2009: On Fighting The Battle

We had a big victory at the state Capitol last week with the effective defeat of S.B 1098, the bill which would have removed the authority of Catholic bishops over their parishes. I’m just back from the Capitol, where it appears we may have had another major victory today–though I can’t say too much about it yet (watch for more info in your in-boxes tomorrow).

Many legislators–including several who are not normally known for supporting us–are approaching FIC to congratulate us on our success and to encourage us to keep it up. Their comments got me thinking about the strategies that helped bring us to this point. As we move to the next level of this battle (again, see tomorrow’s e-mail), it might be good to do a quick review.

Our adversaries have a certain idea of what a social conservative is and they desperately want to put us into that box. That is why The Fairfield Weekly–without making so much as a phone call to us first to check their facts–has falsely attributed to FIC a flyer that was distributed at last week’s rally. In fact, the flyer we did distribute that day was a bit more sedate.

That’s FIC’s style: tough but professional, assertive but civil, storming the bastions, yes, but in a spirit of truth speaking in love. That’s why even The Courant reported on my “steady voice and earnest, scholarly demeanor” (their words) in a 2007 front page article. That’s why we became the state’s leading voice for faith and family in the halls of government, the media and other elite institutions.

And that is what we must remember going forward. Rep. Lawlor and Sen. McDonald have repeatedly used their authority as co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee to put the Christian faith on trial. FIC members will work to hold them accountable for it in the same manner we always have: by being polite, courteous and civil–while confident in the truths we are defending.

The Fairfield Weekly’s shabby excuse for journalism is a reminder that the path we walk is not an easy one. Things said or done by others will be falsely attributed to us.

And even our willingness to take the high road will be used as a weapon against us. In a public hearing just last week, for instance, Rep. Gail Hamm (D-East Hampton) claimed she was “offended” by my “rude” refusal to play along with a particularly hostile line of questioning from Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor.

The task before us is to speak the truth in love while not kowtowing to those opponents–like Rep. Hamm–who would have us believe that the only way to behave is to do as we’re told. (Hamm, ever the schoolmarm, even had this complaint about me: “I heard snickering!”)

Watch for more information about FIC’s next steps. And God bless you all for being neither what our adversaries pretend we are or what Gail Hamm would like to make us into.

10 Responses to “2009: On Fighting The Battle”

  1. on 17 Mar 2009 at 4:25 pmPeter pahlsson

    President Williams,
    What happened to “for the people by the people”? If its really in your power please remove Lawlor from this completely corrupt chairmanship!!!!!! Peter Pahlsson Branford CT.

  2. on 17 Mar 2009 at 5:27 pmRichard Byrnes

    Note of Protest sent to Senator McDonald and Representative Lawlor on 3/16/2009 for review on the FIC Blog:

    Senate Bill 1098, Attack on Religious Freedoms, a most propitious moment in time:

    Dear Senator McDonald and Representative Lawlor;

    I have served my country as an officer in the United States Navy Submarine Program, and understand the sacrifices and trials of public service. In this regard, I respect and thank you for your service, however I must rigorously object to your proposed bill to modify laws that govern the incorporation of the Catholic Church.

    I like many of the silent majority from all political persuasions who find themselves occupied with the toils of our daily lives, and the hectic businesses we work to sustain, seldom have the time to comment on matters of such public interest. However, ironically, I find myself partially unemployed due to the economic down turn, and perhaps for the first time in 26 years have a brief moment to render a statement on such an essential issue.

    SB-1098, which you have co-sponsored, is of great concern to all Americans who hold dearly the principles so eloquently set forth in our nation’s first birth in 1776, the Declaration of Independence, and its second birth in 1787, the Constitution of the United States, along with the Bill of Rights adopted in 1789. The issue at stake, Amendment I, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

    Clearly your proposed bill 1098 to modify an existing 1955 statute, stands in stark contrast to the principle of the first amendment, whereby the bill would mandate by law that the Catholic Church set aside its Apostolic tenet, concede its right to free exercise, and replace it with a state mandated board of laity to control all financial matters exclusive of the Bishop and Priests, thus effectively dissolving the Apostolic nature of our core beliefs as Catholics. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, our founding Democratic-Republican brothers, as historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author Joseph J. Ellis refers to them, would be appalled with such a measure.

    The protest banners and signs have been momentarily put away, the crowds that on short notice appeared at the state capital in protest of SB-1098 have gone home and back to the rigors of their daily lives. The press is assessing what exactly did happen here? The Bill was proposed, tabled, and a sizable protest spontaneously precipitated in the course of one week, unprecedented by the standards of the glacial movement of political time.

    It is my belief our silent majority is not easily fooled, and that any further tampering with the 1955 statute, which was actually supported by many religious organizations, and was written to further religious freedoms by allowing hierarchical religions such as the Catholic Church to form corporate structures consistent with the laws and teachings of their respective faiths, would be viewed as a further assault on our first amendment rights. Therefore, I respectfully request that you and our State Attorney General drop all further deliberations on this matter, for we do stand ready to raise the banner of protest once again.

    Lastly, and respectfully Mr. McDonald and Mr. Lawlor, I am compelled to a course of action, and see this as a most propitious time to utilize the free exercise of our electoral rights to oppose vigorously any efforts on your part to continue to represent the people of Connecticut. Yes, another great gift given to us by those founding brothers, unless of course you feel so dedicated to also adjust these laws and rights to your advantage.

    The basis of my opposition is simple, when there are so many vital issues to bring to the public forum, such as unemployment and the declining health of our businesses in this great state, why choose a frontal assault on our first amendment rights? Clearly one must question the prudence of judgment. Given this, it is not our Bishops and Priest that we have lost confidence in, however perhaps, we are losing confidence in some of our elected officials.

    Rich Byrnes

    Concerned Catholic and Jeffersonian

  3. on 17 Mar 2009 at 5:35 pmDr. Jim Steffen

    Its time for more rational leadership in the Judiciary Committee. Lawlor and McDonald must go

  4. on 17 Mar 2009 at 7:41 pmKate Geary

    Hi there! Great instructional reminder on remaining steadfast and true. I saw Gail Hamm that day scolding you for not acquiescing as she thought an inferior should do! Pretty arrogant.
    Wed the 11th, at the end of the open forum, another woman and I (4th and second from last to speak),made seperate mention of the disparity shown to the different groups seeking consideration before the committee re SB899 by the co-moderators. Wanted you to know that several of the committee members responded that they were very concerned to hear that. I would like to speak with you re writing letters to editors and becoming more knowledgeable of the legislative process. One of the representatives has offerred to help me “intern, volunteer” and I wondered what your thoughts are. I am listed as a member of FIC and you can respond to this email. Thanks again for all your hard work and “steady earnest voice and scholarly demeanor.” I told my husband you were a lion before wolves. Kate

  5. on 17 Mar 2009 at 8:50 pmArthur mcNally

    Please remove Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawlor from their positions of responsibility on the Judiciary Committee. They have proved that they are not competent enough to hold their positions of responsibility.

  6. on 18 Mar 2009 at 4:03 pmJohn Henry Redgate

    Sen. McDonald and Rep. Lawler must go.Their bigoted,nefarious and agenda driven anti-Catholic politics have disgraced the Judiciary commitee and are an embarassment to the people of Connecticut. I will be writing and phoning these twin culprits directly.

  7. on 18 Mar 2009 at 4:37 pmPatrick M. Cane

    Dear Mr. Williams,

    Please Remove and Replace Rep. Lawlor & Sen. Mcdonald
    and replace these men with, 2 respectable and responseable Judiciary Committee members.

    The attacks on our religious freedoms must stop!!

    Thank you,
    Patrick Cane

  8. on 21 Mar 2009 at 10:55 pmTricia

    Hi Kate! (I believe I am the one you referred to in your post #4.) I very much enjoyed meeting and talking with you, and hearing your testimony at the informational public hearing.)

    I hope you will write letters to the editors of newspapers, and stay involved with these important battles for faith, family and freedom, in Hartford and where you live. I guess you know that you can send letters by e-mail, to papers such as and, by going to their websites. I have not done it lately, but many others can be reached at once through the “voter voice” link at FIC.

    For what my opinion is worth—if you want to run for statewide office, then interning at the capitol could be helpful. However, I believe you have already strongly evidenced that you HAVE what it takes to be an effective activist for those values and issues that FIC is involved with and you care about. So, imo, you don’t need ‘training’ to be an effective advocate and speaker in hearings and with your neighbors, as well as elected representatives. You already have those skills and abilities.



  9. on 23 Mar 2009 at 3:12 pmMary Nagy

    Please remove Representative Michael Lawlor and Senator McDonald and replace these legislative members with respectful leaders who will not abuse their powers as voice of Connecticut constituents. We cannot even call this abuse ‘special interest’, it is clearly tyranny.
    Mary Nagy

  10. on 08 Apr 2009 at 3:08 pmKC

    Hi, everyone:

    I am new to this blog, but not new to FIC. I became involved with the Family Institute of CT a few years back, thanks to Brian Brown. FIC is a wonderful organization and I’m grateful to have them working with the people of CT to protect our families and our religious freedoms. I have responded to every request of FIC to contact our Senators and Representatives and have grown increasingly frustrated. But I recently had the opportunity to correspond with a new Senator, Michael McLachlan, and I was immediately impressed with him. Although he is not my Senator, he responded to all my messages, sent me updates on what’s been happening in Hartford, and actually listened to what I had to say. I was shocked. I’m not familiar with this kind of response. Thank you to FIC, Senator McLachlan and anyone else standing with us in our daily battles. Religious liberty is our God-given and constitutional right and we should not have to fight to exercise it. We have enough problems trying to keep our jobs, put food on the table and keep our families safe.

    These attacks have gotten so far out of control, it’s mind boggling. This is definitely NOT what our Founding Fathers and the framers of the consitution intended; certainly NOT what they gave their very lives for!

    We must stand strong in the fight. With God all things are possible! Peace and God Bless!

Leave a Reply