Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fallen America

It is such a quiet thing to fall... but far more terrible is to admit it.

--Kreia, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords


I hear people debating from time on if America will lose its freedom. My take is to say, "What do you mean If?"

I don't say that to be facetious. I say it because it is true. Certain groups of Americans have lost their freedoms of expression if it goes against the behaviors which the government and media elites have decided to support.

Now loss of freedom does not automatically mean 'totalitarian dictatorship.' There are certainly degrees of infringement. A military junta will behave in a different manner than a nation which imagines itself to be a democracy under the rule of law.

So, in writing on this loss of freedom, I'm not equating what goes on here with what goes on in North Korea or the Middle East. Rather, I am pointing out that, compared to what our Constitution professes, our nation is now interfering with religious freedom.

Also,  I'm not dealing with non government attacks. Individuals favoring unconstitutional laws are foolish, but not doing something illegal -- it's when they become law, or executive order or a Court ruling that they become relevant to this article.

Understanding Freedom

One of the problems is understanding what freedom means. In modern thought, it is taken to mean I may do what I wish without any restriction. But the problem with this concept is it means too much. It means a law which interferes with my whims restricts freedom... regardless of what my whim may be.

That's not freedom. That's called anarchy.

Freedom is the ability to do what we ought to do without being hindered. If I believe I am obligated to live according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the government does not have the right to hinder this.

It's stupid to say "I'm not free" if I can't have public access to large quantities of drugs and women of loose women." Nobody is entitled to that.

But it's not stupid to say "I'm not free" if the government can tell me that I or my business must go against that which God commands I must do or must not do.

The first example says "The law must sanction my wants." The second says "the law cannot interfere with my obligations before God."

That's an important distinction. Nobody's conscience tells them "I must abort my child" or "I must engage in homosexual activity." It does tell them "I must not murder," or "I must obey God."

So if the law tells a person "you must support that which your conscience forbids," the law is unjust. And really, the first amendment seems built around the right of the individual not to be forced to do what is evil and to speak out in defending that right.

What the Constitution Says

When the First Amendment says:

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.

We see that the Government cannot mandate a State Religion that others must follow. Nor can it interfere with the free exercise of a religion. If the government interferes with how a person carries out their religious faith,  they are violating the certain unalienable Rights (Declaration of Independence) which no government can bestow or take away.

A religion holds members to following a certain moral code, where refusing obedience is sinning against God. So it follows that laws which prevent the following of that moral code do prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Laws and Court Decisions Violate the Constitution

But it is this free exercise of religion which Federal and State governments do violate. The HHS contraceptive mandate decrees that schools and hospitals attached to a church do not have the right to refuse providing contraception to employees who demand it -- even though that interferes with the free exercise of religion of the religion that established them.

Religion is not merely worship or ritual. It involves doctrine and moral teaching. It involves obligation for those who confess it to be true. The government cannot interfere with the individual who believes their religious beliefs says they cannot do a thing...

...But the government does interfere. They say that the man who refuses to participate in providing services recognizing "gay marriage" by making a cake or providing photographs can face legal action. The business that refuses to pay for abortion services out of religious conviction can face ruinous fines. The religious pharmacists who refuse to distribute abortifacients can be fired.

Schools run by churches, which have a right to be concerned about the moral example set for students by teachers, get sued if they fire a teachers who creates a scandal by public immorality.

Let's not forget that in San Antonio, a proposed city ordinance seeks to bar people from city government those who "demonstrated bias" against people with a same sex attraction... something so vague that it can exclude who say they think so-called "gay marriage" is wrong.

This not only violates the 1st amendment by interfering with the free exercise of religion, but it violates Article VI of the Constitution by imposing a religion test:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. (Article VI).

Because the government (via Justice Kennedy) has decreed all opposition to homosexual behavior is based on intolerance, the City Council of San Antonio can decide that religious beliefs disqualifies one from city service.

It is quite clear that the US Government in its laws, executive orders and court decisions is violating the Constitution.


America is not in danger of losing freedom. No, our government has taken away freedom already -- with the support of many who short sightedly hate us for speaking against evil, and the tolerance of those who are either ignorant or apathetic about what is being done.

The fall was quiet. But admitting it is the terrible thing... and I think many would rather deny it than face the reality and have to do something about it.

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