For about a few months now, I’ve been mentioning things political that should matter to Catholics, and thus to all human beings. A few months back, I mentioned a scandal with our war dead that is another marker of trouble. Mark Shea wrote on these issues in a manner that helps bring to light what is at stake here.
For as St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans,
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But, of course, that doesn’t mean we will be immune from difficulties either. Nor does it mean we just ball ourselves up in a corner, pray, hope, and do nothing else. Shea notes the true cause of our general dissatisfaction: these are the fruits of the Culture of Death.
As I mentioned the other day, I think the issue facing our country is not primarily left vs. right or GOP vs. Dem. It is, rather, an elite on both sides of the aisle that is increasingly stronger and more tyrannical vs. a populace that is increasingly weaker and more vulnerable to the depredations of the strong. It is an issue rooted, of course, in our culture of death. But it is something that has now begun to metastasize well past the killing and maltreatment of the weak, sick and old and is beginning to target all of us.
The concern about abortion, since the beginning, has been not merely that the killing of unborn children itself is a grave evil (bad as that is), but that the rationale for doing this evil must and will surely become the rationale for oppressing and killing the weak at every level of society. As Mother Teresa said with characteristic simplicity, “If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” Ideas have consequences. Once you declare that a human being’s right to live comes, not from the hand of God, but from the generosity of the state, you make all members of homo sapiens vulnerable to having their rights stripped from them by anybody with sufficient power to do it.
Almost 40 years ago, we chose to do this to the weakest and most vulnerable members of society and have gone on, as a culture, making that choice every day.
But our civilization has not stayed in place. It has built on this fundamental denial of human rights rooted in the fact that we are creatures made in the image and likeness of God. Little by little, but with increasing momentum, we have chosen, always for the sake of “peace and safety” (i.e., convenience) to snip off from the human family more and more of those who are weakest or otherwise beyond the pale of consideration as ineligible for human rights. Next came the elderly and ill, with euthanasia legislation. It’s sold, again, with the lie that it will bring “peace” (for the unwanted dying) and “safety” (from loss of too much money by those responsible for the care of the expensive weak person) but the real goal is convenience for bean counters who can’t be bothered to pay for people who “use up too many resources”. Power, once again, gets concentrated in the hands of the powerful and the undesirable are, on the word of the powerful alone, declared to be unworthy of life and pushed into death.
The culture that has supported this (particularly my own Generation Narcissus) has, with spectacular short-sightedness, never dreamed that somebody more powerful than us might consider us nuisances who might need to be gotten rid of. Which is how, with quiet efficiency and almost no notice from the media, the US Senate last week was able to pass a bill which (if, God forbid, it becomes law) would place all American citizens in pretty much the position that the unborn, ill and elderly currently occupy: persons with basic human rights if the Powerful say we are entitled to them, and non-persons with absolutely no rights if the Powerful decide to imprison and (as we shall see in a moment) perhaps even kill us without charge or right to counsel.
Go and read the whole piece. Mark will share quite a bit about the Senate bill I was writing about back in December. You remember the one, all wrapped up in a Defense Bill, while opening a window on stripping anyone and everyone of their God given rights, not just as citizens, but as human beings. That’s where Mark’s invocation of Benjamin Franklin’s quote, after the Holy Spirit’s words to us via St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, strikes at the heart of the matter.
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Speaking of windows, here’s an idea whose time came once, and that has come once again. Do you think St. Paul would approve of this editorial message? Roll clip:
“Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms…” Balderdash! That is the ghettoization that the strong would like not only Catholics to succumb to, but all mankind. Winston Churchill said,
“You can always count on America to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else.”
We’ve been doing the wrong thing long enough, don’t you think? And if you didn’t go and read Mark’s post completely, beat feet and do it now. For what he speaks of is a clear and present danger to the freedoms that our forefathers knew come from God. It’s what sparked the drafting of the Magna Carta (which is on display in the National Archives right there in Washington D.C.), to the Declaration of Independence, and all the way through the Constitution of the United States.
Big Caesar and Big Mammon want to abrogate the rights that our fathers and brothers and sisters fought and died for to protect, and secure for their posterity? Sign them away in Defense Spending Bills and Highway Funding Bills like some kind of lame arbitration agreement? Or through Federal Mandates buried in the Code of Federal Regulations, 2,500 pages deep, that no one has read? Say it ain’t so Congress, and say it ain’t so, Judicial branch. Say it in the clearest, and loudest means possible by striking down the HHS Mandate, just like the free-speech violating mandate regarding cigarette packaging was struck down recently.
But most importantly, fellow citizens, let’s not just get mad as hell, but let’s keep our thinking caps on, and not be fooled by the canards and political gamesmanship of the current Administration. Instead, let us proactively support the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, so help us God.
UPDATE II: The Anchoress on Pretending Contraception is the Crisis.