Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Regarding the brazen attack on the religious freedom of all Catholics, and, indeed, of all Americans of any faith, including the freedom of atheists to be left alone (for is not the worship of secular idols just as insulting to you, my atheist friends, who despise worship, as it is to us, who despise idols?), and following by the insulting so-called accommodation proffered by an unrepentant administration, Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life have asked us to pray. Here is a link to the page on his website.  Here is the text (copy-and-pasted) from the aforementioned site:

Lord God,
You are the Author of Life and Freedom.
In your Spirit, we have the freedom of the children of God,
And in your Name, we promote the freedom of all
To seek, embrace, and live the truth of your Word.

In that freedom, Lord, we your people stand with Life
And reject whatever destroys life
Or distorts the meaning of human sexuality.

In that freedom, Lord, we your people live our lives
In a way that advances your Kingdom of Life,
And we refuse to cooperate in what is evil.

At this moment, therefore, when our government has decided
To force us to cooperate in evil,
We pray for the grace to be faithful to you
And to oppose the unjust laws and mandates
That have been imposed upon us and our institutions.

We pray for the conversion of those in civil authority
Who fail to appreciate the demands of conscience.
We pray for the complete reversal of all policies
That permit the destruction of life
Or coerce the cooperation of your people
In practices that are wrong.

Bring us to a Culture of Life.

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

My comment: I really should post something about some interesting topic, like why Jack Vance is a finer SF author than Isaac Asimov, but the events of the day continue to draw my attention away from farthest stars and furthest futures to those quotidian matters.

The war against Tash and Sauron the Great and the Dark Eldil, or whatever name he is calling himself these days, in one sense is the central drama of all history: it is the very Ragnarok, the wars fought on the plains of Armageddon.

Here on earth we face his human puppets, who know not whom they serve or why, and it is like debating drunks, because sin darkens the mind and corrodes the soul, so that even matters of plain common sense are closed to them. The victims of vampire bites and lycanthropy are not less worthy of pity, since the soldiery of darkness cannot see the darkness for which they fight, nor see what the result will be.

The elfin lure of Utopia always draws them along and along, visions of sex without babies, food without fatness, willpower without any restraint in morals or logic. It is the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where neither the laws of cause and effect, nor the laws of economics, nor the laws of our forefathers have power any more, but only the omnipotent Leader on Earth, whose benevolence is superhuman.

An idea that stupid, an idol that fails and fails and slays its worshipers like Juggernaut, a mere daydream born of envy and arrogance with no logic to it at all is the lodestone that controls the souls of the modern mind: and yet they dare to call themselves the reality-based community.

It is an idea older than Marx, older than George Bernard Shaw, older than all those quaint and antique progressives of the Victorian Age and their little Darwinian excuses for eugenics and race-hatred. This musty old idea they dare call modern and up to date. Eternal truths the darlings of intellectual fashion dismiss as too ‘last season.’

Such be those arrayed against us. Yet God is for us.

In another sense this war is nothing, it is the vanity of evil, the presumption of lingering patch of dawn twilight against the rising of the sun, the vainglory of a void to be filled by an infinite sea.

We know the end of the tale, beloved sons and daughters of God. Python is slain by Apollo; Typhon by Jove; Tiamat by Marduk; Leviathan by Jehovah; and best of all, the slender heel of our mild queen and virgin shall crush the head of the lying snake who deceived all the poor children of Eve.

We shall prevail in this and in all wars, no matter how many battles we lose.

For this battle, comrades, we need not arms, which are weak things and toys, but prayers, which are the weapons of the angels, thrones, powers, and principalities of deepest heaven.

 

75 Comments

  1. Comment by robertjwizard:

    … like why Jack Vance is a finer SF author than Isaac Asimov,

    That would be interesting.

    You have whatever I can offer that is not prayer – hope, blessings, a terse letter to my congressman – at the least. Every atheist should do the same, it is a full attack on the first amendment; and we should recognize the feel of the rope around our own necks when it is being placed around others.

    • Comment by Sylvie D. Rousseau:

      Sir, if every American was a man of good will like you, it would really be the Land of the Free. I cannot take action as I am not American, but as a Christian I will pray.

      In another train of thought, could not a “full attack on the first amendment” like this one be invoked as a claim for impeachment? Maybe I am being ignorant or even stupid but this question keeps passing in my mind…

      • Comment by John Hutchins:

        Most presidents and most members of congress from both parties have for at least the last half century done things that could be or are considered by some (primarily members of the other party) to be impeachable. As Newt Gingrich and William Clinton have shown there are no sins against the law, morality, oaths of office, or marriage vows that are not quickly forgiven and forgotten by the party that they belong to, as long as they tow the party line.

      • Comment by The Ubiquitous:

        Regarding impeachment, I am in full agreement. I almost want to see Obama in office next term just so the Church meets an even fuller awakening, the Supreme Court knocks him down a few more times, and the mid-term elections create a windfall of support for finally impeaching the man. Now, he’d have to be pretty arrogant to face impeachment long enough to get convicted — I hope for his sake he doesn’t have as much arrogance as I’m tempted to assume he does.

        In any case, because this is an evil means, I do not really want it. But should his re-election come, as it still very well may, the man must be impeached. If not, “I give it up; I do not know what the words mean.

      • Comment by Rade Hagedorn:

        I think that two of the great problems of modern US politics is the incessant clamor for recalls and impeachment.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          I think that two of the great problems of modern US politics is the incessant behavior from politicians which provokes the clamor for recalls and impeachment. Part of this is the deep divide which formed when the Democrat party was taken over by its aggressively Antiamerican and Antichristian wing, the “New Left” in the 1990’s. The fact that Clinton did not step down as

          I have been reading the history of the impeachment against Lincoln’s successor, and am fascinated to see that in that day, as well as in this, whether the charge is handed as a political matter or a criminal one is ambiguous in American law.

          Were it up to me, I would have activist judges impeached for legislating from the bench, overstepping Constitutional limits, and to put the fear of the law into any judges who deem themselves above the law.

          • Comment by Robert Mitchell Jr:

            Hah! I would have thought that the Democrat leadership that tried to destroy the country in their burning “need” to own Slaves, to deny the humanity of a section of people in their hate and lust for power, would be actually Anti-American, actually Anti-Christian. No, it was not the “90’s”, the rot in the Democrats set in a long, long time ago. Some of us would put the start of it at Oathbreaker Jackson and the Trail of Tears (Echoed by the Democrats in Vietnam. A similar contempt for treaties and oaths, and a similar outcome).

          • Comment by Rade Hagedorn:

            I think that two of the great problems of modern US politics is the incessant behavior from politicians which provokes the clamor for recalls and impeachment.

            My point, of course, is that their need not be any illegitimate behavior from politicians.  Anytime an elected official does something that an activist group disapproves of the modern approach is a call for impeachment or recall.

            Not only does this result in tit-for-tat behavior but is incredibly destructive to the concept of democracy as it sets up the other side to believe that their vote does not matter.  It doesn’t matter the letter behind the politicians name or the ideology that they espouse, there is always an aggrieved group that demands impeachment or recall — to be fair, sometimes the call is one for apology or that the figure step down willingly.

            The genius of the US system is that power is shared by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.  It is this arrangement along with a strong state system that is supposed to reign in the power of the federal government while not disenfranchising voters.

            The first Presidents that I remember are Ford and Carter but only in the context that my class had a ‘vote’ on which should win the Presidency.  My first authentic political memories are of Reagan and as I recall there were calls for his impeachment.  Then there were calls for Bush’s impeachment.  Then Clinton’s.  Then Bush’s.  Now Obama’s.  If Romney, Santorum, or a brokered Republican nominee are elected to the Presidency I fully expect that there will be breathless calls for his impeachment.  The Constitution is so vague as to the concept of impeachment that I dare say that no President can avoid committing some impeachable offense.

            Better than the constant natter for impeachments and recalls I’d suggest that we make actual systemic reforms such as the repeal of the 17th Ammendment and an Ammendment removing the due process clause of the 14th Ammendment.  I’d also suggest that civics classes should be reinstated in schools to the point that each year K-12 there should be a mandatory civics class.

            Were it up to me, I would have activist judges impeached for legislating from the bench, overstepping Constitutional limits, and to put the fear of the law into any judges who deem themselves above the law.

            I’m not certain if that would be a good solution or not.  I’d rather try to pinpoint the issue, and if it is a Constitutional one (probably of ambiguity) then I’d suggest that maybe an Ammendment is in order.  Perhaps less drastically it is simply one of Congress continuing to abrogate its Constitutional powers, and they simply need to stand up to the courts.

    • Comment by The Ubiquitous:

      Sir, if every American was a man of good will like you, it would really be the Land of the Free.

      Hear hear!

  2. Comment by Rolf Andreassen:

    and yet they dare to call themselves the reality-based community.

    There is a certain amount of irony in this; do you recall the origin of the phrase?

  3. Comment by Andrew Brew:

    Oh, and more relevantly, you (the troubled and self-destructive nation of the US) have my prayers, and those of others here in Sydney.

  4. Comment by Oscillon:

    I think the policy is dumb. I think it was dumber politics. I think the whole idea of covering low cost maintenance services through medical insurance is dumb.
    But…..
    I find the over the top reaction a little weird. Why didn’t we see any of this crazy sky is falling, end of the world talk when dozens of states passed effectively the same law. I think your home state has the same policy.
    http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/insurance-coverage-for-contraception-state-laws.aspx

    I never heard a peep until Obama is involved.

    • Comment by The Ubiquitous:

      Believe it or not, the bishops did largely fight the state laws. They lost.

      It helps that they still had other options, like being self-insurers. The Mandate removes this as an option.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Simple: the state mandate had a loophole that Catholic institutions could use, such as by self-insuring. Here that loophole is closed. No one was forced to act against his conscience.

      You are a repeating a Dem talking point.

      And Obama has nothing to do with it. The Bishops would react the same way if George Bush or King George of England or the Chinese Communist Party did the same thing. It is part of the Catholic teaching that contraception, abortion, and sterilization are intrinsically evil. The Church has taught this since the First Century (and, yes, the Romans had contraceptives and abortions also, just not as medically sophisticated as ours.)

      So, your argumentum ad hominem fails.

      • Comment by Oscillon:

        “the state mandate had a loophole that Catholic institutions could use”
        Virginia, right? I don’t think there is an exception. Point to it?

        http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/catholic_affiliated_institutions_that_provide_contraceptive_coverage_chart.pdf

        I can completely understand the opposition to this mandate but the tone of the reaction reminds me of the anti-bush over the top stuff from the far left 8 years ago.

        “You are a repeating a Dem talking point.”
        I’ll call your ad hominem and raise you a guilt by association.

        • Comment by The Ubiquitous:

          With that non sequitur, I think that counts as all in. See the above point:

          It helps that they still had other options, like being self-insurers. The Mandate removes this as an option.

          As for the point about Catholic organizations’ heath plans already covering contraception, when true this was discovered to the consternation of bishops unaware that this part of the room had been dirty. Where the Obama Administration comes in is in compelling that part of the room to stay dirty, even though now that we’re aware of the privation we would want to clean it up.

          Reminds me of the arguments which shore up same-sex marriage by pointing to the three-month marriages of socialites. They would have us sit in our filth even after we wake up to it.

    • Comment by Nostreculsus:

      I think the policy is dumb. I think it was dumber politics. I think the whole idea of covering low cost maintenance services through medical insurance is dumb.

      Exactly. The point of insurance is to pool money from many and direct it to pay for the unlucky individuals who face catastrophic losses. The point of insurance is to convert a small risk of catastrophe into a regular, predictable payment.

      Insurance is therefore inappropriate to pay for expenses that are already predictable and recurring: yearly check-ups, screenings, and contraceptives. Why should everyone make regular payments into a common fund, and then everyone withdraw the same routine amount on a regular basis?

      Everyone needs to eat. But we do not have government-mandated food insurance. We do not pool our grocery bills and mail the money to a centralized agency, which provides nutritionally approved “food services” to us all. Adults are supposed to be able to budget for predictable, recurring expenditures.

      The word “insurance” for Obamacare is a term of art. The program is intended to lead to a complete takeover of your medical care.

  5. Comment by Stephen J.:

    I have always loved the concept of being Christian as a battle against evil; but I admit that I find it terribly painful to think of people I love, respect and admire, whose only fault is that they were taught too soon against Christianity and are as loyal to what they believe is right as I am, as enemies in that battle.

    “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” — Matthew 10:34-37.

    One reason I’m still Christian has been the realization that as I got older and older, the Bible started making more and more sense to me. I understand this passage now in a way that was purely academic at best in my Catholic high school days.

  6. Comment by Gian:

    The word “conscience” has a very confusing and muddled history (See CS Lewis’ Studies in Word for exhaustive details). Its settled meaning (by mid-medieval period) used to be God’s viceroy in a man’s heart. But as CS Lewis shows, it is not the meaning to be found in the New Testament writings (where it means ‘to know with’.).

    Anyway, it is than curious that the atheists who acknowledge no God also claim conscience rights. Itis the result of absurd Kantian philosophy that has made each individual the supreme law-maker of his own “Man as an autonomous creature”. Whence the standard definition of American Freedom by Supreme Court Justice Kennedy” The heart of liberty is the right to define one’s nature”.

    The Kantian usage has entered Church too. So are the bishops claiming to be autonomous or are they claiming to be speaking as God’s viceroy? Is man to be rational animal or autonomous animal?

  7. Comment by Gian:

    The word “conscience” has a very confusing and muddled history (See CS Lewis’ Studies in Word for exhaustive details). Its settled meaning (by mid-medieval period) used to be God’s viceroy in a man’s heart. But as CS Lewis shows, it is not the meaning to be found in the New Testament writings (where it means ‘to know with’.).

    Anyway, it is than curious that the atheists who acknowledge no God also claim conscience rights. Itis the result of absurd Kantian philosophy that has made each individual the supreme law-maker of his own “Man as an autonomous creature”. Whence the standard definition of American Freedom by Supreme Court Justice Kennedy” The heart of liberty is the right to define one’s nature”.

    The Kantian usage has entered Church too. So are the bishops claiming to be autonomous or are they claiming to be speaking as God’s viceroy? Is man to be rational animal or autonomous animal?

    Futher note: A typical example of Kantian abuse of word “conscience” by a Catholic professor at Notre Dame:

    In our democratic society the ultimate arbiter of religious authority is the conscience of the individual believer. It follows that there is no alternative to accepting the members of a religious group as themselves the only legitimate source of the decision to accept their leaders as authorized by God. They may be wrong, but their judgment is answerable to no one but God. In this sense, even
    the Catholic Church is a democracy.
    philosophy professor Gary Gutting, teaches at Notre Dame, writing in NYT, yesterday.

  8. Comment by The Ubiquitous:

    Look. I don’t know if such coverage could be more frustrating.

    It’s going to be a long haul, kiddos. Don’t presume it’s going to be David and Goliath — for all we know, it could be more like Israel into Babylon. Given our shameful record in the last few decades, I think I know which backstory fits better.

  9. Comment by Gian:

    Mr Wright,
    The question is not of religious freedom essentially, as if the Catholic objection to contraception was like Jewish objection to pork, Quaker objection to conscription or Christian Scientist objectio to anesthesia. As Patrick Deenen at Crisis website very clearly writes that cries of conscience and religious freedom are rooted in a liberal world view.

    “By these appeals to the “rights” of religious organizations to hold certain religious beliefs – whatever those may be – and by an appeal to “conscience” informing that belief – no matter what it may hold – critics of the HHS policy have framed their response in the dominant privatistic language of liberalism. Their defense rests on the inscrutability and sanctity of private religious belief. It borrows strongly from sources of private religious devotion that lays no claim to public witness, in keeping with liberalism’s dominant mode of allowing acceptable religious practice so long as it remains outside the public square. The appeal to conscience, while lodged at the level of institutional belief, subjects itself easily to the same claim by adherents within that religious order who might similarly object to a religious mandate (e.g., the prohibition on artificial birth control) on grounds of “conscience” to aspects of that belief (think Martin Luther. Or Andrew Sullivan.)
    :
    .

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      I am not sure I understand your point. The objection here is that the Federal government has done something which the Constitution, the document giving the federal government its authority, forbids.

      Myself, I consider the authority of the Church to be superior to that of any worldly prince or republic, which is a view not in keeping with the classical liberal or enlightenment view of the superiority of secular republics over the private hobby known as religion. However, I need not rest my argument on the ground of Church supremacy, since I can rest my argument on Constitutional, that is, classical liberal grounds.

      In other words, the federal government, in the wording of the First Amendment, has promised not to meddle in Church affairs. I believe the promise to be good on caesaropapist grounds, and the liberals think the promise is good on classical liberal grounds. But we need not reach the question of the ultimate grounds of the promise since the issue is settled at first blush: promises made should be kept.

      • Comment by martin17773:

        John new multi-author blog http://orthosphere.org/ do you know the contributors? Could you cross post? Would be great to have your presence too. I’m an avid reader of you both that’s all.

      • Comment by Gian:

        Religious practices can be regulated and have been regulated in America. Mormons no longer practice polygamy nor Hindus practice Suttee.

        My point is far better made at the Catholic website Crisis:
        http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/43917

      • Comment by Gian:

        The writer at Crisis writes that:

        It is understandable why the American Catholic Bishops would protest that the religious freedom of Catholics is being infringed upon, but it is not understandable why they should think that a protest articulated in terms of religious freedom would be sufficiently effective to prevent such attacks, and worse ones, in the future. It is not understandable as both a judgment of prudence and of principle, for it appears to presuppose ideas about the nature of politics and the relation of Church and state derived from the secular Enlightenment, not the theological Tradition of the Catholic Church. By desiring to protect with state power their godless, therapeutic culture, with its cultic religious practices of baby-murder and sexual perversion, Obama and the HHS are trying to unify church and state, as it were, a principled union Leo XIII explicitly taught as the political ideal and which was not changed at Vatican II. In other words, the Obama regime is, in spite of its Rawlsian-liberal rhetoric, promoting a particular conception of the good, not merely advocating more space for the exercise of individual rights. It is attempting to inculcate what it considers “virtue” and to promote the “well-being” of human persons.

        These are, all things being equal, Aristotelian and Thomistic moral and political goals, and they indicate a non-liberal role and influence for comprehensive conceptions of the good transcending the merely private and sub-political. In other words, though their evaluative moral scheme and worldview is, well, insane, and the particular values they deem good in truth wicked, by seeking to rid the political culture of a practice they deem evil and vicious, not merely infringing on someone’s rights, the Obama regime is, to this extent, behaving in a manner more in line with traditional Catholic political philosophy and theology than that implied by the Bishops’ classical-liberal-Lockean rhetoric

      • Comment by Gian:

        From Crisis website:

        “Church “charity” has come to rely increasingly on politicians, not the laity. Thus, as the Democrats have moved left, our bureaucracies have too – whether by choice or by necessity. After all, they count on billions of taxpayer dollars flowing to Church institutions every year.”

        “Laymen understand what bishops apparently don’t: politicians have allowed us to play in their taxpayer-funded trough because we have played by their rules”

        I have also read recently that the Catholic dioceses derive more funding from Federal Govt than from tithes.
        Do you think it is a satisfactory state of affairs and the non-Catholics should continue to subsidize the Catholic Church?

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          “Do you think it is a satisfactory state of affairs and the non-Catholics should continue to subsidize the Catholic Church?”

          I do think that non-Catholics should subsidize charity, yes. That modern men think the state is a better organ for aiding the poor than the Church is due to the post-Henry VIII worship of the state, which I think is an abomination. So, no, this is not a satisfactory state of affairs, but I cannot envision a better one, given modern statism.

          • Comment by Gian:

            And you have apparently no worries about
            (1) corruption induced in Church and Church officials by large amounts of State money.
            You haven’t noticed a large number of pro-Govt and pro-Left Catholic officials. A lot of Catholic charity is scam and exists only to enrich the official class. Sister Sheehan?
            (2) Violation of the 1st Amendment by which non-Catholics are obliged to support Catholicism.
            3) A relaxed attitude induced towards tithing by the Catholic laity. Since bishops are getting a lot of money from Govt, they don’t need the tithes that much and that contributes to the disconnect between hierarchy and laity.

            (4) Instead you take a mechanical and rather thoughtless approach that focuses only on the money flowing through the system. A typical bureaucratic and Leftist approach, something very unexpected from you.
            (5) As reported in First Things last week, an official of a Catholic institution says that Govt funding is a must since without it, the Catholic institutions would be rendered “uncompetitive”.
            See, for a bureaucratic mind, the point of an institution is to compete with other institutions for talent and Govt money. Such an attitude needs to be destroyed.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              Is it just me, or is there something about the Internet that makes people think they can just make up stuff about other people, and pretending they have motives, thoughts, philosophies, and what-not they don’t have.

              I don’t know who are you mad at, but take it out on them, not on me. I neither said the things you are attributing to me, nor can your statement be considered a logical deduction from anything I said.

              Speaking as an attorney, I can assure you that using government funds set aside for charity to cooperate with a private charity is as close the establishment as religion as having the government hire contractors to build ships and weapons for the army and navy, or, in other words, not at all.

              • Comment by Patrick:

                Leaving any assumptions one way or another aside, I think his point, particularly, as relates to tithing, is very compelling.

                John, could you respond to that? How should Catholics weigh the leavening effects of government money (and the fact that so many of our charities have been co-opted by people with no intention of promoting our orthodoxy)?

                You probably know that here are a number of faithful Catholic healthcare charities in the NoVa area who don’t accept government money on principal; should this be the model for Catholic charities going forward?

                Anyhow, I’d like somebody to unpack the notion that a missional charity should be ‘competitive’ for me.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  I am afraid I am not qualified to answer, except by experience. After my conversion, I spent some weekends helping out in a local soup kitchen that passed out bags of groceries to the poor. My job was stock boy. I would shelf the donations. Some donations came from the government. Some came from local stores who did not want food to be thrown away. Most came from other sources.

                  The gov’t donations were roughly one third to one half of the stock, but they were the most annoying, because we could not use our judgment on how it was to be stored and distributed — everything was done according to minute regulations.

                  To this day, I don’t know the denomination of the kitchen. Maybe it was Catholic, maybe not. Without Big Brother’s help, our output to the poor would have been less. The degree of government intrusion would offend a libertarian but not a Republican, and a Democrat would have panted in heat for more: but in any case, it did not cause any conflict of conscience for me. We were glad for the help.

                  The argument I have heard repeated, which is that taking donations from the government eliminates your rights, or your standing, or your conscience, is total bullshit. It is something people say who have no other argument to take, and they don’t believe it themselves. As well argue that female hitchhikers are asking to be raped. If I take a loaf of bread from Uncle Sam and pass it out to the needy, there is no fine print in the contract that says Uncle Sam can then give me a machete and command me to kill Negro babies in the name of Planned Ethnic Cleansing.

                  From a legal point of view, the United States of America is one of the few nations where the Church can appoint her own bishops without asking leave of the government. The Chinese bishops do not have that right. Cooperation with the government to help the poor is obviously beneficial to the poor. I do not think there is an argument there. As Christians, we are obligated to submit humbly to the laws and prayer for our leaders, even when they persecute us. The only limit is that we are obligated to defy the state when the laws command we break divine laws, and accept whatever punishment the state sees fit to inflict with joy.

                  From that perspective, it is hard for me to see what either the theological or the legal argument is preventing cooperation between the Church and State for the care of the poor.

                  In a better world, I would hope that the State would be small and weak enough, and the Church large and influential enough, to need not to rely on the state. It would certainly sooth the ghosts of my libertarian sentiments if all charity and welfare were private. On the other hand, back in the days when the Church was the sole agency of welfare for the poor, we had institutions like common greens, and the Church was an established institution, backed by the police power, and membership was compulsory.

                  • Comment by Gian:

                    Mr Wright,
                    The State does not do “charity”. It fulfills the social welfare legislations or you can say it does welfare. The word “charity” has undergone a lot of lot of abuse and it should really not take more.

                    The analogy to military contractors does not work. The Church is asking for special exemptions and privileges that the contractors even do not dream of.

                    You are automatically linking State funds for social welfare to poor. Conservatives decry State over-spending and are rightly suspicious of State intrusion into non-essential activities.

                    And you persist in eating your cake and having it too. If the Church takes State money, then it must play by State rules and not plead conscience. The bishops has not yet said that the the mandate is wrong per se. Only that they be exempted from it. So your analogy to “kill Negro babies in the name of Planned Ethnic Cleansing.” does not work.

                    “and the Church was an established institution, backed by the police power, and membership was compulsory.”

                    Hardly. Thee were Jewish communities all over. I never heard that even for non-Jews, it was compulsory. People were Catholic mostly for exactly the reason that children of a Hindu are generally Hindu.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      “The Church is asking for special exemptions and privileges that the contractors even do not dream of. “

                      If this is a reference to the Church asking that EWTN, the Catholic radio station, not being forced to pass out free contraceptives, abortifacients or to fund sterilization, that is an exemption and a privilege guaranteed under the First Amendment.

                      “If the Church takes State money, then it must play by State rules and not plead conscience.”

                      This is a lie. Or, to be more polite about it, there is no precedent in common law, nor in statute, nor in the Constitution, which would justified this outrageous overreach of government power.

                      We are not discussing a case where the members of a Church are employees of a state and take tax money to distribute to the poor objecting to the conditions or regulations under which the state disburses the money. We are talking of a case where an administrative officer has made a general ruling binding on all corporations, businesses, partnerships, and assemblies in the nation, including Catholic charities, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens, and your argument is that those institutions have forfeited their First Amendment rights because some other charity drives took tax money for other purposes, purposes which they fulfilled.

                      We are not talking about a case where there was a contract that stated, ‘We will give you taxpayer funds if in return you trample the crucifix’ nor are we talking about a case where the tax-money was disbursed for the purposes of encouraging the poor and downtrodden to trample the crucifix, and the Church took the money under that understanding. We are talking about a case where an administrative officer has decreed that abortifacients are now “preventative medication” and that all companies and corporations, including any Catholic hospitals, universities, or charities who never took a dime of federal money, must fund abortifacients to their employees ,which, for all practical purposes, is the same as asking us to trample the crucifix. We will not comply.

                      Your argument is that it is illogical or self-contradictory for one group of Catholics to accept federal money for charitable purposes, but then for another group of Catholics to object when commanded by a federal officer unconnected with those moneys or those charities to forswear one’s religious conviction. Your argument does not even make a prima facea case.

                      If you wish, like a libertarian, to say that the federal government may not use money to feed the poor, then as a libertarian you must also say the federal government may not establish a Church nor interfere in the free exercise of religion, and you will be consistent with your own argument.

                      If you wish, like a leftist, to say that the federal government has no limits on its powers, you may make the argument that the federal government has the right to establish that funding abortifacients, contraception, sterilization is no longer a matter of religious conviction, and command the Catholic Church to amend her catechism and teachings.

                      But here you are making the argument that since the federal government may not use money to feed the poor, therefore the federal government has the right to command the Catholic Church to amend her catechism. You reason from libertarian axioms to totalitarian conclusions.

                      There is no connection between those two ideas. If the federal government has overstepped its constitutional boundaries by funding charities, why would that, even in theory, act as laches, waiver, or estoppel to forbid any Catholics from asserting their First Amendment rights?

                      And your only argument in support of these two disconnected ideas is that by feeding the poor all Catholics have committed such an abominable enormity that we have forfeited our right to object when secular powers command us to amend our catechism.

                      You are speaking utter nonsense. Let us hear no more from you on this issue, please.

  10. Comment by The Ubiquitous:

    Mr. Wright: Have you seen what the DOJ filed in response to Belmont Abbey’s claim? Their best defense is, presumably, not that their threatened future actions would be somehow constitutional but that the Administration promises to fix the issues in the future.

    I’m no expert on ripeness, but this smells rotten. It’s the sort of thing which may hold up in court as a technicality.

    It’s stall at best — for political reasons the Administration gave the year of transition time. But that transition time itself impeaches their case. As this is de facto transition time, we are being forced to transition to something we object; therefore, this transition itself constitutes an action, and we can rightly and ripely object to this transition on moral grounds.

    If there is no precedent that we may seek injunction against a pending tyranny of the government, there should be. For something like this the time is ripe.

  11. Comment by robertjwizard:

    The one known as ‘robertjwizard’ doubtless has some sort of point, but it’s hidden in amidst the argumentum ad ignorantiam, argumentum ad populum, argumentum ad hominem (including, specifically, tu quoque), dicto simpliciter and audiatur et altera pars.

    Ah, how cute, you visited that site Mr. Wright recommended, now you’re using giant Latin words you don’t understand! Cutting and pasting words is not understanding them.

    My statement is simple. A communist should not be given a hearing to make his case. He can be laughed at out of hand and dismissed and assigned the proper levels of discussion – like what character on Seaseme Street is the nicest. This is reserved only for communists and Nazis. Flat-earthers and believers in fairies can have a hearing as can Shirley McClaine. I do not mean this as an insult. I actually mean that seriously. But by all means keep making my point for me – proceed.

  12. Ping from Opposed even to God, opposed to the mandate « Prodigal No More:

    […] opposed even to God, who stated that the Health and Human Services mandate amounts to a rope around his neck — how much more ours? We did not want this fight. If you are in favor of this […]

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