Pro-life Oklahoma Democrat turns her attention to religious freedom

Oklahoma State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton sees no conflict between her pro-life views as a Catholic and being a stalwart Democrat who has served 18 years in the state Legislature.

Oklahoma State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Oklahoma State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, a pro-life Democrat, has turned her attention to religious freedom issues.  (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Hamilton, who represents South Oklahoma City, told Catholic News Service during a break this morning in the 2013 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington that her pro-life stance evolved over time after a “powerful religious experience” in the 1980s.

It helped, she said, that she became Catholic in 2002.

Hamilton has cemented her pro-life credentials in the Legislature in recent years despite vocal objections from fellow Democrats and other supporters of Democratic politics. She said one labor official told her to keep her beliefs in church and out of the state Legislature when she shepherded one pro-life measure to passage.

All this after Hamilton worked for a stint for the National Abortion Rights Action League in Oklahoma. Back then, she said, she was hardly religious.

These days, in addition to looking out for her district, Hamilton’s focus is on threats to religious freedom that she sees emerging nationwide. She said it will take the Catholic community — a small minority in Oklahoma — working side by side with people of all faiths to be vigilant about legislative attempts to marginalize religious practice and educate the wider community that any threat to religion poses a threat to all.

One of her priorities: helping form a religious freedom caucus with other like-minded legislators to stop incursions on religious practice.

Hamilton was one of four panelists who discussed challenges to religious freedom during a conference session. She told the 150 people in attendance that her fear is that opponents of religion are becoming bolder in their attacks — verbal, through the courts and in state legislatures.

“You dehumanize a group enough, you marginalize a group enough, it becomes easy to do anything to them,” she said.

CNS will have a report on the conference tomorrow. (UPDATE: You can read the CNS report here.)

Pope’s Eucharist adoration prayers in English y en Español

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has two sets of prayer intentions for the worldwide, simultaneous Eucharistic adoration scheduled for Sunday, June 2.

(CNS/Paul Haring)

(CNS/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, presented the prayer intentions in Italian at a news conference Tuesday. The Vatican’s news aggregator website provided translations in several languages.

In English, the prayers are:

1. “For the Church spread throughout the world and united today in the adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist as a sign of unity: May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’ That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving back joy and serenity.”

2. “For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labor. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”

Y en Español:

1. “Por la Iglesia, extendida en todo el mundo y hoy en señal de unidad recogida en la adoración de la Santísima Eucaristía. Que el Señor la haga cada vez más obediente a la escucha de su Palabra para presentarse ante el mundo siempre “mas hermosa, sin mancha, ni arruga, sino santa e inmaculada”. Que a través de su fiel anuncio, la Palabra que salva resuene aún como portadora de misericordia y haga que el amor se redoble para dar un sentido pleno al dolor y al sufrimiento, devolviendo alegría y serenidad”.

2. “Por aquellos que en los diversos lugares del mundo viven el sufrimiento de nuevas esclavitudes y son víctimas de la guerra, de la trata de personas, del narcotráfico y del trabajo “esclavo”; por los niños y las mujeres que padecen todas las formas de la violencia.¡Que su grito silencioso de ayuda encuentre a la Iglesia vigilante para que, teniendo la mirada puesta en Cristo crucificado no se olvide de tantos hermanos y hermanas dejados a merced de la violencia!. Por todos aquellos que, además, se encuentran en la precariedad económica, sobre todo los desempleados, los ancianos, los inmigrantes, los que carecen de hogar, los presos y cuantos experimentan la marginación. ¡Que la oración de la Iglesia y su cercanía activa les de consuelo y ayuda en la esperanza y fuerza y audacia en la defensa de la dignidad de la persona!”

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