Festival For Freedom

First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Welcome to Festival For Freedom

Religous freedom “Festival for Freedom” originally was a 14-day gathering in June / July 2012 to focus on our First Amendment rights being violated by the Federal HHS mandate’s forcing insurance coverage for contraception, abortifacients and sterilization. That “Fortnight” was called by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to oppose these intrinsic evils attacking both conscience and religious freedom. Our successful FESTIVAL FOR FREEDOM, attended by over 500 people, heard many nationwide expert speakers teaching on American and Religious principles. We have continued to meet, track news and encourage each other in ongoing vigilance to protect our God-given rights, and the country’s moral fiber. We have added advocacy to our charter: “Protect the unborn, Defend marriage and Safeguard religious liberty.” We will continue to speak and work against intrinsic evils in our country’s laws. We thank those who regularly visit this website and support our goals.

CandleLight Vigil for Life: 4-15-13 PROGRAM


People from all over NYS will be heading to Albany on Monday, April 15th for a CandleLight Vigil for Life to send an important message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others who

  • so devalue life that they are willing to extend abortion right up to the time of delivery!
  • are so lacking in respect for the mother carrying the child that they are willing to let any old “health care provider” do the dirty work (as more doctors, remembering their oath, decline to do so.)
  • who are so disrespectful of parental rights that children who can’t go on a school bustrip without parental permission can nevertheless have an abortion without a parent’s knowledge!
  • And who willingly undermine the conscience rights of everyone and erode the very meaning of the Bill of Rights!


Welcome to NYS under Andrew Cuomo,

Abortion Capital of the U.S. 

Soon be the Infanticide Capital as well?

What to do?  Stand up and be heard!  Buses will be leaving in the morning from various points in the 12-county Rochester Diocese on April 15th, and returning that evening.  Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for students.  There will be an opportunity at about 2:30 PM to visit with legislators, to get a bite to eat (bring your own food, or pick something up on a Thruway stop), then to attend the Vigil and pray.  Names of petitioners opposing the threatening legislation will be delivered to show the widespread resistance to the Cuomo catastrophe.

Albany Vigil Program

To make arrangements, contact Deacon Claude Lester at Albanyvigil@dor.org or by phone at 585-750-7524.   All reservations must be accompanied by payment.  Visa and Mastercard will be accepted.  Checks may be sent to Festival for Freedom, PO Box 196, Canandaigua, NY 14424.  Call also if you are carpooling and wish to coordinate plans.  All reservations must be made and monies received by Thursday, April 11, 2013.  See also http://www.nyscatholic.org/ and www.newyorkersforlife.org for additional information.

It is better to light one candle at the Albany Vigil

than to curse the darkness when the lights of life go out.


candles croppedcandles cropped

Speaking Out for the Most Vulnerable

The reason that God gave us Freedom of Religion and the reason the State (Nation) is supposed to protect it is so that we can exercise that Freedom on behalf of our Creator, as He calls us to do.  And nowhere do we show more faithful exercise than when we speak out and act on behalf of the weakest and most vulnerable.  But no one is more vulnerable and weak than the infant in the womb.  When the governor of a state (or the president of a country) threatens to enact more laws that will further lead to destruction of the most vulnerable human beings, it will not be surprising to see future legislation extended to such abominations as infanticide up to 2 years old, forced abortions especially of ‘less than perfect’ humans, forced euthanasia, refusal of necessary medical treatment to avoid premature death, and worse.  

Thus,  the quicker people stand together in opposition to atrocities, the more likely they can postpone or never have to deal with the next atrocity bound to come, when people do not resist.  And, make no mistake, anyone who can permit the killing of a baby in the womb most assuredly is capable of doing much worse.

We do not stand alone in the Body of Christ, we stand together.  And there is no place for toleration of intrinsic evils, or for permitting Cuomo’s pending legislation to destroy life, variously called S-438, RHA (Reproductive Health Act) or Women’s Health Act.  Health is not about killing; it is about saving and protecting life.  There are 879 people, who attend St. Benedict’s Parish (St. Mary Canandaigua and St. Bridget Bloomfield), who had the courage to stand together and say “NO!” to Gov. Cuomo.  Here is a picture of what their “NO!” looks like:

petitions NYS 001 bright

petitions NYS 011 petitionEach person signed a peition in the format commonly required in New York State; i.e with addresses.  

In addition to the paper petitions,   their names were also transferred to the signage shown in Church.

It  shows how the Body of Christ can stand together, encouraging each other, rather than feeling alone or uncertain how to proceed. 

   It is a powerful statement of spiritual solidarity. 

Now, dare we dream, that every Church might do the same?

On April 15th there will be a procession to Albany to register our “NO!” and to pray for life. 

Watch this website for more information.  Meanwhile it is not too early to begin to gather signatures. 

The wording on the petition is shown in the box to the left.

It is not about us.

It is about God’s weakest and most vulnerable.



879 and Counting…

…on YOU!






New York and Cuomo Teeter on the Brink of More Evil: Coming Soon: Going to Albany to “Tell the Gov”

The Cuomo Abortion Expansion bill is ominously looming over all of NYS, as well as pending vote in the NYS Senate.  There are people from many states (and even outside the US) who follow this website, and since what is happening in New York bodes ill for the entire nation,  it is worth trying to comprehend what Gov. Cuomo is threatening to do to NYS.  As for its place on this website, expansion of abortion even further destroys what should be the rights of the unborn, to survive, to be born, to live!  The racial profiling analysis of abortions indicates a disproportionate use of abortion against babies of color.  And taxpayer funding of abortion violates the rights of conscience of all taxpayers who oppose abortion.

A petition is at the very end of this post, but letters to the editor are even more influential than petitions, which some people have noted Cuomo seems to ignore with impunity.

Here are the highlights of this immorality Gov. Cuomo is about to be foist on the citizens of NYS.  See also http://www.nys4life.com

The Abortion Expansion Bill

This legislation would usher in extreme and sweeping changes to abortion policy in New York State. 

  • The bill would permit unlimited late-term abortion on demand, which will allow more third-trimester abortions in New York State, a policy which the public strongly disapproves.  This ignores the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the lives of fully formed children in the womb, and ignores the will of a majority of New Yorkers who oppose late-term abortion.
  • The bill would endanger the lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions. While current law states that only a “duly licensed physician” may perform an abortion, this bill would allow any “licensed health care practitioner” to perform an abortion “prior to viability”.   This dangerous and extreme change clearly puts women’s health at risk, and mirrors a national abortion strategy to permit non-doctors to perform abortions due to the declining number of physicians willing to do so.
  • The bill would preclude any future reasonable regulations of abortion. It would establish a “fundamental right of privacy” within New York State law, encompassing the right “to terminate a pregnancy,” even though the Supreme Court has rejected, numerous times, classifying abortion as a “fundamental right.”  This bill says that abortion is fundamental and thus untouchable – no regulations on abortion, ever:
    • no parental notification for minors’ abortions,
    • no limits on taxpayer funding of abortion,
    • no limits on late-term abortions,
    • no informed consent for pregnant women seeking abortion.
    • None of the commonsense regulations enacted by the vast majority of states and supported by large majorities of the public would be allowed in New York.
  • The bill endangers the religious liberty of Catholic hospitals and other institutions. While the bill contains limited conscience protection, that protection is ambiguous and inadequate and is extended only to individual health providers who do not wish to “provide” abortions (protection that is already guaranteed by Civil Rights law.) What is not provided in the bill are protections for institutional providers, such as religious hospitals and other agencies that do not wish to be involved with abortion. The bill declares that “the state shall not discriminate” against the exercise of the fundamental right to abortion in the “provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.”  In other words, it would permit state regulators, such as the State Health Department or State Insurance Department, to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.
  • The bill could be used to undermine the state’s maternity programs. In a similar way, these beneficial programs, which are working well to reduce infant mortality, could be ruled “discriminatory” for favoring childbirth over abortion, and be denied state benefits if this bill were to become law.


The abortion expansion bill is uncompromising in its terms and extremely sweeping in scope.  The bill goes against the increasingly pro-life sentiment in this country, as evidenced by the most recent Marist poll (December 2012) which found that more than 8 in 10 Americans favor significant restrictions on abortion.  The Gallup Organization (May 2011) found that only 27% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances. The majority of American adults (61%) believe abortion should either be more strictly limited than current law or not permitted at all.

Not only does the bill defy public opinion, but it also defies common sense.  New York State remains the abortion capital of the nation with the highest abortion rate of any state. New York City’s abortion rate remains at 40%, with some geographic regions within the city at 60%.  The reality is that, unfortunately,  no woman is without ample opportunity for an abortion in New York State.  Rather than voting on a bill that will increase the tragedy of abortion, we urge policy makers to look at constructive ways to reduce abortion and truly make abortion “rare.”

 Petition Letter to Gov. Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York State Capitol

Albany, NY 12224

Re: Stop the Cuomo Abortion Expansion Bill

Dear Governor Cuomo:

I am strongly opposed to the abortion expansion bill. Whether it is a stand-alone bill (like S.438, Stewart-Cousins), or re-packaged in a so-called women’s rights agenda, it is a bill to increase and expand abortion in a state that currently leads the nation in abortions. The proposal is no simple update to New York’s abortion laws, as proponents claim. It is a radical bill that would allow nonphysicians to perform abortions, permit more late-term abortions, and could be used to compel all medical facilities, including religious hospitals, to allow abortions.

This proposal is unnecessary and dangerous. Women will not reach new heights of equality through more abortion. Abortion is already widely available in New York. We need to work together to reduce abortion, not expand it. I strongly urge you to oppose any expansion of abortion in New York State.


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Bioethics International Art Competition: $15,000 purse

Many of those who attended the 2012 Festival for Freedom will remember speaker  Daniel Kane, Director of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights,  Rome, Italy, who spoke on “The Slippery Slope.” 

Now he has brought to our attention an international art competition, for which we are happy to share this space, to make more people aware of the opportunity.

Calling Artists and Photographers of Faith and Good Will – The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, Rome Announces Our 2nd Global Art Competition:

Create an image, with respect for all cultures and religions, that speaks to the impact of life sciences for present and future generations  ~ Illustrate Love, Compassion and Care.”

The Awards Purse Total is $15,000 and the categories include Fine Art, Photography and Student Art (ages 13-17). 

The deadline for the 2013 Competition is April 1, 2013.  The Student Art Deadline is July 1, 2013.  Winning art work will be exhibited at the UNESCO Multicultural and Religion Conference in Hong Kong December 3-5, 2013.   Additional Exhibits are in negotiation for Rome, New York (United Nations) and Houston.

 See http://www.bioethicsart.org for past winners, requirements and further information.  For further information contact Daniel Kane, Director, at (770) 335-0263 or dkane@unescobiochair.org.

For more information on what is Bioethics and why should art be associated with it, see: http://www.bioethicsart.org/bioethics/what-is-bioethics/


Contact Us

Festival For Freedom.
PO Box 196
Canandaigua, NY, 14424



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