(Photo: Saturday Evening Post)
Yesterday I linked to several stories that outlined the growing tension between our government and our churches.
Today at Patheos, two more perspectives:
Russell Shaw declares The Persecution of Religion has Begun and explains:
“Don’t think I’m making the wild-eyed claim that this new persecution either is or ever is likely to become a bloody one resembling the purges of the French and Mexican Revolutions or the Communist war on religion—eruptions of violence in which thousands of clergy, religious, and lay faithful were killed. It won’t be a repetition of the Spanish civil war, just 75 years ago, when death squads of the anticlerical left executed the incredible total of 12 bishops, 283 religious women, 4,184 priests, 2,365 religious men, and an unknown number of laity whose only crime was being faithful Catholics.
No, the persecution of religion in the United States won’t be like that. It will be a tight-lipped campaign of secularist inspiration in which the coercive power of the state is brought to bear on church-related institutions to act against conscience or go out of business.”
Meanwhile, Sister Mary Ann Walsh reveals that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has filed USCCB filed a Freedom of Information Act request to discover exactly how a decision by the Health and Human Services division came down against Catholic assistance against human trafficking, when even the Justice Department had supported the work the church has done in the past:
“I have been informed that six organizations applied for anti-trafficking grants from HHS’s Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Four scored so low they did not make the cutoff when evaluated by an independent review board. Two applicants scored well. Heartland Human Care Services scored highest and MRS came in second, very close to Heartland, even after losing points for not being willing to refer for contraceptives and abortions. Yet, after finagling by Sharon Parrott, one of three politically appointed counselors to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, ORR awarded $4.5 million, spread across Heartland, which earned the award, and United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and Tapestri, groups that hadn’t made the grade according to the independent review board.
HHS denies any hanky-panky. Show me the data.
Ambassador Johnny Young, who now heads MRS after a stellar career in the U.S. diplomatic corps, asked for data. Young, an African-American, has seen plenty of racial discrimination. Meeting with HHS’s George Sheldon he noted that he recognized discrimination again—this time because of his Catholic faith. When Sheldon, Acting Assistant Secretary for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, denied the deck was stacked, Young said, in effect, show me the data. No answer yet.
USCCB filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see how these decisions were made. Still no answer.”
As I wrote here:
This is how America will fade away, not with bursting bombs or tidal waves, but with legislators and courts reshaping the notion of rights and entitlements until they become difficult to tell apart, and then deciding who gets to be who they are, and who must change or be ostracized. “Live and let live” which is a dandy and peaceable philosophy acknowledging differences of opinion and perspective, is being supplanted by “think one way, or else.”
Msgr. Charles Pope has more
Bishop Lori’s address on Religious Liberty