Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Moral Truth vs. Religious Freedom: Vortex

I agree whole-heartedly with what Michael Voris has to say in yesterday’s (Jan. 8) Vortex: we will make no headway on convincing people of the immorality and evil of abortion, contraception, homosexual behavior, etc., until we start preaching the Truth – the Truth that Catholicism is the one true faith.

Keeping the focus on “religious liberty” is not wrong, but it is just a hedged bet. It’s a bet that the American public will not be swayed by arguments that artificial contraception is immoral and harmful; it’s a bet that there’s a chance that Americans will be moved by a plea for religious liberty. After all, we’re all entitled to our opinion, right?

But the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee freedom of religion for everyone or every "religion" . Think about it. If your religion says that any woman engaging in adultery should be killed, your religious liberty is going to be severely curtailed by existing laws in this country. Searching online, I found this succinct explanation (and there was more):

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment states that the government "shall make no law . . . prohibiting the free exercise of religion." Although the text sounds absolute, "no law" does not always mean "no law." The Supreme Court has had to place some limits on the freedom to practice religion. To take an easy example cited by the Court in one of its landmark "free exercise" cases, the First Amendment would not protect the practice of human sacrifice even if some religion required it. In other words, while the freedom to believe is absolute, the freedom to act on those beliefs is not. [my emphasis]

What’s lacking in society is a moral foundation. The Catholic Church can provide that, but has been lax in doing so for several decades – even for Catholics! And if Catholics lack a moral foundation, then their interactions with the secular world will be more likely to influence them toward secular relativism, rather than Catholic moral thought influencing the culture toward moral truth.

Here's the Vortex:

Here’s the script, with my emphases:

At the end of the day, every moral problem that is vexing the West in these days can be plopped at the feet of religion.

And there is something disingenuous going on in various religious groups, and especially among Catholic leadership. That disingenuous activity is the refusal to argue these urgent social moral quagmires on their REAL terms – that at the end of the day, abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, divorce and re-marriage, adultery are wrong because they violate the Divine Law.

No one in the Church, for example, REALLY wants to talk in those terms. They’re afraid – afraid to say the WHOLE truth. So they argue moral questions, at the end of the day, with no reference to the God who tells us what’s moral and immoral.

It’s actually a pretty stupid strategy. You simply cannot and will not convince enough people that the satisfaction they get from having sexual encounters with whoever, however, and as many people as they want to, is bad because it will hurt the economy, or government programs will have to bear the financial burden of the consequences, or whatever.

Those societal costs are too generic and “out-there” to expect that people would change their behavior accordingly. Does anyone REALLY think that two single people will decide to overcome their passions tonight and not engage in sexual activity because their action might eventually prove more costly for the federal government?

So to try and argue that Americans should behave morally because immoral behavior is destructive of the culture is waste of time. It’s true, but meaningless when it comes to results.

People need to experience a PERSONAL consequence to their bad actions or they won’t stop – and even then, many times we don’t. And the more immediate the consequence, the more likely the chance that the behavior might change.

And this is where religion comes in. In a culture that has become popularly, legally, and politically used to saying that religious beliefs are out of bounds when it comes to having a throw-down discussion on morality, the idea that an appeal to religion could be made is laughed out of the room.

And this is the suicidal potion that has existed in America since day one. The humanist and enlightenment scholars who represent majority of the Founding Fathers had what could be termed a “go-it-alone” approach to morality: a belief that man can self-rule and choose the good unaided – that his reason would lead him to the right choice, and as such, religion was a matter of indifference. Sure, the government shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with it, but neither should religion be allowed to gain any kind of foothold in the law – other than lip service.

Yeah, yeah, we know that the Constitution is talking about establishing a STATE religion, a specific religion, not religion in general, but when you treat religion in general, what you end up with is a general religion.

And it is this general religion – the idea of religion – that is now scorned and disregarded…that cannot be appealed to when discussions of, for example, same-sex marriage come up.

And the rationale behind the social banning of religion in these kinds of discussions is two-fold. First, we can’t talk about what GOD commands and doesn’t command because we can’t prove God exists. And two, IF God does exist, we can’t prove which religion is right.

Those two points – the existence of God and the rightness of one religion over all the others - are the bugaboo topics; they are forbidden, verboten in polite company. The tolerant crowd – which will allow any discussion and any lifestyle – will never allow this kind of discussion to be had…partly because they are afraid of the outcome, and partly because they consider it a waste of time, because you can’t take a piece of God and stick Him under a microscope. The only truth for the culture today is scientific proof. The principles on which science rests, the laws of physics, for example, are superior to the author and creator of those laws, apparently.

No matter how deep man drills down, there will always be the NEXT layer of questioning – WHY – why does gravity work that way, why do electrons behave in that manner, why do gamma particles react in that fashion? And when THOSE questions are answered, there will be even DEEPER questions about the newest set of answers. This cannot be a case of Eternal Question and Answer. Ultimately, these questions and answers terminate in the author of Being Himself.

Scientists can’t even answer the most rudimentary of questions – why is there something RATHER than nothing? Why does ANYTHING exist at all? Why is there even EXISTENCE? Science can’t answer those questions because science doesn’t have the tools; they are beyond its competence.

But we KNOW God exists, and virtually every person who has ever walked the earth knows this…at least instinctively. And if God exists, then the door is now flung open to the question of religion; and ONCE THAT door is opened, the even more specific question arises of WHICH religion – which one is right, proclaims the truth, etc.

This is where discussions about the contraception mandate must be had, the immorality of abortion, the evil of same-sex marriage.

For Church leaders to try and couch these Divine imperatives in the language of the culture, with glossed-up terms like “religious liberty” and “toleration” and even “natural law” are good, but insufficient in themselves. The proof that they do not work is that they are not working.

Religious leaders must tell it like it is. These things are evil, not just unconstitutional and violations of our cherished Democratic principles. In many ways, those principles are what got us into this mess in the first place. They are rotten fruits from a fallen humanity and they end in total destruction: the second death. This is what must be said, no matter how many howls and hoots and slanders come pouring out of the culture.

In order to say these things, though, the case must be made for God AND His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Since this approach has been abandoned for so long by the very leaders who were consecrated to preach it, it is going to be one very heavy load to pick back up – but it must be done.

Let us pray that Catholic leaders get back to saying the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…not just bits and pieces.


  1. Amen and Amen to this!

  2. YES the TRUTH and nothing but the complete TRUTH !!!!!
    Let's pray the (the clergy) have the COURAGE to speak the TRUTH !

  3. Way back when (actually, not that long ago), Archbishop Lefebvre wrote at length on the problems with the term Religious Liberty:

    Is anyone really surprised that there are contradictions between 'Dignitatis Humanae' and Pope Pius IX's 'Syllabus of Errors?'

    In a nutshell, Religious Liberty confers rights on errors!


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