Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

6/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

and all people of faith must embrace a new paradigm of evangelizing the culture

Philadelphia's Archbishop Chaput has long been known for his candor, but his May 24 column is particularly refreshing.  I direct your attention to the following sentence: "Anyone who thinks that our country's neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again." In other words, mere words are not going to be enough to retain our right to, and our nation's heritage of, religious liberty. 

Archbishop Chaput's column is entitled 'Religious Freedom and The Need to Wake Up.' He could have also added 'To Get Up' out of those comfortable chairs where the world looks so simple, so black and white.

Archbishop Chaput's column is entitled "Religious Freedom and The Need to Wake Up." He could have also added "To Get Up" out of those comfortable chairs where the world looks so simple, so black and white.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: activism, catholic action, religious freedom, culture, Archbishop Chaput, social doctrine, catholics in politics, Deal W Hudson


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Philadelphia's Archbishop Chaput has long been known for his candor, but his May 24 column is particularly refreshing.  I direct your attention to the following sentence:

"Anyone who thinks that our country's neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again."

In other words, mere words are not going to be enough to retain our right to, and our nation's heritage of, religious liberty. 

The 2012 presidential election was, if nothing else, a national referendum on religious liberty. Unless people were determined to know nothing about national affairs prior to casting their votes, the issue of the HHS mandate -- a fundamental violation of religious liberty -- was widely known. Some Catholic voters were alarmed, and voted accordingly, but not nearly enough to cause a difference in outcome. 

Blame? There's plenty to go around. But finger-pointing at this moment in time is useless and a waste of time. It's just as useless as another eloquent column written in defense of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution and the discriminatory targeting of conservative, pro-life, pro-marriage groups by the IRS.  

Archbishop Chaput points out that these violations are not isolated instances:

"Coupled with the White House's refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion."

What exactly does the Archbishop mean when he says these issues will not be "worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead"? He means that Catholics and all people of faith must embrace a new paradigm of evangelizing the culture. The paradigm of exerting influence by making arguments in the public square, first exemplified by the late Father Richard Neuhaus, must be supplemented by a paradigm of activism

Activism can take many forms, from filing law suits and investigative reporting to public demonstrations, TV/radio messaging, and grassroots political action. But the bottom line is this: the threat to religious liberty, to our families, and our national heritage cannot be conducted from an arm chair. Those pundits who spend day after day in front of a computer, questioning the moral and theological purity of those who are actually making a difference by being "out on the street," need to think less and act more. To be brutally honest, what they are saying about the culture wars has been repeated ad nauseam for decades.

Archbishop Chaput's column is entitled "Religious Freedom and The Need to Wake Up." He could have also added "To Get Up" out of those comfortable chairs where the world looks so simple, so black and white.  Will we "sleep through the national discussion of religious liberty" the Archbishop warns against?  Are we another generation of "sleepwalkers" who led to the holocausts of the first two world wars? (It's time to rediscover Herman Broch's great 1931 novel The Sleepwalkers with its narrative description of the disintegration of values leading to WWII).

Catholics who call themselves "conservative," "orthodox," or "pro-life" are often heroic, tireless, and generous, but many suffer from a common ailment: They talk too much and when they talk they say the same thing over and over again.  It's called "preaching to the choir." 

There is no one simple solution to Archbishop Chaput's rallying cry: There are a myriad of activist opportunities begging for bodies and support, from the Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance for Marriage to Live Action and the Alliance Defending Freedom.  No doubt more organizations and new leadership will be jumping into the breach.

Please become one of those who are acting in the public square in defense of the Church and our nation. Otherwise, we will wake up one day in the future, and what we considered could have never happened in our nation will be a fait accompli. (I deliberately use the French for "accomplished fact" because the French never believed that Hitler would occupy their beloved Paris.)

-----
Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D, is president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine. He is the Senior Correspondent for Church and Culture and a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More U.S.

REVENGE KILLING: Two New York City policemen gunned down in cold blood - revenge believed to be motive Watch

Image of Officers Liu and Ramos were working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill in Bedford-Stuyvesant before 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon when they were shot point-blank in the head by lone gunman 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who later shot and killed himself.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Without apparent rhyme or reason - NYPD Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were gunned down in cold blood as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. "No warning, no provocation - they were quite simply assassinated, targeted for their ... continue reading


Defending cop killers? Why is New York's mayor infuriating America Watch

Image of New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio has stirred up a national and major controversy for his criticisms of the NYPD.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The long-standing tensions between the mayor of New York City and the NYPD seems about to come to a head, following a Sunday appearance by Mayor Bill de Blaisio at St. Patrick's Cathedral where a mourning service was held for two officers who were killed in ... continue reading


The Assassination of Two Police Officers in New York Reveals a City at a Crossroads Watch

Image of One of the officers, Rafael Ramos, was 40 years old, happily married and leaves behind his wife and two sons. The other officer, Wenjin Liu, was 32 years old and married only two months.

By Keith A. Fournier

The flames that fueled this lunacy were fanned by a Mayor who repeatedly and irresponsibly touted a racial narrative which attributed racial bias to the Police as he led this City through recent altercations between some police officers and some citizens. It was ... continue reading


The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, ... Read More

Psalm, First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Chaeromon
December 22: Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter