NEW YORK, April 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Roman Catholic bishops issued a statement Thursday calling for parishioners to take part in a "great national campaign" to defend religious liberty.
The proclamation asked every diocese to hold a "Fortnight for Freedom" during the two weeks leading up to July 4 for parishioners to fight what they called the government's attempts to curtail religious freedom, The New York Times reported.
"To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other," the statement said.
The statement pointed to seven examples of what they said were violations by the U.S. government, including immigration laws in some states preventing Catholic clergy from ministering to illegal immigrants.
The bishops also assert the U.S. government violates religious freedoms by requiring Catholic institutions to have insurance plans that cover birth control.
"In the face of an unjust law," the bishops wrote, "an accommodation is not to be sought, especially by resorting to equivocal words and deceptive practices. If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them."