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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

Obama spends an alarming $3 billion on Obamacare WITHOUT Congressional approval Watch

Image of President Obama's administration is being accused of illegally spending money on Obamacare without Congressional approval.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Treasury Department may be moving forward with Obamacare regardless of Congressional concerns and a lack of funding, approving a $3 billion payment to health insurers despite the fact that Congress has not authorized any payments in annual ... continue reading


Obama Administration as Global Advocate for Radical LGBTI Agenda

Image of Randy Berry

By Keith A Fournier

Robert Reilly is right. The Obama administration is doing profound damage to the very understanding of human rights. We have fundamental human rights precisely because we are human persons. No-one should support the denial of truly fundamental human rights for ... continue reading


Climate change - WHERE IT HURTS: Scientists say warming will hit nation's agricultural heartland Watch

Image of The climate change panel's verdict came as a bit of a surprise: Greenhouse-gas emissions played a substantial role in Europe's misery, but not so much in California.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are very few positive things to result from climate change. Researchers now say that warmer temperatures will hit America where it counts: the nation's agricultural heartland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers presented their latest findings ... continue reading


WITCHES ARE BACK: Witchcraft reappears in today's popular mainstream culture in unexpected ways Watch

Image of Witches are seen in both religion and as a feminist symbol.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The idea of the witch is making its rounds through history again. Females, both young and old, are embracing the power that comes with the feminist witch in today's society. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a recent twitter post, popular female rapper, Azealia ... continue reading


Alaska lights up as it become the third U.S. state to legalize marijuana Watch

Image of Twenty-three states still prohibit cannabis outright. The other U.S. states have either legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized marijuana possession.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The state of Alaska is lighting up in celebration... following Colorado's lead, Alaska has become the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Voters passed the Alaska Marijuana Legalization ballot measure last ... continue reading


The Air Force pulls a B-52 from the 'Boneyard,' and you won't believe what they did with it next Watch

Image of A B-52, one of the largest and most effective bombers in the world.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in aircraft's history, the U.S. Air Force has brought a B-52 bomber back to life from the Boneyard of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nicknamed "Ghost Rider," this 53-year-old bomber had ... continue reading


Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Chair of St. Peter and the Role of the Pope

Image of

By Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

The doctrine of infallibility, then, is derived from the principle of apostolic succession and from the fact that Jesus Christ promised His presence to His apostles when He sent them forth to teach all the nations (cf. Mt 28:20).  The Pope and the bishops in ... continue reading


'I don't know' whether Obama is a Christian, Governor Scott K. Walker of Wisconsin says Watch

Image of Governor Scott Walker declined to weigh in on Rudolf Giuliani's characterization of the president's patriotism and background.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When reporters asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker about U.S. President Barack Obama's religious affiliation, he said, "I don't know." Considered a possible Republican candidate for the presidency in 2016, Walker said he was not aware of Obama's faith.  ... continue reading


Fifty Shades of Madness: No Gray Area Here

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

I can't say it any better than the Dowager Countess of Grantham: Have we all stepped through the looking glass? Yes, I'm afraid that collectively, as a culture, we have indeed. We no longer seem to recognize the plainly absurd as absurd. Up is down; out is in; ... continue reading


15 'mortifying disasters' every '90s girl experienced Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Growing up in the '90s was full of iced-tips, crop tops, died hair, Spice Girls and boy bands. Being a girl growing up in the '90s, certain disastrous things could happen that would leave you "mortified." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) With some help from BuzzFeed, ... 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, Deuteronomy 26:16-19
16 'Yahweh your God commands you today to observe ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 5:43-48
43 'You have heard how it was said, You will love ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 28th, 2015 Image

St. Hilary, Pope
February 28: Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in ... 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