Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Waning of Relgious Liberty in America

“Religious liberty as an ideal sounds lovely. But in the abstract, it has very little power. It has political force only to the degree that ordinary people believe and practice their faith — and refuse to tolerate anyone or anything interfering with their faith. The current White House has a clear track record of ignoring the traditional American understanding of religious freedom and interfering with the activity of religiously inspired organizations.  If lay Catholics accept that sort of government behavior without inflicting a political cost on the officials responsible for it, then they have no one to blame but themselves when they find that their liberties have gone thin.”  ~ Archbishop Charles Chaput

In light of the impending HHS mandate going into effect on August 1st of this year which will seriously infringe upon Americans’ first amendment right to the free exercise of their religion, I think the nation is about to see what happens when we do not vigilantly and vehemently guard and defend our unalienable God-given liberties as enshrined in the United States Constitution.  Archbishop Chaput is right.  It isn’t only up to the clergy to defend this and other constitutional rights; it is incumbent upon all Americans of every faith, or no faith at all, to speak out for the rule of law and hold our elected officials accountable when they vote contrary to our Constitution and liberty.  To not do so will only ensure that we will all eventually be shackled by the chains of tyranny.

As Archbishop Chaput further said in regards to our religious freedoms in general and the egregious, pernicious, and evil HHS mandate in specific, “If laypeople don’t love their Catholic faith enough to struggle for it in the public square, nothing the bishops do will finally matter.”  I pray that enough freedom-loving people of goodwill will indeed step up and make their collective voices heard, before they are no longer allowed to speak anymore. 

7 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

"...it is incumbent upon all Americans...to speak out for the rule of law and hold our elected officials accountable when they vote contrary to our Constitution and liberty."

That is absolutely true and has nothing to do with religion. However, I would add your earlier statement "as enshrined in the United States Constitution" after liberty.

Of course the problem is interpretation of the Constitution.

T. Paine said...

"That is absolutely true and has nothing to do with religion."

Jerry, with all due respect, this absolutely DOES have to do with religion. Freedom of exercising one’s religion is arguably the foremost and most intimate of our civil rights. That is precisely the reason that it is the first right mentioned in the very first amendment of our Constitution; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

The fact that our government is insisting that Americans must personally purchase a private product in the form of insurance which MUST include coverage of things that are diametrically opposed to the core tenets of some peoples’ faith or conscience is a direct violation of that first amendment right. It absolutely infringes on our “free exercise thereof” of our religions accordingly.

Only the most convoluted and disingenuous interpretation of the Constitution would dismiss these actual facts of the matter, sir. And that is the real crux of the problem, my friend.

Jerry Critter said...

By definition, it does not infringe on our "free excercise thereof". It has been ruled constitutional by the interpreter of the constitution, convoluted or not, and therefore cannot be an infringement.

To turn it back into an infringement, you must pass a constitutional amendment. Good luck with that. Until then, your opinion is just that -- an opinion, not a fact.

T. Paine said...

Jerry, actually the Supreme Court ruled on the individual mandate and as to whether this constituted an un-constitutional tax. To my knowledge, they did not rule on the specifics of the HHS mandate which was promulgated to the public after that ruling which is now requiring that everyone must purchase insurance that specifically includes coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients, even if they are religiously affiliated, self-insured, or conscientiously object.

Further, as we have previously discussed, even if this HHS mandate was deemed “constitutional” by the SCOTUS, that would not necessarily make it so by any means other than the technical definition of the word. As I have pointed out, the Supreme Court has also upheld cases that were clearly against the language or intent of the Constitution, (thus they were unconstitutional in the spirit and sometimes the letter of the law) even though they were finagled to be deemed constitutional by the SCOTUS. Cases such as Roe v. Wade, Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Schenk v. United States, Korematsu v. United States, and Kelo v. City of New London are some of these examples. It would be the same as some totalitarian body seeing evil being done in violation of the law of the land and yet still declaring it good or acceptable regardless.

There are cases currently winding through the court system specifically on the constitutionality of this HHS mandate. Of course the case won’t be heard by the SCOTUS in time for the August 1st implementation of this pernicious and evil dictate. Further, I no longer trust the SCOTUS to do what the Constitution clearly tells us it should.

I am further saddened that you and many other Americans don’t see, or at least won’t acknowledge, the obvious discrepancies between the first amendment and what this HHS mandate is requiring. If our government can violate such a sacred right, what other rights can they violate? And upon the violation of which of our unalienable rights of freedom by our government will be enough for you to realize that ALL of these rights should have been protected in the first place, even if you disagree with the specifics of the person whose rights were violated?

Jerry Critter said...

When all else fails, let's bring out the slippery slope.

T. Paine said...

Jerry, so my pointing out two hundred years of history in the form of horrible SCOTUS decisions, some of which have indeed been acknowledged as wrong and thus overturned, is a slippery slope to you? Further, sometimes there is just reason to fear the degradation of the rule of law down that slippery slope. With the current batch of Senators, Congressmen, Justices, and President that we have, I see no reason why I should be sleeping well at night when contemplating my basic human rights and civil liberties.

Jerry Critter said...

My condolences.