Is the United States of America Becoming a Slave Nation?
Real rights reach beyond groups and belong to the wider community of human persons
Modern America is so proud of itself for being fair and tolerant. But is it really fair and tolerant, I wonder. Because at the same time the state expands the so-called rights of certain anointed groups, real rights, those inherent to our nature as human beings and necessary for our development, are being stripped from all Americans.
Real rights reach beyond groups and belong to the wider community of human persons
But is it really so fair and tolerant, I wonder. Because at the same time the state expands the so-called rights of certain anointed groups, real rights, those inherent to our nature as human beings and necessary for our development, are being stripped from all Americans, even militant homosexuals and feminists. In reality, then, it appears that America is not more fair and tolerant, but more oppressive.
There seems to be no end to the examples in the news these days, which are becoming more outrageous and bold. For instance, on June 4, 2012, ABC News reported that police stopped every car at an intersection in Aurora, Colorado, pulled out the occupants, detained them, handcuffed them, and searched their cars.
Apparently police received a tip that a robber, who had held up a Wells Fargo bank earlier, was in one of the cars stopped at a red light. The police knew which intersection, but they did not have a description of the robber. They did not even know if they were looking for a man or woman. So they decided to round up everyone stopped at the intersection. In all, the sweep involved 19 cars and about 40 innocent people.
One of the drivers who was handcuffed, Sonya Romero, said that the "Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car." The police then "went from car to car, removing the passengers and handcuffing the adults."
Aurora police Officer, Frank Fania, described the ordeal to ABC News. He said,
"Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car." They were un-handcuffed only after they allowed the police to search their cars and after nothing incriminating was found. This entire process lasted up to two hours.
It was not until they got to the last car that police found two loaded handguns and apprehended their suspect. At this point, all the other detained people were released. When the ordeal was over, Officer Fania attempted to justify it. He said, "It's hard to say what normal is in a situation like this when you haven't dealt with a situation like this. The result of the whole ordeal is that it paid off. We have arrested and charged a suspect."
Officer Fania may want to brush off the whole ordeal by feigning ignorance and using his end-justifies-the-means logic, but others are not so quick to brush it off. Of course, people are glad that the police apprehended the suspect. That is not the question; the question is the manner in which they did it.
Many legal experts see the incident as a possible error in judgment. Legal expert, Jim Miller, indicated that it raises serious civil-rights questions. He said, "The concern is that the officers, I guess who were involved, couldn't point to any of these people they stopped and say here is my articulable suspicion for believing that you did something wrong."
And that is precisely the point: In the land of fairness and tolerance, American citizens--men, women and children--no longer have to do anything wrong to be detained, handcuffed, tasered, or arrested. The relationship between the police and the public has changed in recent years. Although the police fulfill an important function in society and there are many good police officers, this trend has become too widespread and constitutes a serious betrayal of the public trust, which is eating at our communities like a cancer.
But it is not just the police. This trend involves many of our political leaders, along with an army of bureaucrats and so-called professionals, who influence and direct the police power of the state, and who seem to think people are little more than random products of evolution, animals that can be corralled like sheep. But this idea is false. We are human beings, persons created in the image and likeness of God. We are children of God and destined to be kings and queens.
I wrote an article addressing police brutality around the Thanksgiving Day holiday last year. I will never forget one of the comments. The following sentence was buried in it: "Citizens must become more docile as societies mature . . . ." No, we should not become more docile; we should become more vigilant! If we do not protect our civil rights, we will lose them. We will become a nation of slaves. We do not owe this to anyone, not homosexuals or feminists or the state.
Given our heritage, Catholics should be able to understand the value of our civil rights better than many people. We have suffered persecution throughout much of our 2000-year history. We have suffered persecution in the United States, and we are entering into a new era of persecution at the hands of the Obama administration.
Catholics believe in government, but we also understand the proper relationship between the state and its citizens. The erosion of civil rights that we are witnessing in modern America is not reasonable. Government does not need to trample our rights to perform its functions or accommodate certain anointed groups.
Referring to the people detained by the Aurora police, Miller said, "They could individually file their lawsuits for false arrest . . . ." The problem is that most people are afraid to stand up for their rights. As Catholics, we need not be afraid to responsibly and prayerfully stand up for our rights or the rights of our neighbors, because we know the dignity and worth of human life and the great destiny that awaits us.
Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: United States of America, Civil Rights, Police, Aurora, Colorado, Catholic, Michael Terheyden
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