Our US Bishops have asked us to set aside Saturday, June 21st to Friday, July 4th, to pray, fast, and speak up for religious liberty in our country. Under the current Obama administration, our religious liberty is under constant attack. For example, through his HHS (Health and Human Services) mandate, Catholic as well as other Christian employers are being forced to provide contraception and abortion inducing drugs for their employees through their health insurance plans. Of course, the Obama administration is trying to say that it is no big deal because the insurance companies will be the ones who provide the contraception and abortion inducing drugs through their health plans, and not the employers. But what the administration doesn’t understand is that the Catholic and/or Christian employers have to sign the forms, thus complying with the evil of providing the contraception and abortion inducing drugs for their employees. Go back almost 500 years, and we can see a similar decision faced both St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More. St. John Fisher (1469-1535) was first the chancellor at Cambridge, England. He then became a Bishop at the age of 35 years old. Bishop Fisher was a very courageous bishop, writing 8 books against heresy at the same time that the Protestant Reformation was just beginning. St. Thomas More (1478-1535) was a husband, father of 4, lawyer, literary scholar, and the chancellor of England. It was in 1531 that King Henry VIII decided to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, because she hadn’t bore him a successor to his throne. Of course, the Pope wouldn’t approve of this, nor his bishop John Fisher. St. Thomas More the chancellor was also a faithful Catholic, and therefore wouldn’t go along with the king’s adultery either. King Henry then decided to not only go along with marrying his mistress Anne Boleyn, but then made himself the head of the church of England, thus breaking away from the Catholic Church. The king was so enraged with Bishop Fisher and Thomas More, that he had them arrested on high treason charges, imprisoned in the Tower of London, and finally beheaded – martyred. Both St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More are great intercessors for us Catholics who put God first in our lives, and are trying to preserve our religious liberty. As we get ready to celebrate our own Independence Day as a nation tomorrow, let us not forget the blood of these martyrs who stood up for what they believed in, and were even willing to die for their religious beliefs. God Bless!