Liberty and Justice (Must Be) For All

Published Date: May 25, 2012 | Topics: Religion

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By Robert George

Becket Fund to Thomas More Law Center: Religious Liberty is Everyone’s Right – Not Just Christians

If the Thomas More Law Center professes itself to be a defender of religious liberty, let it follow the lead of the Becket Fund in standing up for the rights of all.

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2012

Following multiple attempts over the past two months to settle matters quietly, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is demanding a public apology from the Thomas More Law Center for insulting both Muslims and the Becket Fund for representing Muslims in the battle for religious freedom.

“The Becket Fund proudly defends the religious liberty of people of every faith,” said Bill Mumma, President of the Becket Fund, the national public interest law firm that successfully argued the landmark Hosanna-Tabor case before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. “Religious freedom is secure for none of us – Muslim, Catholic, Jew – unless it is secure for us all. That’s a universal truth, and the Thomas More Law Center should know that.”

On February 27, 2012, Tom Lynch, the Director of Mission Advancement at Thomas More Law Center, tweeted, “Believe Islam a religion, then support the Becket Fund. Believe it will destroy US, then supt thomasmore.org.”

Immediately following Mr. Lynch’s offensive tweet, Bill Mumma, with Chairman of the Becket Fund Board, Mary Ann Glendon, and fellow Board member, Robert George, wrote to the President of the Thomas More Law Center, Richard Thompson, to express serious disappointment at Mr. Lynch’s tweet. Despite multiple attempts at contact, Mr. Thompson has not responded.

“The religious liberty of people of all faiths is under attack today on various fronts,” said Professor George. “This is no time for people of faith to be fighting amongst ourselves or casting unjust aspersions on each other. If the Thomas More Law Center professes itself to be a defender of religious liberty, let it follow the lead of the Becket Fund in standing up for the rights of all. Religious freedom organizations should be leading the fight against religious bigotry; they should not be practicing it against our Muslim fellow citizens or anyone else.”

The full text of the initial March 2nd letter to Mr. Thompson is below:

Dear Mr. Thompson:

We are, respectively, President, Chairman of the Board, and a member of the Board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. We write to express our concern about a tweet from Tom Lynch, Director of Mission Advancement at Thomas More Law Center.

Here is what it said:

Tom Lynch ‏ @trumpetman

Believe Islam a religion, then support the Becket Fund. Believe it will destroy US, then supt thomasmore.org RT iina.me/wp_en/?p=10070…

We hope you will agree that the sentiment expressed in the tweet is insulting and unworthy of your organization. Above all, it is unjust to our Muslim fellow citizens, and contrary to what we are taught by our Catholic faith. Here is the express teaching of the Second Vatican Council, in the document Nostra Aetate, on the faith of Muslims:

The church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to humanity. They endeavor to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own. Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet; his virgin Mother they also honor, and even at times devoutly invoke. Further, they await the day of judgment and the reward of God following the resurrection of the dead. For this reason they highly esteem an upright life and worship God, especially by way of prayer alms-deeds and fasting.

We respectfully request that you direct Mr. Lynch on behalf of the Thomas More Law Center to send a tweet apologizing to our many Muslim fellow citizens who are honorable, law-abiding people who possess the same right to religious freedom possessed as a matter of natural and constitutional law by all men and women.

Sincerely,

William P. Mumma, Mary Ann Glendon, and Robert P. George

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