Two Different Worldviews: The HHS Mandate Presents a Teachable Moment
sovereignty of God."
Huckabee and Beck and others like them are on board in support of the Catholic Bishops because what is involved here is an American matter. It involves the American soul.
No, it goes beyond that. It is a human matter, the human soul, since it involves human politics, human law, and human governance wherever and whenever they may be found.
Traditionally, the West--influenced by Christianity--divided history into B.C. and A.D. We must also remember that politics is divided into B.C. and A.D. There is a politics before Christ. There is a politics after Christ.
The liberal secularists who want to found their politics on "emancipated man" want to go back to the time of politics B.C., when Caesar was all there was. The only difference is that Caesar's imperium--instead of being tied to the will of one man--is tied, often just by fiction, to the will of many. But whether it is one Caesar or many Caesars, if Caesar is all there is, it is tyranny all the same.
Though Christ was not a political leader, and though the New Testament is not a political document, what the Son of God did while on earth changed politics forever. He unhinged it from God. Something utterly new, utterly freeing, utterly emancipatory happened when Jesus rejected the blandishments of Satan in the Third Temptation and refused--for his part and on the part of his Body the Church--all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. How did this emancipation from the earthly powers come? By worshiping the Lord God of Israel, and serving him alone. (Matt. 4:8-10) This, of course, meant also keeping the natural law which is reflected in the Ten Commandments and in the love of God and love of neighbor. (Matt. 22:37-40)
In unhinging the Church from any State, Christ hardly intended to make the Church a pawn of the State. Quite the contrary. He rejected any suggestion that Caesar was divine. "Render to Caesar those things that are Caesar"--one of which things was Caesar's vain claim to divinity--"and to God those things that are God's." (Matt. 22:21)
What is it that Christ, through his acts and through is teachings, wrought in politics? It is what Eric Voegelin in his The New Science of Politics called the "de-divinization of the temporal sphere of power." This "de-divinization" of politics is one of Jesus Christ's great gifts, though Caesar has never been happy with it because it comes at his expense. Centuries before the First Amendment, there was separation of Church and State, and it finds its principle, it seed in the Gospels.
There would have been no First Amendment without the Gospels. There would have been no First Amendment without Christ. The rights of the First Amendment are not something the State gives to us. The rights of the First Amendment are something God gave to us. It is doubtful pagan man would have come to this awareness without the revelation of Christ.
There are two other things that may be learned from this skirmish.
First, one ought not to be misled by the federal government's use of such innocuous or clinical terms such as "preventive care" and "women's health." Any person who suggests that pregnancy is an illness which requires "preventive care"--i.e., contraception, sterilization, and abortion--stands outside the world of reality, what is, and has his feet planted in the world of ideology, what one wants regardless of what is. And ideology, not reality, is exactly what drives the liberal secularist.
Second, we should recognize that there was, and is, grave danger in allowing a government that believes in "emancipated man" and disdains the "kingdom of God" and any "limitation of all earthly powers by the sovereignty of God" to make decisions on behalf of all of us when it comes to health care, or anything else for that matter. It is not necessarily a good to have Caesar oblivious to the limits of his power involved in health care. It in fact presents a very grave danger.
In this regard, it is salutary to remember that the pagan Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate, when he sought to overthrow the Christian Church, established hospitals and orphanages and other charitable institutions-and diverted to them considerable monies from the public treasury.
Julian established these pagan institutions to rival those of the Church. But Julian's ultimate aim was not to help his people. Julian's aim was to go back to politics B.C.
What, in summary, is to be learned in this teachable moment? That there is a politics B.C. and a politics A.D. That the former believes in "emancipated man," and the latter in "the kingdom of God and upon the limitation of all earthly powers by the sovereignty of God." That there are those who always want to go back from a politics A.D. to a politics B.C., and this we must resist.
That, in advocating "emancipated man," the liberal secularists are touting a philosophy or ideology that is foreign to the better angels of our political traditions. That the American Bishops, in making their stand, are soundly within the best of our American political traditions. And finally, that at this most important skirmish between two views of the world and political life, we the Christian faithful, ought to stand behind, or better, arm-in-arm, with our vanguard Bishops
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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: secularism, liberal secularism, radical secularism, Hobeesian, Catholic Social Doctrine, HHS Mandate, Andrew Greenwell
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