Catholics and the Duties of Religious Freedom
Indeed, it is an anti-law, an act of raw usurpation by a Leviathan state. It must be resisted.
We have a duty, on behalf not only of the Church, but on behalf of all Americans to resist it.
Now, this is a fight the Church did not seek. HHS drew first blood. It is a fight that has been foisted upon her and through the Church upon all Americans.
How are we to resist this anti-law?
In his play on St. Thomas More, "A Man for All Seasons," the playwright Robert Bolt has St. Thomas More say the following:
"God made angels to show him splendor-as he made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But man he made to serve him wittily, in the tangle of his mind! If he suffers us to fall to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and yes, . . . then we may clamor like champions . . . if we have the spittle for it. . . . . But it's God's part, not our own, to bring ourselves to that extremity! Our natural business lies in escaping-."
The Church has made substantial efforts to serve God "wittily," in the "tangle" of the law, to "escape" the confrontation that the Obama administration thrust upon her.
Compromise was sought from the Obama administration, but ultimately that proved fruitless. The Obama administration said, "No, this is our plan."
So the Church decided to say "no" to the Obama administration's "no," and to resist through the Rule of Law.
The Church turned to the legislative process. The Church supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have essentially undercut the mandate. Unfortunately, largely along party lines, the Senate voted 51 to 48 against the Blunt Amendment.
So the problem went unsolved through the legislative process.
The Church then sought recourse from the Courts. In May, a number of groups sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services alleging that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
That is where the matter now rests. Until the various courts decide, or until the whole thing becomes moot if the Supreme Court finds the ObamaCare unconstitutional.
There also remains the election in November. We can-to quote the Texas politician Bob Gammage-"throw the rascals out" that are responsible for this. That will send a message to Washington that this sort of governance will not be tolerated.
But what if these efforts are successful? What if ObamaCare passes Constitutional muster? What if the HHS mandates are sustained by the federal courts? What if legislative relief is not available? What if the current administration wins another term so that the mandate cannot be changed through the election process?
It is then that we must "stand to our tackle as best we can, and yes, . . . then we may clamor like champions." We take heart in the words of George Washington, who said that it was "the establishing of . . . Religious Liberty [that] was the Motive that induced me to the Field [of battle]."
But this is a contest not to be prayed for.
Let us rather stand with our bishops, put confidence in our Courts, and in our electorate to side-step the problem.
Let us also make all Americans aware, in peaceful demonstrations, that Catholics, that Christians of all stripes, that believers of all colors were not born with "saddles on their backs" so that they could be ridden where they will not go, where they ought not go, where conscience forbids them to go, by "a favored few booted and spurred," bureaucrats in Washington, "ready to ride them legitimately," by the genius of a godless Caesar.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at email@example.com.
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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: HHS mandate, religious freedom, religious liberty, Rally for Religious Liberty, Duty, Andrew Greenwell
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