Traditional marriage, parental rights, religious liberty and the humanity of the unborn — many of the great religions of the world agree on these four pillars of moral truth that are increasingly under attack in all segments of society.
The good news is, there are Colorado legislators working to defend these moral principles.
Catholic priests from the Denver and Colorado Springs dioceses will join other religious leaders from a variety of faith traditions to encourage these lawmakers at the annual Pillar Project gathering, set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 on the west steps of the state Capitol.
“Although [the religious leaders] don’t share unity of faith, as the heads of their respective assemblies, they stand in solidarity for the defense of the pillars they believe are indispensable for the welfare of society,” said Aaron Robertson, Pillar Project founder and president. “That’s what this is in a nutshell.”
The event is sponsored by the public advocacy group the Patriot League, which promotes the common good of society through the advancement of America’s founding principles.
All are invited to the free, family friendly, one-hour event.
“Come if you believe in these principles and you want to do something meaningful for those defending them,” said Robertson, who is an evangelical Christian, husband and father. “It may be the best opportunity people have to express appreciation and support to legislators fighting for these shared principles.”
The program includes short talks by legislators. State Sen. John Cooke will speak on traditional marriage and religious liberty. State Rep. Shane Sandridge, will address parental rights, and state Rep. Cole Wist, assistant minority leader, will reflect on the humanity of the unborn. Sandridge and Wist are Catholic parishioners.
“We’ll also be presenting Friend of Motherhood awards,” Robertson said, explaining that the awards underscore the essential role mothers play in society and how the pillar principles uphold and are interwoven in the role of motherhood.
“That’s a special time where Colorado mothers present legislators awards to say thanks for their commitment to the pillar principles,” Robertson said.
The religious leaders include Catholic, evangelical and orthodox Christians, Muslims and Jews who actively lead more than 167,000 Colorado citizens from 42 towns and cities, Robertson said.
Father Andrew Kemberling, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Denver, is the Catholic liaison for the Pillar Project. He urges all Catholic faithful to attend the event.
“This is a nonthreatening way to get to know who your legislators are,” he said. “It’s very welcoming and creates a feeling of good will as [people of different faiths] support what unites us.”
The pillars are in line with Church teaching and advocating for them is critical, Father Kemberling said.
“Our religious freedoms are under attack as we speak,” he asserted. “We find ourselves having unelected people [the Colorado Civil Rights Commission] restricting our religious freedom. That’s what happened to baker Jack Phillips.”
In June, Phillips, the Christian owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, won a U.S. Supreme Court case (7-2) against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission over his refusal, based on his religious convictions, to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Shortly after Phillip’s high court win, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission again sued Masterpiece Cakeshop charging it discriminated against a transsexual last year by refusing to make a cake to celebrate the anniversary of her gender transition.
Fighting back, last month Phillips filed a federal lawsuit accusing the state of “anti-religious hostility” against him and asked the U.S. District Court in Denver to overturn the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s recent ruling, ABC News reported.
“Even after the Supreme Court said [the Civil Rights Commission’s] behavior was wrong, they went after him again!” Father Kemberling said. “That’s why we need to attend the Pillar Project event. Our support of these legislators can change how such commissions are put together and whether to fund them. Our religious freedom is under attack.”
10 -11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 22
West steps of state Capitol