Showing posts with label tyranny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tyranny. Show all posts

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Armageddon in 2016? Fearing the Future after November 8th

Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ’s power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it.

 

John Paul II [October 22, 1978], Homilies of Pope John Paul II (English) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014).

This year, an election year, disagreements between Catholics are reaching a fevered pitch. People fear the evils of the future, and reasonably want to limit them. Unfortunately, they cannot agree on what the worst evils are and how to face them. Because of this, Catholics who fear the evils from one candidate accuse other Catholics who disagree of supporting those feared evils or willfully ignoring the danger. For proof of their claims, they point to certain Catholics who do support these evils in defense of their candidate and argue “guilt by association” (a fallacy). To further muddy the waters, many blame the Pope and bishops for not focussing on their issues. Why doesn’t the Pope speak more about X? Why do the bishops spend so much time talking about Y? People assume that if our shepherds were doing their jobs right, we wouldn’t be in these difficulties, and also assume that these are the worst times ever faced, and it has to be somebody’s fault.

Of course, some of the promoted policies do promote evil and could end up persecuting the Church. It is reasonable to oppose such evils and try to limit those which are inevitable. But it’s not the worst possible times ever faced by Christians. In other times, and currently in other regions, the Church has faced persecution to the point that members of the faithful faced martyrdom and other miseries. No, I’m not arguing the fallacy of relative privation here. We do want to avoid whatever harms the faithful and we want to stop whatever leads people away from God.

But as I work my way through works like A History of the Councils of the Church written in the 19th century by the German Bishop Karl Joseph von Hefele, I see a Church history full of governments backing the enemies of the Church, supporting the dissenters and persecuting the faithful. The Church survived these evils, and eventually converted the oppressing rulers. This is a scenario that repeats itself throughout Church history. The faithful, in concert with the Church—under the headship of the successor of Peter and never apart from—challenge the triumphant dissenters and eventually restore the Christian world to faith. As Cardinal George once remarked:

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.

God provides the grace to accomplish this, but He also sends heroic men and women in every generation to stand up against the state and teach what is right. Thinking about this makes me ponder. If we find ourselves wondering where these heroic men and women are in this generation, then perhaps this is a call from God for us to be one of them. Whether the coming times are times when Christians will die in bed, die in prison, die in the public square, or pick up the shards, Christians are called to stand up and promote the faith despite how the world treats us.

So, yes, let’s take this election seriously. Let’s properly form our conscience through the teachings of the Church, promoting good and trying to oppose evil wherever possible. Let’s vote responsibly. But let’s not live in terror of the aftermath. I’ve no doubt things will be hard for us, and I have my opinions on which way will be harder for us. But let’s remember our obligations to evangelize the world regardless of who gets elected or what unjust laws get passed. We should pray for Our Lord’s protection as we do His work, and relief from evil. But since Our Lord warned us people would hate us on account of Him (John 15:20-25), we can’t be surprised if we have a rough time for the next four years . . . or ten years, or a hundred years or more.

So we have to work, and Our Lord wants us to work together (John 17:20-21). As it says in Psalm 133:1, “How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one!” That won’t happen if we savage each other and accuse each other of bad will in our actions, when it is a matter of simply having different ideas on what we must do to be faithful to God and His Church.

So let us keep our mind on our real Savior, who will remain Lord over all creation regardless of who gets elected. Let us live for Him regardless of what happens to us in the future.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bellwether of Persecution

I thought this was america

bellwether |ˈbelˌweT͟Hərnounthe leading sheep of a flock, with a bell on its neck.• an indicator or predictor of something: college campuses are often the bellwether of change

I remember my youth in school and what was taught to us about America. How we were a free country and that the government couldn’t do, or force us to do, bad things. We were told how people came to America to escape places that treated them unjustly. As I grew older, I realized that this was a “rose colored glasses” view of things. That our country could and did wrong over the past 200 years. But throughout my transition from growth to adulthood, it was still recognized that the Declaration of Independence was still meaningful when it said:

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.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We were told that the Bill of Rights were essential rights to all people and that our Founding Fathers were determined to protect the people from the abuses from a government, acknowledging that there were certain things that the government had no right to do.

Right now, America has a system where laws which were based on this understanding are subject to being reviewed by courts that are free to throw out those laws which the judges happen to disagree with. The term used is “finding the law unconstitutional,” but too often, this is a code word for an arbitrary decision that reflects the political views of the judges without concern with actual concern for justice or law. This is the case when a few judges have ruled that the understanding of marriage as being between one man and one woman is “unconstitutional.” Based on these rulings, people with religious beliefs that forbid them from participating in what they think is morally wrong can be forced to choose between their business and their beliefs—something the government had previously been seen as having no right to do.

Take a recent case of a Washington florist. The judge ruled that the florist’s religious beliefs, which forbade her from providing flowers to a same sex “wedding,” was illegal from the time that Washington legalized it. Think I’m using unreasonable rhetoric? Think again. Look at what the judge (Alexander C. Ekstrom) said:

"Stutzman is not a minister, nor is Arlene’s Flowers a religious organization when they sell flowers to the general public,” Ekstrom wrote. “Stutzman cannot comply with both the law and her faith if she continues to provide flowers for weddings as part of her duly licensed business.”

The judge has baldly stated what we have been warning of for years—that a person with religious convictions can be forced to choose between business and faith (Stultzman has decided to stop doing any weddings).  Basically, what we have is this: if a law is passed defending our religious freedoms, it is ruled as unconstitutional. When a law is passed which infringes on our religious liberties, it is seen as acceptable and those who invoke their first amendment freedoms are told that it doesn’t apply—the courts continually reducing who has religious freedom to the point that a church itself can (thus far) be protected from government interference, but the institutions that church runs or the individual practitioner is not.

Decisions like this make much more chilling a recent event where lawmakers urged Archbishop Cordileone to change his policy insisting that teachers in Catholic institutions actually act—Catholic. With legal precedence like this, we can expect the judges to be more likely to side with the laws infringing on our religious freedoms. 

While such things are more benign than in other countries and other times in how they try to coerce compliance with religious beliefs they oppose, these rulings are in the same spirit as the persecutions of the past. Alban Butler’s Lives of the Saints describes for us the case of St. Sadoth:

The second year of the persecution, king Sapor coming to Seleucia, Sadoth was apprehended, with several of his clergy, some ecclesiastics of the neighborhood, and certain monks and nuns belonging to his church, to the amount of one hundred and twenty-eight persons. They were thrown into dungeons, where, during five months’ confinement, they suffered incredible misery and torments. They were thrice called out, and put to the rack or question; their legs were straight bound with cords, which were drawn with so much violence, that their bones breaking, were heard to crack like sticks in a fagot. Amidst these tortures the officers cried out to them: “Adore the sun, and obey the king, if you would save your lives.” Sadoth answered in the name of all, that the sun was but a creature, the work of God, made for the use of mankind; that they would pay supreme adoration to none but the Creator of heaven and earth, and never be unfaithful to him; that it was indeed in their power to take away their lives, but that this would be the greatest favor they could do them; wherefore he conjured them not to spare them, or delay their execution. The officers said: “Obey! or know that your death is certain, and immediate.” The martyrs all cried out with one voice: “We shall not die, but live and reign eternally with God and his Son Jesus Christ. Wherefore inflict death as soon as you please; for we repeat it to you that we will not adore the sun, nor obey the unjust edicts.”

Whether the governments would have us worship the sun, burn incense to the emperor or give our acceptance of “same sex marriage,” we must not obey what is unjust or forces us to go against what God commands. It may only cause us overt persecution or it may cause us hardship, perhaps legal action, but we need to be prepared for being called on to make the choice—for God, or against God. It might not happen to you or personally, but Our Lord did warn us that we must accept this:

The World’s Hatred. 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)

And so, we must prepare for darker times, which continue to come faster than I expect. We must prepare to continue to carry out our mission. As Cardinal George said, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” None of us want to die in prison, let alone the public square for the faith. But if it does happen by death or by lawsuit or by imprisonment, we must respond in love, blessing and praying for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44) and seeking to convert them. This is true, whether persecution comes from unjust judges interpreting unjust laws or whether it comes at the hands of fanatics like ISIS.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just a Pinch of Incense...

In ancient Rome, there was an obligation to burn a pinch of incense before the statue of the emperor. Doing so was essentially an act of worship of the emperor as a god. The monotheistic Christians could not do this without denying their beliefs in one true God... or give scandal by appearing to do so. But if they refused, they would suffer consequences for standing up for what they believed.

To the morally lax pagans, the Christians doubtlessly were viewed as intolerant. However, by insisting that the Christians burn this incense and do what they believed was morally wrong, the pagans were the intolerant ones. They thought the Christian beliefs were either a threat or something so insignificant that the Christians shouldn't make a fuss about it.

Fast forward some 1700 years to the present. The Christians who, because of their belief in one God, find themselves in a dilemma. Either let your business acknowledge the so-called "gay marriage" (or cause the scandal of appearing to do so), or suffer the consequences.

Again, to a good many people, the Christians are viewed as either intolerant or fussing over something "not important."  Laws seeking to protect Christians have been proposed, but they have been portrayed as discriminatory laws.

What makes it so sickening now is the First Amendment was intended to prevent the state from coercing someone into doing what they believed was morally forbidden. But now, it is the defense of these religious rights that is considered unconstitutional.

Once again, Lincoln's words have shown themselves prophetic:

"As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it, "All men are created equal, except Negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, "All men are created equal except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some other country where they make no pretense of loving liberty - to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

I first posted these words in 2007. Each year, they seem more amd more reflecting our government.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Modern Morality Leads to Tyranny (Part 2 of 2)

Men who begin to fight the Church for the sake of freedom and humanity end by flinging away freedom and humanity if only they may fight the Church.

—GK Chesterton

Introduction

Before considering the last three steps, we should briefly discuss some of the principles of the thinking of the modern morality, that will explain the unjust laws that come from the proponents of modern morality.

It tends to reject the ideas of the existence of truth as independent of circumstances.  Everything is relative to times and circumstances.  It also tends to hold a view that everything progresses for the better.  Because things are generally better in a material sense, it means things are better in a moral sense.  The "oppressive past" has been replaced with a "freer" present and must continue towards an even more "free" future.

Such a view holds that even if one disagrees with certain behaviors ("personally opposed but…"), it should still be permitted "if it doesn't harm anyone."

The result of this is it tends to reject any restrictions except the "harm towards others."  The proponents will most likely object to comparisons to totalitarian policies on these grounds, because the totalitarian regimes did harm others.  The problem is, these proponents don't always recognize that harm is done to others.  They tend to think of crude Nazi tactics and think that because other "inconveniences" are not at that level, it isn't harm.

Moreover, there is also a tendency to think that certain views are "oppressive" and people who think in such a way should not be protected when it comes to those views.

The problem is, there is a contradiction in all of these views.  If one should tolerate other views, then it follows that it should be applied to views they disagree with as well as views they agree with.  The person who believes there are moral absolutes ought to be tolerated without harassment.  Instead, because their views are called "oppressive" it is acceptable to deny protection under the law.  This is the contradiction that creates tyranny in a free society.

With this in mind, let us consider the final three steps.

The Fourth Step: Passing Laws With the Belief They Harm Nobody

Attempted murder? It's not like he killed someone. This is a clear violation of my client's civil rights.

—Slimy Lawyer, RoboCop (1987)

Once people are elected or appointed to political office, they take their belief in only opposing "harmful" things in legislation.  If they see no harm in legislation, then they tend to support it.  This is how we can see lawmakers support the HHS contraception mandate or legalized abortion.  Because the reduction of sex to pleasure is accepted as a given, the only harm they can see is the issue of unexpected pregnancy.  The result is the creation of laws which makes access to contraception and abortion easier.  It is only the challenges to this assumption that is viewed as harmful.

Under the same reduction of sex to pleasure, such politicians can see no difference between traditional marriage between a man and a woman and a "homosexual marriage" between two people of the same gender.  So laws supporting this so-called "gay marriage" are seen as good, and opposition seen as harmful.

The result of all this is to create a set of laws that claims to champion tolerance, but actually refuses to consider the input of those who think differently from the lawmaker.

The Fifth Step: Denying the Validity of Challenges to the Law

"Are you lost daddy?" I asked tenderly.
"Shut up," he explained.

—Ring Lardner, The Young Immigrants (1920).

One of the more ironic arguments made by proponents of the modern morality is the claim that those who believe in moral absolutes are "forcing their beliefs on others."  It's ironic because these proponents are in fact the ones imposing their moral beliefs.  You may notice this with their mantras.  "Reproductive Freedom" for example.  Those who believe in moral absolutes are not supposed to push their beliefs on others, but the concept of "Reproductive Freedom" is invoked as if it were a moral absolute.

Thus the HHS contraception mandate is forced on people who believe it is wrong to give any support (moral or financial) to things they find immoral.  Because the concept of "Reproductive Freedom" is considered unquestionable, no challenge will be heard.

Like Step 2, the lawmakers try to explain away or deny the harm their law may do.  First they simply deny the validity of charges their laws do cause harm.  The unborn is denied human rights (Roe v. Wade was infamous here, arguing that since the Constitution referred to born persons, it meant unborn persons had no rights – an argument from silence.)  The reduction of marriage to a legally sanctioned sexual relationship is denied as a cause of damaging the traditional family as a source of the stability of society.  Studies that challenge this are rejected as "biased."

At the same time, however, it is argued that the harm they've denied can be justified for the greater good of the moral absolutes they deny.  Thus, even if the unborn is a person, the mother's "reproductive freedom" takes priority.  Whether or not "gay marriage" disrupts society, denying persons with homosexual tendencies the "right to marry" is making them second class citizens.

The problem is, these people claim that whatever does no harm to others should be permitted, but they make themselves both the prosecutor and judge as to what causes harm to others and whether those who are harmed actually matter.  Since this eliminates the right  to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" (First Amendment), we can see this mindset goes well on the way to causing harm and becoming a tyranny.

The Sixth Step: Restricting the Rights of the Challenger

"They [The Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa] accused us of suppressing freedom of expression. This was a lie and we could not let them publish it."

PJ O'Rourke (quoting Sandinista official), Holidays in Hell

While in the Third Step, the proponent of the modern morality gets offended with those who challenge them, in the sixth step, the politician has the power to do something about it.  Because he or she believes that the challenger is guided by "harmful" motives (under the ad hominem attacks of "Homophobic" or "war on women" etc.) the politician can make laws that reduce the freedom of the challengers to speak out. 

Consider the Catholic Church speaking out on moral issues being accused of being partisan and being under threats to have tax exempt status revoked.  The Catholic Church has remained consistent on moral issues long before there was a United States of America, let alone a Democratic or Republican Party.

For example, in 1679, the Church condemned these propositions:

34. It is permitted to bring about an abortion before the animation of the foetus, lest the girl found pregnant be killed or defamed.

35. It seems probable that every foetus (as long as it is in the womb) lacks a rational soul and begins to have the same at the time that it is born; and consequently it will have to be said that no homicide is committed in any abortion.

Various Errors on Moral Subjects (II) [Condemned in a decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679]

From the year 1679.  That's not a typo.  Over 333 years ago, the Catholic Church condemned views being used today to justify abortion on the grounds that the unborn is not alive.

Moreover, in 1965 (8 years before the infamous Roe v. Wade), the Catholic Church condemned abortion in the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes:

For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. (#51)

To argue that the Catholic Church is behaving in a political manner in speaking against the same sins they condemned before such issues were political indicates a really dangerous situation: That a government may decide what sort of speech is politically motivated or not politically motivated and may coerce the Church from speaking on subjects it deems "political."

Under such conditions, the Church cannot be said to have freedom of religion if her teaching of all people can be labeled "hate speech" or "politically motivated" or if her beliefs may be set aside as "unimportant" when it goes against government laws.

But the Constitution explicitly states:

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. (First Amendment.  Emphasis added).

So we can see that laws made which ignore the First Amendment are laws which support tyranny against the beliefs that the nation were founded on, that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" (Declaration of Independence).

The Founding Fathers broke away from England because of these violations of unalienable rights, but now the lawmakers and courts can ignore these rights in favor of their own ideology.

Conclusion

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy hypocrisy.

—Abraham Lincoln, Response to a Pro-Slavery Friend

Lincoln was prophetic here.  In the name of freedom, we are seeing the denial of basic freedoms to those who believe in moral absolutes and the obligation to live rightly.  Our Church can be coerced.  People who live in accordance with her teachings can be sued for refusing to provide services they feel they would be doing evil to provide.

To defend ourselves against this injustice, we have to ask people of good will to consider the harm that is done when people with this mindset get elected.

Considering the belief that society inevitably improves over time, unless people with an opposing view are elected, it is something that invites injustice in the name of this progress.  The views which threaten what is seen as progress must be stopped by any means necessary.

The problem with this assumption is not all perceived progress is progress.  People of this generation might be surprised, but there was a time when democratic processes were considered outdated relics and it was fascism which was the way to progress.  As we have seen in history, this view of fascism was premature and did not reflect reality.  Indeed, the practitioners of fascism had few brakes to prevent bad ideas that were seen as beneficial by the fascists.

The view today of no moral absolutes is the same.  If there are no moral absolutes, and the progress of society is seen as advances and declines solely on whether it moves towards or against a certain ideology, then there are very few restrictions against those politicians who feel threatened by challenges to their "defense of progress."

It is no hyperbole to say that this mindset, turned into law by politicians are heading into tyranny as the Founding Fathers understood it:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. (Declaration of Independence)

The question is what we are to do about it?

It may sound partisan, but quite simply, we need to consider this sort of mindset as one which disqualifies a person for government office.  A politician who believes that there are no moral absolutes and believes it is his views that must be followed to bring progress to the nation is more likely to push through laws they see as right without considering other perspectives.

A Politician who will not see harm done or seeks to explain harm away cannot be trusted to hear the grievances of those wronged and give redress.  The Politician who believes their opponents are obstacles is more likely to restrict people who disagree than people who believe there are moral absolutes which forbid them from doing wrong in the name of a cause.

In short, we need to elect men and women of character, who recognize that the government has no authority to mandate things beyond them.  When Obama was asked, "At what point does a baby get human rights in your view" (8/18/08), he replied:

"Well, I think that you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective. Answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade. But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something that obviously the country wrestles with. "

That kind of answer should be a disqualification to the voter of good will.  A politician who cannot answer the question on when a baby has human rights – and prove the truth of his answer should not be making a decision that abortion should be permitted.  We need to elect and appoint men and women who know they are limited and prone to evil and must answer to a morality above and beyond them. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Church and State

Introduction

If one wants to be consistent in arguing the "Separation of Church and State," reason requires that we point out the fact that one cannot keep the Church out of the State without keeping the State out of the Church as well.  The problem is this is increasingly ignored by the Federal Government.

Christianity, in following Christ's command to “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17) recognizes that the State has certain areas of authority granted to it for the common good and the protection of the people and that the people are required to give obedience to the authority in these matters.  However, Christians are also required to give obedience to God in matters which concern Him and the State has no authority to oppose or interfere with these commands.

Thus the state can pass laws which provide for the protection and benefit of the population.  For example, it can collect taxes (though not excessively) to make it possible to carry out its duties.  It can set traffic laws for the protection of the people.  There is nothing sacred about driving on the right or the left side of the road, but the government mandates one to avoid the danger of head-on collisions.  The government can set laws concerning military service for the defense of the nation.  There is nothing unreasonable about this as a general principle, though one can certainly judge how the state carries this out (such as a fair conscription in times of national emergency vs. an arbitrary "press gang").

However, the state does not have the authority to mandate what is to be morally acceptable. nor to force religions to participate in things that they find morally repugnant.  The state cannot justly compel Jews and Muslims to eat Pork, nor to force them to provide it for others for example.

The State Cannot Pass Laws outside its Competence or Area of Authority

In Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons, we have an exchange between Thomas Cromwell and St. Thomas More concerning King Henry VII and his Act of Supremacy declaring him the head of the Church in England.  Thomas Cromwell attempts to reason that since More does not know the state of the souls who did sign and he does know he has a duty of obedience to the King, he should therefore sign his assent to the Act.  However, St. Thomas More points out:

Some men think the Earth is round and others think it is flat.  But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round?  And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?  No, I will not sign. (Page 133).

St. Thomas More's point is a good one.  There are some things the state does not have the authority to declare. Regardless of what the State declares, if it is contrary to what is reality, such a law is meaningless and is nothing more than the state trying to tell people what to think or to do… tyranny.

The State has No Authority to Compel Compliance with an Unjust Law

Let's take another angle.  In the (admittedly mediocre) movie CSA: Confederate States of America, one of the premises is that the victorious South, in attempting to bring the conquered North into its way of life, creates a quandary.  A reconstruction tax is to be imposed on the conquered Northerners.  However, this tax can be avoided by the purchase of a slave.  It leaves the northerners with three choices:

  1. To purchase a slave.
  2. To pay the ruinous taxes.
  3. To leave the country.

The movie shows that the intent of the law is for people to choose option #1 to remove a cultural barrier between the North and the South.  Most Northerners do choose option #1, with a minority choosing option #3.  The viewer is supposed to recognize that all three of the choices are unjust.  Slavery is wrong, and the person who recognizes it as being wrong should not be forced into ruinous taxes or exile.

Both Violations Exist in America in 2012

It is interesting that people can see the problem in the movie, but not see that a very real version is happening right now in America.  With the HHS mandate for example, employers with religious beliefs that tell them that contraception and abortifacients are morally wrong are put in the same quandary.  Failing to provide contraception/abortifacient coverage in their health care plans results in a fine which can equal $100 per employee per day.  It is estimated that the Evangelical owned "Hobby Lobby" could potentially have to pay up to $1.3 million dollars a day for refusing to comply with the HHS mandate.

In other words, the company has these options:

  1. To comply with what they believe to be immoral.
  2. To pay ruinous fines.
  3. To stop doing business in America.

Christians are not Imposing their Beliefs on Others when they Defend their own Rights

Now the examples of A Man for All Seasons and CSA bring out two important facts.  First, that a government which seeks to mandate what is morally acceptable has no authority to do so, and second, when it seeks to coerce acceptance of such a mandate, it is behaving tyrannically and exceeds its authority.

Remembering this is important where supporters of the government's policies are labeling Christians as being intolerant and imposing views on others.  The First Amendment points out:

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.

So the employer with religious beliefs which tells him or her that providing insurance coverage for contraception or abortifacients is wrong has the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances in regards to the interference with the free exercise of religion.  The government does not have the right to restrict these freedoms.  Religious believers have the right to object to and challenge the HHS mandate and do not impose their views on others in doing so.

Nor do we impose our views on others when we seek to instruct voters as to why certain government policies are unjust and seek to encourage the passage of laws that overturn the injustices.  Our nation was founded on this principle, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:

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.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The irony is, it is the religious believers seeking to defend their rights declared in the Declaration and the Constitution are unjustly accused of violating these rights, while those who do or favor the actual violations are treated as the victims.

Our objection to the unjust Laws, Mandates and Court Rulings is not out of opposition to the democratic process, but is out of opposition to the imposition of something the government has no right to impose in the first place and has no right to coerce our compliance with unjust sanctions.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Told You So…

"As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)

Back in June of 2011, I wrote a post entitled "The Sooner We Realize America Is No Longer Free, The Sooner We Can Take Action."  Today I see in the news that HHS Secretary Sebelius has gone on to show that the Obama administration is without question hostile to the concept of religious freedom in America.

The announcement essentially states that religious groups are obligated to provide contraceptive coverage (including abortifacient contraceptives)  to employees, even if the religious groups believe contraception and abortifacient drugs are intrinsically evil and may never be supported.

Instead, religious groups are given until August 2013 to comply with this requirement.

As Archbishop Dolan put it:

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,”

and:

“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable.It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty."

Since such an obligation forces religious groups to choose between serving God and obeying an unjust law, we are forced to become criminals because of the state.

Unfortunately, if this edict is not overturned, we will have to oppose the government of the United States by refusing to obey.  No government has the authority to compel a person to participate with evil.  If the United States takes this road, this nation will have joined the ranks of totalitarian states who use force and fear to compel people to violate what they believe God requires them to do.

That an administration should so flagrantly ignore the freedom of religion without an immediate outcry and call for the firing of Sebelius is chilling.  No it doesn't mean we're going to see "Goose stepping Nazis marching in Washington."  I doubt we'll see gulags or other concentration camps in America.  But it does mean that we have gone from a nation that says "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" to a government saying we have one year to turn our backs on God and obey the state.

I think it should be pretty clear that at this time the Obama administration is the greater of the evils when it comes to the elections, and I pray he is defeated.

Otherwise, I truly fear what our nation will become.