Showing posts with label State. Show all posts
Showing posts with label State. Show all posts

Friday, April 1, 2016

Christianos ad leones! Once More, Here We Go Again

From the first century AD to the present, harassment and persecution of the Church by government or cultural elites have followed a pattern:

  1. Accuse the Church of obstinately clinging to an unpopular teaching out of hostility and bad will.
  2. Attack the Church, using a false accusation as justification for unjust treatment. 
  3. Offer to relent if the Church will cede a part of the obedience owed to God to the state.
  4. When the Church refuses, increase the attacks and use that refusal as “proof” of unreasonableness of the Church and justification for continued mistreatment.

Sometimes these attacks have been overt, cruel and barbaric. Sometimes they masquerade as enforcement of an ordinarily good law but is misapplied. But regardless of how it is done [*], the State using these tactics is abusing its authority and often betraying the principles it was established under. In most circumstances, the Church in a region has two choices: To endure the persecution while trying to convert the persecutor or to capitulate to the State and consent to doing evil or having evil done in her name. The goal of the state is to force the second option. The call of the Christian is to choose the first option.

In the 21st century, the political and cultural elites of America seems determined to continue this cycle. No, it’s not brutal like the overt attacks on the Church in past centuries. Instead of arenas and wild beasts, it is courts and lawyers and instead of executioners and gulags, it is fines and lawsuits. But the end result is the same: The state usurps the power to compel the Christian to give support for what his religion calls evil. In doing so, America betrays the values she was founded upon. The explicit forbidding of the government to pass laws which interfere with the free practice of religion without a compelling interest (meaning vital for the safety of the country and with the least interference when proven compelling interest exists) has been perverted to the point that the state claims the right to coerce religion into abandoning whatever moral teaching is unpopular with the political and cultural elites.

We see this most recently with the vetoing of (and refusing to enforce) laws that seek to protect the freedom of religion from harassment by the state. The term Religious Freedom is put in Scare Quotes and portrayed as discrimination. The goal is to portray Christians who invoke their constitutional rights of freedom from state coercion as if they were calling for the right to mistreat people they dislike—a charge which is entirely false and one that makes use of the antics of a tiny minority to stereotype their behavior as the behavior of the whole group. In any other case, that tactic would be considered gross bigotry (for example, stereotypes like: all Muslims are terrorists, all blacks are felons, all Hispanics are illegal aliens).

The fact is, the Christian must do what is right before God—which is vastly different from the antics of the Westboro Baptists or suicide bombers—and what is right before God also means seeking the true good of our fellow human beings [†] even if we are harassed or persecuted for doing so. That is why we reject the charges against us. Our teachings and moral obligations are not based on the hatred of the sinner. If that were the case, we would have to hate ourselves as we believe we are all sinners in need of a Savior. People ma call us bigots, but that is nothing more than slander aimed at vilifying us for speaking against the popular vices of a society. Our Church absolutely forbids us from interpreting God’s commands as justifying mistreatment of the sinner [§].

So society has a choice to make. It can choose to try understanding the what and why of Church teaching and thus discover that the reason for our teaching is sound. Or it can choose to ignore the obligation to search for the truth and speak falsely against us. But if America should choose the latter option, she should consider this. The harassment of the Church and denial of religious freedom is ignoring the principles of the Bill of Rights. If society should decide that they are justified in ignoring one part as not being important, then they will have nothing to say if another group should use the same reasoning to suppress a different part of the Bill of Rights on the grounds that they don’t think it important.

I’ll leave you here with a section of dialogue by Dr. Peter Kreeft to consider:

‘Isa: But the main argument, the simplest argument, is just this: if no moral values are absolute, neither is tolerance. The absolutist can take tolerance much more seriously than the relativist. It’s absolutism, not relativism, that fosters tolerance. In fact, it’s relativism that fosters intolerance.

Libby: That’s ridiculous.

‘Isa: No it isn’t. Because … why not be intolerant? Only because it feels better to you? What happens tomorrow when it feels different? Why be tolerant? Only because it’s our society’s consensus? What happens tomorrow, when the consensus changes? You see? The relativist can’t appeal to a moral law as a wall, a dam against intolerance. But we need a dam because societies are fickle, like individuals. What else can deter a Germany—a humane and humanistic Germany in the twenties—from turning to an inhumane and inhuman Nazi philosophy in the thirties? What else can stop a now-tolerant America from some future intolerance?—against any group it decides to oppress? It was Blacks in the Southeast over slavery last century; it may be Hispanics in the Southwest over immigration next century. We’re intolerant to unwanted unborn babies today; we’ll start killing born ones tomorrow. Maybe eventually teenagers. They’re sometimes “wanted” even less than babies!

Libby: You’re getting more and more ridiculous.

‘Isa: Then answer the question: Why not? That’s the question. We persecuted homosexuals yesterday; today we persecute homophobes; maybe tomorrow we’ll go back to persecuting homosexuals again. Why not, if morals are only relative?

 

 Peter Kreeft, A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 98.

 

___________________

Christianos ad leones = latin for “The Christians to the Lions!"

[*] A common logical fallacy used here is the fallacy of relative privation, which claims that because your injustice is not as bad as another injustice, it is not injustice at all.

[†] The true good and the popular vices of a society being incompatible.

[§] At this point, someone will point out the punishments in past centuries as a “proof” against my claims. But that is to miss the point. In societies which had less developed forms of government, such practices were not distinct to one religion or culture. I don’t deny that some Churchmen in authority focussed too much on the civil punishments for sins that happened to be crimes as well, but you will never see the formal Church teaching state  that being merciless is good.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Reflection: Christianity vs. the Idols of Society

Christians to the lions

Christianity, believing God exists and that we must always seek to know, love and serve Him, sometimes finds itself at odds with a society which embraces values which reject what God commands. When that happens, we discover that the one unforgivable sin in society is choosing to obey God rather than men. I’m of the view that this happens because people don’t like to be told they are wrong in how they choose to live. If someone should dare to be a living witness to the fact that the values embraced by society are wrong, the society wants to silence that witness. 

I believe Christianity receives this hostility because it is denouncing the idols of society. Sometimes those idols are literal, like the Roman Empire. Sometimes those idols are false ideas and values that deceive people into doing evil and calling it good. Either way, societies react badly when the Church says “I will not burn incense at your altar.” However, while some individuals may compromise, the Church herself cannot, and neither can the members who seek to be faithful to Our Lord. The Church is not called to conform to the world, but to lead it away from idolatry to the truth of God.

This isn’t a surprise which comes from nowhere. Our Lord warned us in several places that they would hate us on His account and we should not expect otherwise. 

18 “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. 20 Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’ (John 15:18–25.)

These words of Our Lord are a good reminder in these times. I read the newsfeeds and the comments in them and see a demonic hatred directed at people who take a stand for God’s truth. Laws passed to protect the Christian from being forced to do evil are vilified as promoting intolerance, while laws, executive orders and court rulings that assault the Christian for daring to oppose the idols of society are willing to sacrifice the virtues the society was founded upon.

That’s nothing new of course. In the Second Century AD, St. Justin Martyr wrote to the Roman Emperor, Antonius Pius, offering a defense of the Catholic faith and appealing to the virtues valued by the Empire to give Christians a just hearing to see if they had done anything wrong before assuming guilt just because the accused was a Christian. St. Justin pointed out that the Empire could not be just and condemn people on the sole grounds that they were Christian. Ultimately, the Empire chose to persecute Christians over behaving justly. The fact that we call him St. Justin Martyr testifies to that.

Likewise, America has the same choice to make. She can either choose to live by the virtues that she was founded under or she can target Christians for refusing to bow down to idols which calls evil “good.” The behavior of our political and cultural elites, our laws and our court rulings show that our nation is making the wrong choices. Christians can be ostracized, taken to court, fined or even jailed for refusing to go along with the idols of our society. When we point out that our nation is behaving unjustly when it makes these decisions, the response is to state that we deserve our fate because we will not bow down to those idols. Instead, like the Romans did in pagan times, they accuse us of being “enemies of humanity” that need to be silenced.

Yet, even though they try to silence us, we cannot be silent. We are called to convert that society, not write it off for damnation. Our Lord gave us the Great Commission:

18 g Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20).

So, when they hate us because we will not accept the vicious customs of society and tell them a better way to live, we must make sure that our witness is not lost in bitter words over our unjust treatment. I think the words of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Cum multa, should be a reminder of how we respond in sharing and defending our faith:

[#15] We exhort them to remove all dissensions by their gentleness and moderation, and to preserve concord amongst themselves and in the people, for the influence of writers is great on either side. But nothing can be more opposed to concord than biting words, rash judgments, or perfidious insinuations, and everything of this kind should be shunned with the greatest care and held in the utmost abhorrence. A discussion in which are concerned the sacred rights of the Church and the doctrines of the Catholic religion should not be acrimonious, but calm and temperate; it is weight of reasoning, and not violence and bitterness of language, which must win victory for the Catholic writer.

 

 Claudia Carlen, ed., The Papal Encyclicals: 1878–1903 (Ypsilanti, MI: Pierian Press, 1990), 78.

Our witness must be made in both what we say and how we say it so we might not lead those who hate us into thinking we say one thing and do another.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Church on the Authority of Civil Rulers

In 1881, in the midst of attacks of the nation-states on the Catholic Church, Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) issued the encyclical Diuturnum on the authority of civil governments. In it, he lays down the source and the scope of that authority. Far from being an anarchistic document or demanding the establishment of a theocracy, Pope Leo XIII indicated that a legitimate government with legitimate laws has the right to be obeyed. However, that government does not have absolute authority over every aspect of life. There are paths which a government might be tempted to take but, if they make that decision, their authority vanishes. His encyclical, Diuturnum, says:

15. The one only reason which men have for not obeying is when anything is demanded of them which is openly repugnant to the natural or the divine law, for it is equally unlawful to command to do anything in which the law of nature or the will of God is violated. If, therefore, it should happen to any one to be compelled to prefer one or the other, viz., to disregard either the commands of God or those of rulers, he must obey Jesus Christ, who commands us to “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” and must reply courageously after the example of the Apostles: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” And yet there is no reason why those who so behave themselves should be accused of refusing obedience; for, if the will of rulers is oppsed to the will and the laws of God, they themselves exceed the bounds of their own power and pervert justice; nor can their authority then be valid, which, when there is no justice, is null.

 

 Claudia Carlen, ed., The Papal Encyclicals: 1878–1903 (Ypsilanti, MI: Pierian Press, 1990), 54.

The point is, governments are ruled by persons, and people are sinners by their nature. So those who legislate or rule can make bad decisions which go against what God commands and how He designed the universe to function. When they cross that line, the faithful Catholic has the obligation to say “No” to the state, even if there are consequences. The obedience to God comes first. This is ultimately why the Church has been forced to speak against our government—against the contraception mandate, against the redefinition of marriage, against abortion and many other unjust actions.

Governments, being ruled by  and ruling over sinners, have a strong resistance to being corrected when they do go against Divine or natural law. The most common solution is to try to make the Church appear to be an enemy of good because she refuses to go along with the government’s attempt to redefine good and evil. She is accused of “imposing her views” on others. She is charged with being intolerant to some group of the population, and of course the legal practices of previous centuries are cited as if the Church invented and forced them on an unwilling world.

Take the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which is being sued on account of their refusal to comply with the contraception mandate and refusal to use a proxy to comply with this mandate. Many people attack them for refusing to just go along and fill out the paperwork authorizing an insurance company to issue contraception coverage separately. But Catholics simply cannot choose to do evil and they cannot authorize someone to act on their behalf to do evil. So, in this case, a person or group which believes that this government mandate goes against the laws of God cannot take part in this without putting themselves in opposition to God.

The non-Catholic or the lax Catholic might not care, might not think God cares. But even if one rejects the Catholic moral teaching, the Constitution does not give the state the right to determine which religious beliefs are important and which religious beliefs can be ignored. The only limitations the state can pose on the practice of religion is the limitation based on protecting the public good (this is why the arguments citing hypothetical religions practicing human sacrifice or white supremacy are red herrings).

Given that the Little Sisters of the Poor have been in existence since 1839 and serve in 31 countries caring for the poor and dying elderly and this only became a problem for the government during the last seven years, one can argue that the religious practices of this religious order has not violated any public good. The only thing it violates is the ideological preferences of the government—and the Catholic teaching on these issues existed long before Europeans ever encountered the lands that now bear the name of America.

To try to compare the religious practice of Catholics in rejecting contraception as evil to the acceptance of slavery by some Christians in the United States is also a red herring. The Catholic moral teaching condemns the notion that one may treat another human being as less than human. Those Catholics who were guilty of racism were not following Church teaching. They were following the vicious custom of 16th to 20th century America (it’s similar to how Catholics today can practice the vicious customs supporting abortion as a “right” even though the Church condemns it as intrinsically evil).

So what we have is a standoff. On one side, we have a philosophy of government that believes it can dictate to practitioners of a religion which one of their beliefs they can follow and what constitutes a violation of that religion. On the other side, we have a Church that professes to be the Church established by Christ and given the authority to bind and to loose in His name. From the perspective of the informed Catholic, this is no contest. The Church has the authority and the responsibility to make known what behaviors are in keeping with or in opposition to God’s law—even if those who are in opposition are the rulers of the earth.

But the Church does not intervene in such cases because she wishes to veto anything that is new. She instead seeks to carry out her mission to evangelize the whole world and encourage them to turn back to Christ. As Leo XIII also said in Diuturnum:

26. The Church of Christ, indeed, cannot be an object of suspicion to rulers, nor of hatred to the people; for it urges rulers to follow justice, and in nothing to decline from their duty; while at the same time it strengthens and in many ways supports their authority. All things that are of a civil nature the Church acknowledges and declares to be under the power and authority of the ruler; and in things whereof for different reasons the decision belongs both to the sacred and to the civil power, the Church wishes that there should be harmony between the two so that injurious contests may be avoided. As to what regards the people, the Church has been established for the salvation of all men and has ever loved them as a mother. For it is the Church which by the exercise of her charity has given gentleness to the minds of men, kindness to their manners, and justice to their laws. Never opposed to honest liberty, the Church has always detested a tyrant’s rule. This custom which the Church has ever had of deserving well of mankind is notably expressed by St. Augustine when he says that “the Church teaches kings to study the welfare of their people, and people to submit to their kings, showing what is due to all: and that to all is due charity and to no one injustice.”

 

 Claudia Carlen, ed., The Papal Encyclicals: 1878–1903 (Ypsilanti, MI: Pierian Press, 1990), 56–57.

That means Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are among those to whom the Church is reaching out to to encourage them to turn to God and accept Him. They are not exempt from hearing the teaching of the Church and they are not beyond the pale of being reached out to. They may refuse to listen, and they may hate us for refusing to compromise. But that neither changes the teaching nor the mission of the Church.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recommended Article: The Establishment Clause

I've been working on an article about the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause in terms of the oft-cited "Separation of Church and State."

However, today I see that the blog Outside the Asylum has an article on this subject which seems far superior to my own efforts on the subject.

So instead, I'll just refer you over to this article then: http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/2011/06/secularism-and-establishment-clause.html

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thought for the Day: Why We Should Oppose the idea of Rights Being from the State

On another site, there was a debate on abortion, and an individual claimed that there are no intrinsic rights, only rights provided by the state.  Therefore the state could legalize abortion because the unborn was not a human person.

Interesting… but terrifying.  Why?

Because under this kind of reasoning we would see…

  1. In Nazi Germany the right to exterminate "lesser peoples" would have been allowable… after all, they decided Jews and Slavs were non-persons, and rights come from the state.
  2. In the South, Bull Connor would have done no wrong in enforcing segregation laws, as the State Government considered they had no rights
  3. Apartheid in South Africa would not have been wrong because the government decided non-whites had no rights
  4. There would be nothing wrong with Medieval Spain oppressing Jews and Muslims with the Inquisition, as the government decided they had no rights.
  5. The Bill of Attainder (punish a person by decree of law without trial) would be legal… because it is the government law [This is forbidden by the Constitution of the United States btw, but was legal in England in that era]
  6. The overthrow of the Constitution and the imposition of Sharia Law would be permissible as the state provides the rights.

I could list many other examples, but this idea is a dangerous one and ought to be opposed.  Most people would recognize that the above examples did or could happen, and they are generally viewed with revulsion.  Yet the key to these barbaric examples is the idea that rights are from the government, and not from any other source.

Thus there is nothing good about being democratic and nothing bad about being totalitarian if we accept this standard.  Merely that some governments would be more careful with rights and others would be more free with them.  However, if we accept that rights merely come from the government, then there is nothing to appeal to if we don't like a totalitarian government.

I think I will close this with a quote of Benito Mussolini:

Everything I have said and done is these last years is relativism, by intuition. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology, and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories, and men who claim to be the bearers of an objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than fascism. (From his essay Diuturna)

—Benito Mussolini

If there are no absolutes, no moral norms… if the state decides what is a right and what is not, then there is no basis to complain when a government does things we would call unjust.

It is only when one accepts the moral absolutes which those who oppose abortion invoke that there is a basis to opposing the examples of injustice given.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts on Jefferson and the so-called Wall of Separation

I notice articles by atheists tend to run in themes: "Islam is bad, so religion is bad," "Science disproves religion" and so on.  One of the recent themes is on Thomas Jefferson and his calling for a "Wall of Separation," citing the Danbury Letter.

The key point of this letter is:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

The argument tends to be "Jefferson said we need to keep a wall between Church and State.  Religions are trying to change laws.  Therefore religion needs to be controlled."

The problem is twofold.  First, the Danbury Letter is not  legally binding document or the like.  Second, the modern interpretation is one of bifurcation: "Either we control religion or religion controls us," which simply is not the case.

The letter Jefferson was responding to (from the Danbury Baptists) expressed a concern that certain sectarian groups might seek to attack members of the government being "irreligious,"  based on their own views.  Now this is a legitimate concern.  Certainly Catholics in Maryland in the 17th and 18th century before the founding of America knew of groups which, once in power, sought to strip them of their rights to religious freedom which they granted to others.  However, we remain with the problem of a wall of separation properly understood.

Now the first amendment to the Constitution does tell us:

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.

This means of course that the state may not impose any specific religion on the people true, but it also forbids the prohibiting of the free exercise of religion.  It seems the dangerous part of Jefferson's letter is when he says:

I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties

The dangerous part of this sentiment is this potentially opens the door to the negation of the First Amendment if misapplied.  It's not completely wrong of course: The Church holds that freedom is not license to do what we wish, but rather the freedom to do what we ought before God, for example.  The problem is when the state decides a certain group acts contrary to undefined "social duties" not because of actual acts which are unlawful but because they practice a religion which is not well received.

As the old saying goes, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  If the state defines what is intrusion on the Establishment of Religion, what prevents it from defining social duties in such a way to harass a religion or the like?

This is the problem of the modern understanding of the separation of Church and State.  The claim is that something benefits religion in general is a violation of the separation of church and state.  The problem is such a view de facto defines religion as being in opposition to social duties when it speaks out against the state.

We do need to remember that the view of atheism also falls under this criteria.  The atheist who seeks to remove public expression of prayer or the like is in fact violating this so-called wall of separation in a way which denies the rights of the first amendment.

The atheist who wishes to cite the Danbury Letter as excluding religion from political life needs to remember that the first amendment also grants to citizens the rights of the freedom of press, speech,  to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances.

This of course means that a Church has a right to speak out in word and in print about the ways the nation is bringing harm to members or harm to itself.  Yet churches do not have this right.  If a church wishes to say "What this government official is doing is wrong," they cannot without legal repercussions.

It is a paradox of course set about by a phrase with no legal bearing.  Separation of Church and State means a state cannot dictate how an individual may practice religion or to infringe of the practices of a religion, and certainly this is what popes like Leo XIII praised about the American way.  However, on the other hand, going from "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" to "Religion shall have no say in government" is certainly a contradiction, because it denies or limits members of religion their right to free speech, press, assembly and redress.

Things like the Danbury Letter or claims like saying "The Founding Fathers were not Christians" is in fact a Red Herring.  Certainly the Declaration of Independence shows that the understanding of America had some understanding of God, who had an authority above the state:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

In other words, these are not rights the state can arbitrarily give and take away.  Rather they are things people possess which are beyond the ability of the state to regulate.   We now come to a problem with the claims of the atheist over America.  If we do not hold that our rights come from a creator, from what do they come from?  What makes them binding so that tomorrow Obama cannot say "I'm taking away your right to the free press"?

The choices for where our rights come from are: God, or Nothing. If they come from God, then no person can take them away from us… certainly a government can compel us so we cannot exercise our rights, but in doing so, they act in an unjust manner.

However, if they come ex nihilo (out of nothing), they are not rights, but tolerances from the government, as what one man can say is good for him, another might disagree with.  One government administration might decree we have the right to property, another which follows the first might claim we exploit people by the existence of private property and it may not be allowed.

Some atheists and agnostics do not like where this leads.  They recognize that some actions are wrong, but reject the idea as the source of what is good, so they seek to find a source which is not absolute to give us these rights, such as instinct or some undefined sense of justice.

The problem is our rights are only as absolute as the source which grants them. What binds a nebulous force like "justice" or "instinct" to do something we must obey?  What part of it prevents a Hitler or a Stalin from saying "I reject these values and replace them with another which I find superior for me."

Either we recognize that our rights as human persons come from a binding force outside of us (which, if one does not call it God, must define what it is) or we are forced to concede that we have no rights at all, but merely the tolerance of a government.

This latter view of course would be against the Constitution, and this is the paradox of Jefferson's Danbury Letter

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sinister: The Attempt By the State to Co-opt Religion

Sources: Army of the Lord? Obama Seeks Health Care Push From Pulpit - Political News - FOXNews.com; http://faithinpubliclife.org/content/feature/140000_participate_in_historic.html; http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/08/obama_health_care_pitch_to_rab.html; http://www.americanpapist.com/2009/08/politics-lies-and-obama-who-tells-them.html

Seeking to bolster his health care plan in the rising objections from Catholic Bishops and other pro-life religious groups, who have pointed out that — despite White House claims — the Health Care reform is indeed a sanction for paying for abortions, fetal stem cell research and a denial for the rights of conscience; Obama has sought to reach out to certain groups of pastors and rabbis in order to push for support for his plan.

I find this to be rather chilling.  When a church speaks out against abortion and candidates who support it, it is labeled a violation of the separation of Church and State.  However, when Obama wants to bolster support for health care, it is suddenly all right for the state to enlist the churches to promote a partisan view.

The church which is the puppet for the state is putting man over God, and is an intrusion both against the freedom of religion, and a violation of the separation of Church and State so often invoked when religion speaks out against evil in the state.

If it is illegal for a church to say that a vote for a pro-abortion candidate is a sin, then it stands to follow that it must be similarly illegal for the state to seek to sway the churches in supporting a partisan political agenda.

The fact that it is set aside at the convenience of the government shows it is not the rule of law we live under, but the injustice of arbitrary enforcement of rules to benefit one’s allies and punish one’s opponents.

Without the just enforcement of the law with equality for all, we do not have a Republic where the rule of law is supreme, but a government of oligarchy (rule by a few self-interested men).  America is now ready for a government which sets aside the constitution at its own convenience and hides behind it when it wishes to justify its actions.

Under this action, we do not have pure despotism, but as Lincoln warned, despotism with the base alloy of hypocrisy.