Fargo today to express support for Measure 3. The Archbishop, who will be leaving North Dakota to become the Archbishop of Denver, said:
“Now is the time to stop those who wish to trample upon our treasured religious liberties. Now is the time to stop Planned Parenthood’s plans for North Dakota. Now is the time to say “Yes” to Measure 3. With your prayers, with your efforts, with your votes, when I leave North Dakota it will be a better place because of Measure 3. Measure 3 will help preserve the North Dakota we love for your children, your grandchildren and all who come after us.”
The Archbishop’s prepared remarks are below.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are here today because North Dakota is vulnerable. It is vulnerable because North Dakota law does not provide adequate protection for religious liberty. It is vulnerable because those, like Planned Parenthood, who wish to trample upon conscience and religious freedom have realized that North Dakota’s weak level of protection for religious freedom provides fertile ground to pursue their anti-life and anti-family agenda.
North Dakotans were not responsible for creating this gap in legal protection. It came about from a series of legal decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. But with Measure 3 North Dakotans can close this gap before those with bad intentions use it to their advantage.
Religious liberty is a precious gift from God. It is a right that every human person possesses by virtue of being human, whether we are Catholic or Protestant, Jew or Muslim, Hindu or Sikh, Mormon or Buddhist. Civil law must protect this natural right to the greatest extent possible without threatening the peace and safety of others.
His Holiness Pope Benedict has appointed me as the new Archbishop of Denver, but for now I am with you as a citizen of North Dakota. During my eleven years in this state I have come to learn that North Dakotans are a pro-life people. They are also a pro-family people. But make no mistake, your ability to be pro-life and pro-family is being threatened and Measure 3 is a strong defense against that threat.
This is why Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider and an organization committed to infringing upon the religious liberties of pro-life people of conscience, has funded nearly all of the negative “No on 3” campaign, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state to prevent you from having religious freedom. They know what legal experts from the Ivy League to the county courthouse know: under current North Dakota law government can infringe upon your religious freedom for any reason, even if is not a compelling reason, and you have few or no remedies.
Measure 3 restores protection for peacefully acting North Dakotans trying to live according to their faith. But this is unacceptable to Planned Parenthood and the culture of death. That is why they hate Measure 3. It stands in their way of imposing their will on North Dakotans.
Now is the time to stop those who wish to trample upon our treasured religious liberties. Now is the time to stop Planned Parenthood’s plans for North Dakota. Now is the time to say “Yes” to Measure 3.
With your prayers, with your efforts, with your votes, when I leave North Dakota it will be a better place because of Measure 3. Measure 3 will help preserve the North Dakota we love for your children, your grandchildren and all who come after us.