Opposing the Sexual Revolution Requires Freedom

FORTNIGHT-LORI

In a recent Crisis magazine column, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse—a valued leader in the pro-marriage and family movement—contends that “religious liberty arguments aren’t working” in the effort to retain marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In fact, she says the religious liberty argument in the marriage arena “weakens our case.” Instead, Dr. Morse argues, we should “argue against the Sexual Revolution because it has hurt people.”

Her points are not without merit. To be sure, religious liberty arguments are hardly the only ones to be raised in the marriage battle, and the sexual revolution has indeed hurt people far and wide. But, taken together, these realities don’t add up to a good case for abandoning religious liberty advocacy. Freedom is a message that can and does resonate with audiences, but most importantly, freedom is a reality without which opponents of the sexual revolution simply won’t be allowed to exist.

American Audiences Identify with Freedom
Dr. Morse makes a point worth noting: some ways of arguing about religious liberty are perceived as appealing to “our” interests at the expense of the audience.

This is correct and profound, but it’s a reason to argue about freedom in a different way—a way that actually explains the heart of religious freedom better than we have done.

If you ask Americans, “Should the government force people to…” on nearly any issue, you will get high rates of opposition. This is increasingly true with the rise of libertarian ideas, including among non-religious people. And it is demonstrated by same-sex marriage and abortion advocates themselves, who emphasize freedom and choice in their own messages.

Religious freedom needs to be explained in this context. All the recent disputes about religious freedom laws involve two sides: One side wants more freedom to live and let live; the other side wants to use the government to coerce and punish people simply because they don’t want to assist someone else’s sex-related decisions. That agenda must be opposed, and that involves educating people on the good of religious freedom and how necessary it is to a free society.

Freedom Protects Our Audience, Not Just Our Constituents
Coercion takes away the freedom to choose. That’s a key point in helping religious freedom laws to resonate with audiences. Is it really necessary to allow the government to punish people simply because they choose to abide by their religious beliefs?

In the pro-life context, I have urged the same point about going beyond self-serving arguments. The reason that health care conscience rights—including the right not to assist with abortions—are important is not primarily to benefit doctors. Conscience laws give patients the freedom to choose doctors who share their values.

When Planned Parenthood and the ACLU want to force doctors to perform abortions, they are really calling for all pregnant women to have their babies delivered by abortionists of one sort or another, and denying women their choice to deliver in a religious hospital.

The group Compassion and Choices is similarly the enemy of patient choice when it pressures doctors and pharmacists to assist suicides. This would force all cancer patients to receive care from people they believe are “death doctors,” who just as gladly offer killing instead of healing.

This is also true in the marriage debate. In Indiana, if social workers are deemed to be “discriminating” because they cannot help a couple who intend to raise a child without a mom or a dad, that isn’t just an offense to the social worker. Indiana’s coercive definition of “discrimination” could deprive many people, 20 percent of whom experience mental health issues, of the ability to choose a counselor that shares their Christian values.

Even the so-called “separation of church and state” backfires on advocates of coercion. Opponents of religious freedom laws literally want the government to force Americans to participate in religious wedding ceremonies against their beliefs. If that’s not a violation of the Establishment Clause, I don’t know what is.

There is ample reason to believe that the “freedom vs. coercion” message is catching on. A large number of voices in the wake of the Indiana debate have declared that, even though they favor redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships, their side has overreached. They are shocked at the demands to utterly ruin Memories Pizza or the florist Baronnelle Stutzman, who are happy and generous in serving and hiring same-sex attracted people, but simply don’t want to help celebrate a wedding with which they disagree.

Who Will be Left to Oppose the Sexual Revolution?
Dr. Morse urges that the pro-family movement rally to the defense of the victims of the sexual revolution. She is absolutely right. But, although it may sound cliché, we don’t have to choose that argument instead of religious freedom—we must do both.

The ultimate reason we can’t choose between substantive advocacy for the family and the defense of religious freedom is that, without the latter, the former will become prohibited, too.

Without religious freedom, what non-profit groups will be permitted to defend marriage? What Christian professionals will be left to fund them?

What social scientist will be able to publish data highlighting these victims we are to defend? What individual will be able to avoid punishment for turning those facts into a persuasive message?

What cultural enclaves will even be allowed to exist where children can be raised to believe the truth about the family, marriage and the sanctity of life?

The same people and institutions who tolerate the sexual revolution’s victims will gladly punish anyone who speaks up for those victims.

The pro-life movement has indeed seen success in changing cultural attitudes about abortion. But that’s due in no small part to the fact that, in the months after Roe v. Wade, states and the federal government created a broad structure of laws that essentially created a new protected class: pro-life doctors, nurses, and hospitals.

That legal breathing room prevented the extinction of “do no harm” medicine, letting it exist and even thrive. From this baseline, a still vastly outnumbered band of cultural advocates have been able speak persuasive, reliable truth about the preborn child and her mother to the American culture.

Without freedom, especially religious freedom, we won’t be able to oppose the sexual revolution and defend children deprived of moms or dads “instead” of promoting religious liberty. That culture simply will not allow it.

Matt Bowman

By

Matt Bowman is senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which provides legal counsel on state religious freedom laws to legislators nationwide and defends religious freedom in the courts.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Freedom of opinion has been recognised as a fundamental human right, ever since the Declaration of the Rights of Man and is enshrined in every international declaration of human rights I know of. Thus, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights insists that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought…” This is repeated word for word in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Indeed, the jurisprudence of the ECHR speaks of this as an absolute right (the “forum internum”) with which the public authorities cannot interefere, or even investigate. The law must confine itself to actions, not opinions.

    • CadaveraVeroInnumero

      The DRM (as enshrined in the French Revolution or the UN Charter, it matters little) cannot be its own source, its own authority, its own fount of wisdom; it *receives* its admirable phrasing from where (or what). Sine the DRM cannot be sustained only if it refers to itself, from whence is its standard?

      The history of the implementation of the DRM is strung with failures: the French Revolution, the Revolutions of 1830, 1848, 1871. Even Napoleon, ravaging Europe, assumed he was unfurling its sentiments across mounta8isn and dell.

      Without its acknowledgement to a Higher Law than itself, the DRM (however good and right its intentions) lays itself open to be weaponized by forces of tyranny.

      Some Catholic commentators give little care to my next point – for, to them the biggest game in town is faulting the American Experience as a prime example of the great Protestant heresy, with its all-consuming explanatory powers; the point being, the Constitutional History of America is as near-perfect of a steward of liberty has this world will get. This is so because America’s Constitution(al history), unlike the DRM, acknowledges (submits, if you will) to a standard, an authority, a law higher (exterior) to itself. In short, it has a parent. The DRM does not; in fact, it is repulsed by even the notion of it.

      All which the DRM has to put on exhibit is its grubby efforts at positive law. Which today – in Great Britain, Canadm and Europe – is bent on smashing and pulverizing the “freedom of thought” of anyone who disagrees with the dogmas of the Post-Modern State (which, oddly enough, assumes that its repressive actions are implementing the DHR). Just give expression to a single *thought* about the social deprecations of homosexuality or the devastating islamization of European, British, or Canadian society and watch the DRM committed State bludgeon such thoughts from any soap box erected on any square from Vancouver to Vienna.

      The great battle of liberty is to understand (once more) what the American Constitution enshrines, from whence comes its authority.

      Once done I can reopen my bakery and pull the pizza order for Larry & Jack’s “wedding”.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        « En conséquence, l’Assemblée nationale reconnaît et déclare, en présence et sous les auspices de l’Etre Suprême, les droits suivants de l’homme et du citoyen. » [Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen]

        No similar acknowledgement is contained in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights

        • Alexandra

          Here is the opening text of the Swiss constitution, just to give an example:

          Constitution fédérale de la Confédération suisse

          du 18 avril 1999 (Etat le 18 mai 2014)

          Préambule

          Au nom de Dieu Tout-Puissant!

          Le peuple et les cantons suisses,

          conscients de leur responsabilité envers la Création,

          résolus à renouveler leur alliance pour renforcer la liberté, la démocratie, l’indépendance et la paix dans un esprit de solidarité et d’ouverture au monde,

          déterminés à vivre ensemble leurs diversités dans le respect de l’autre et l’équité,

          conscients des acquis communs et de leur devoir d’assumer leurs responsabilités envers les générations futures,

          sachant que seul est libre qui use de sa liberté et que la force de la communauté se mesure au bien-être du plus faible de ses membres.

          Translation: Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation

          of 18 April 1999 (Status May 18, 2014 )

          preamble

          In the name of God Almighty !
          The people and the cantons ,
          aware of their responsibility towards creation ,
          resolved to renew their alliance to strengthen freedom, democracy , independence and peace in a spirit of solidarity and openness to the world,
          determined to live all their diversity with respect for each other and equity,
          conscious of common achievements and their duty to assume their responsibilities towards future generations ,
          knowing that one is free who uses his freedom and that the strength of the community is measured by the welfare of the weakest of its members.

          • Joseph

            Nondescript Deism. Just like our founding texts (whether or not their authors practiced Deism or not.)

        • CadaveraVeroInnumero

          Tell the take of the Supreme Being in the French Revolution. The first act of this Being was its utter severing of all which came before its apotheosis in 1789 (take a few years). It was an invented “deity” called forth for a purpose. This is so regardless of the sincere traditional deistic beliefs of any particular attendee taking the Tennis Court Oath (or any such take a few years after).

          The American Constitution with its Preamble, Bill of Rights, its companion Declaration of Independence (along with George Washington’s foundational addresses) were steeped (embbedded) in Natural Law and orthodox Christianity. The tiresome claim that the writing of the Declaration, the making of the Constitution, and the grounding of the speeches and writing of the Founder, were not – in the end – proves the point that they were by the very tiresome of the claim. And, as the same with the French Revolution (yet the res=verse of it), this was so in spite of any odd idiosyncrasy of any individual person at the time.

          In Paris a Supreme Being had to be invented. In Philadelphia, there was no need.

          Read Gertrude Himmelfarb.

          [Even on this topic, coming to you from the BANKRUPT Diocese of Stockton, the Mother Lode]

    • EB

      But unfortunately our opponents in these matters don’t just want to punish people for simply thinking gay marriage isn’t right, though some of them want to do that. They are saying that we have no right to act in accord with our religion’s belief about marriage (or any belief that doesn’t support gay marriage) in our own private businesses and institutions.

      And that is a violation of religious freedom as traditionally understood in this country, which has always been that you have a right not to be forced to ACT in violation of your sincerely held religious beliefs. It’s not just a freedom to believe a certain way while you hide in a corner out of view, but to act publicly in accord with those beliefs. Others don’t have to agree with you or assist you, but, with some exceptions (like public safety) they cannot force you to act against your beliefs.
      These folks think their cause justifies overriding our religious freedom protections. We strongly disagree.

      Not disagreeing with you, obviously – just expanding on your point.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Isn’t that confusing freedom of opinion or freedom of conscience (which is absolute) with freedom of expression (which is qualified)?

        Thus, Rachida Dati (Minister of Justice and herself a Muslim) said of the law banning the hijab in public schools, “the laïcité of state schools is not restricted, in the case of pupils, to respect for their freedom of conscience: it imposes a duty of restraint on pupils in their behaviour, since they find themselves in a place pertaining to the public sphere. Pupils’ freedom of conscience, which is an internal freedom, in no way gives them ‘the right to express and manifest their religious beliefs’ in educational institutions, for that involves external acts which improperly introduce religion into the public domain of the school.”

  • Of course, the opposite is also true, without freedom there would have been no sexual revolution. That has colored my opinion on freedom quite strongly in the negative.

    • St JD George

      Free will, the greatest blessing and curse given to mankind. I’d argue that through our own collective cowardliness to spread the good news through the garden we’ve been negligent in letting weeds take over. After all, we can sit on the porch and look out over the land imagining how beautiful it could be, but if we don’t get out and put in some elbow grease it will just be a dream and soon the field will be taken over with dandelions, clover and eventually bramble bushes and briar patches, an unpleasant place to visit.

      • In the modern post WWII interpretation, freedom of religion *prevents* people from spreading the good news. After all, what is good news for me, may or may not be good news for you, is the common philosophy- live and let live, don’t worry about your neighbor’s soul, don’t even let him know you think he has one.

        Free will is a fact. Religious freedom is something else entirely.

        • St JD George

          Indeed, the ideal of freedom of religion has been twisted and perverted into the mantra of freedom from religion in the matter of just few decades.

    • GG

      The sexual revolt was an abuse of freedom.

      • Yes, and yet, one easily predictable given a lack of a coherent public morality.

        • St JD George

          “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything.” GKC

        • EB

          That’s a good observation. Our culture today wants to think that all forms of morality (or lack thereof) and all kinds of ideas can somehow be reconciled and the society just run smoothly. Not so. Not everything can work together, especially things that impact the public sphere are precisely opposite of one another.

    • EB

      I understand what you mean, and some of these issues have caused me to question a lot of things that most of the time we Americans take for granted as good things… But I think really what happened in the sexual revolution is partly that a false notion of freedom came in and was accepted by many people. What people call freedom nowadays is actually what used to be called “license”–an exaggerated idea that you can do whatever you want regardless of truth, goodness, etc. I think this is a part of the arguments we need to put forth: that there is such a thing as true freedom, and false freedom. It all goes back to the question of objective truth, and when huge portions of our populace have been brainwashed with the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth, this is a hard sell…

  • lifeknight

    “But, although it may sound cliché, we don’t have to choose that argument instead of religious freedom—we must do both.” Clearly the battle must be fought on ALL fronts. Prolife must also include all aspects of life, including euthanasia AND the fight for marriage between a man and a woman. Such a huge battleground, that the Church Militant must be infused with more warriors.

    Finding those new warriors who are 100% in ALL aspects of the battle is another story.

    • Beth

      Just last night in my 8th grade religious ed class the students were asking questions about ‘gay marriage’, sex outside of marriage, contraception, and abortion. I referenced these recent articles with the both/and ideas that the purpose of sex is to make babies and we must have religious freedom for a free society to exist. They shared with me that in their public school language arts class it was permissible to give a speech on the topic of ‘gay marriage’ and why it should be legal but it was not possible to speak against that topic or give a speech on abortion. “Too controversial” was the reason given.

      It was our last class and I am so sorry that the year is over. These kids asked questions like this every week. They WANT to hear the truth, to understand it, and to know how to defend it. When class was over, several of the boys thanked me and shook my hand. That just doesn’t happen all that often these days. They want the truth. Please remember our young people in all of our prayers.

      • Veritas

        The public school kids want to hear the truth also. Indeed they do! Their instincts on the matter are correct. You play an important role in reversing any false teaching these little saints are getting in their schools. We must remember all of your young people in our prayers.

        • Beth

          Thank you, Veritas! As I was folding laundry a few minutes ago, it began to occur to me to write down all the questions the students have asked throughout the year and bring them to the attention of our pastor. From there maybe we can formulate a plan to help parents have the words to answer these questions for their children.

          • Vinny

            Be careful, speaking the truth from a Catholic perspective may get you in trouble with the Pastor and/or the Bishop.

          • Jennifer Roback Morse Phd

            Beth, we have some stuff on some of the issues. We are in the process of switching over from one website to another. so, the best place to look right now is in the Marriage library, http://www.marriagelibrary.org/ or the old http://www.ruthblog.org
            type in “contraception” into ruthblog and you’ll get an earful!

      • St JD George

        God bless you Beth. Of course that doesn’t surprise me, but still painful to hear personal stories. I’ll freely admit that my experience is insular and limited, but it lines up with what I see and not read as well. Children have an amazing way of seeing through the lies because they know in their souls when things aren’t intrinsically ordered. Unfortunately our society fights to destroy and pervert that innocence. Sadly many grow up to be adults accepting that evil is good and good is evil, or suppress what they know to be good and true out of fear of being persecuted and ridiculed by unbelievers.

        • fredx2

          I’ll never forget the near glee that was exhibited during the AIDS crisis, when they realized this was an opportunity – they simply HAD to insist that condoms be used by all high schoolers, otherwise, they might catch a deadly disease. They were so happy that they could use this excuse to push condom use down everyone’s throat.

          • St JD George

            Some scum once said “never let a good crisis go to waste” to advance your agenda on the unsuspecting. After all, the ends justify the means. They know once they place the noose around your neck and tie your hands behind your back, you’ll be hard pressed to find enough with courage to come and lift it off.

          • Vinny

            I take it no pun was intended.

      • crystal16

        It amazes me that not too long ago, the topic of homosexuality was the topic that was “too controversial.” How quickly and far we have fallen.

        • GG

          So true. It has gone from perversion to celebration to must affirm as good or else. Talk about the spirit of the anti Christ.

        • Vinny

          Actually, it wasn’t controversial at all, it was considered abnormal and disordered.

      • fredx2

        The public schools are used as instruments of indoctrination. Of course they will never say that – they always use the “safety” excuse – “We must teach children to use condoms to keep them safe”. We must teach children the wonderfulness of the gay lifestyle to keep our gay students safe”. As long as they clothe all their ideas as “safety” they have been able to introduce their preferred ideas, no matter how controversial.
        The Safety argument is a false one. They could not care less if you daughter has medical problems because she has been convinced to shut down her naturally working reproductive system. It does not matter to them that introducing chemicals into her body wreaks havoc with many things, It does not matter to them if she picks the wrong man as a result of being on contraception. What matters is that they have included her in their league of contraceptors, and now she is theirs.

        • PaulOfTarsus

          If I understand things correctly, you hold the Protestant position on this..

        • Jennifer Roback Morse Phd

          there is a reason the public schools are so big on indoctrination: once someone is committed to building a society around ideas that are false and inhuman (ie sex does NOT make babies; men and women are interchangeable; kids don’t really need their own parents) that person will need a lot of propaganda to make people believe it and a lot of force to try to make the impossible happen.
          this is where we are today. If you feel weighed down by constant propaganda, you are not correct. you are being constantly barraged by propaganda.

          • Thomas Sharpe

            Public schools are not always that bad and so-called Catholic schools not always that good .
            The Catholic school near me is 11,000 a year , it’s filled with upper-middle-class with one or two children through contraceptives and abortifacients about 40% are not Catholic and the other 60% calling themselves Catholic almost always use contraceptives and abortifacients. Faith is not really taught there except in a watered-down version and the school exists primarily for the purpose of a private education. I would say the only real difference between the school and Planned Parenthood is that one kills children through abortion and the other one only contracepts them out of existence.
            All the families I know that use NFP have three or more children not because NFP doesn’t work but because they are open to life and love children. All of these families either homeschool or run the gauntlet of public school .

  • LHJ

    Great article! It reminded me of this section of Dignitatis Humanae.

    “It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth. However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.”
    Dignitatis Humanae – Pope Paul Vl – 12/7/65
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/v2relfre.htm

    • “provided that just public order be observed.”

      I would argue that since the sexual revolution, it has NOT been observed.

  • publiusnj

    This is a thoroughly anachronistic argument.

    Our boys did fight and die for freedom but they didn’t fight on Normandy Beach for the right to copulate with the boy in the next foxhole, nor for their wife’s, girlfriend’s or casual hookup’s right to kill any children they may have left developing in utero as they went off to war. Likewise, the “Founding Fathers” did not adopt the First Amendment with Unlimited Divorce, Unlimited Abortion, Gay Marriage or even lawful sodomy in mind. Rather, they adopted it simply to prevent a National Establishment of Religion imposed by Congress (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”). State establishments were not prohibited, and aid to all sects (as was the case with sectarian schools until those pesky Catholics came along) did not constitute an “establishment.”

    Now a lot of what I would call “Maximalist” First Amendment case law has floated down the stream of lawmaking since, but much of that has just been the adoption of special pleading that has ignored the real purport of the First Amendment and converted the Amendment’s limited check on the power of the Federal Government into a rallying point for those who want the US to be an amoral polity. We can use the “religious liberty” arguments proponents of the Maximalist view use in an attempt to carve out some tolerance for religionists or we can point out that the Maximalist View has led to nutso results that were never contemplated by the Founding Fathers or the generations that came before us. It is this generation only that has slowly been boiled by the ever more radical decisions of the USSC adopting the Maximalist View of the First Amendment, but boiled it has been. Therefore, this generation needs arguments that radically break with that view not arguments that seek to establish an advocacy exception for “old-fuddy-duddies” who aren’t yet ready for the wholly amoral world that is being brought to us.

  • Vinny

    “Should the government force people to…” and “Is it really necessary to allow the government to punish people simply because they choose to abide by their religious beliefs?” Those who have the power, or power of persuasion (politicians, bureaucrats, media, entertainers, etc.) will adamantly say, “yes.”

  • LHJ

    Instead, Dr. Morse argues, we should “argue against the Sexual Revolution because it has hurt people.”

    This is a very good statement. It kind of falls in the category of restating the obvious as in the quote from George Orwell: “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” When people break the commandments of God unhappiness will always be the result. A loving God instituted His commandments for our benefit. This is a concept unknown to or overlooked by many particularly the non religious. To pursue happiness is to pursue the will of God in your life this is one of the reasons people need to be free. Of course people are free to do what is bad for them but if they do it is their fault not the fault of freedom. Blaming freedom for bad behavior is a lot like blaming food for people being overweight. Many people including myself have suffered from bad behavior in their lives we know the price of believing the lie, at one time I believed God didn’t want any one to have any “fun”. Part of our obligation to future generations is to keep repeating the “obvious” in order to help them avoid our mistakes. Peace be with you,L

    • Jennifer Roback Morse Phd

      LHJ: you sound like my type of person. Check out our new website: we are all over the issue of recovering from those very kind of mistakes you are talking about. If we could enlist all the Victims and Survivors of the Sexual Revolution as allies and advocates: Man, we would have a real army! http://www.ruthinstitute.org

  • GG

    Thanks for a good article. The fundamental problem is moral relativism. It is a true tyranny. It claims to allow “choice”, but does the exact opposite. It forces one’s faulty grasp of reality onto others. It is Nazi-like for sure.

    • Jennifer Roback Morse Phd

      Moral relativism is a problem. If all we have to say in defense of our faith is “the 1st Amendment allows me to practice my faith,” then what is that but a statement of moral relativism? I am saying that it is a MAJOR mistake to play the religious freedom card, without, at the very same time, at every opportunity, defending the substance of what the religion teaches. I’m not saying we should never take a religious liberty case. We should. Matt Bowman certainly should: that is his job! But looking at the Movement as a whole, I have to say: we have spent WAY too much time on religious liberty, relative to defending the substance of the faith.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    As our entire society is ravaged on behalf of tiny and arcane sexual minorities, fundamental principles of ‘the common good’ are trashed almost as an afterthought. The very graphic sexual indoctrination of the young in every sexual paraphilia as well as the jaw-dropping evil of nurturing, spreading and encouraging gender dysfunction even among small children. There is nothing to ‘discuss’ – your children are being ‘groomed’ to be cannon fodder in this ongoing sexual revolution.

  • chrisinva

    Although Notre Dame’s lawyer offered no moral argument for marriage (admittedly, Judge Posner kept rudely interrupting him), moral content must be the foundation of any defense of religious freedom – for Catholics and for everyone else, in any context, including that of the law.

    Without that content, “freedom of religion” becomes an abstraction unhinged from reality (which is truth) and morality (which is also truth).

    That’s where the Church stands today. Our leaders have accepted the positivist notion of “Religious freedom” – not the pre-political, pre-constitutional, permanent reality based on “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

    As a result, we are forced to defend the “dignity of marriage” – now an amputated abstraction – rather than address the fundamental immorality of the “sin that cries out to Heaven for justice,” what St. Catherine and St. Thomas refer to as the “unnatural sin.”

    Utter its three-syllable name (hint: like “sin,” it starts with “s”) and you will be mercilessly attacked as judgmental and worse. So our bishops not only remain silent about it, but Cardinal Dolan actually brags that he has “rarely” preached about it during his (now) 39 years as a priest. (Meet the Press, 12-1-13)

    And the Contraception Mandate? Again, we are not permitted to mention the evil of the contraceptive act. Bishops have had “laryngitis” about the whole sexual revolution, Cardinal Dolan laments (WSJ March 31, 2012).

    So we have been forced to embrace here the malleable, positivist interpretation of “religious freedom” as our standard, not morality – before a Supreme Court that now considers it settled law that “the Constitution is what[ever] we say it is” (New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes, later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, more than a century ago).

    Must Catholics abdicate, and ruefully embrace the notion that our religious liberty really **is** whatever the courts say it is?

    Of course, fine lawyers like Mr. Bowman must abdicate to that standard when practicing before our positivist courts. But must our bishops do so as well?

    Especially since the scandals, our beloved bishops have relied overmuch on lawyers, while, as Cardinal Dolan observes, they have considered sexual morality to be “too hot to handle” (WSJ, ibid.).

    Which has put us right in the bull’s eye of the Culture of Death’s firing squad, disarmed and disconsolate.

    When in June the Supreme Court proclaims that sodomite relationships are of equal status with those reflected in natural (and supernatural) marriage, to what position will our bishops repair for a meaningful response? To the morality of Humanae Vitae that most of them have intentionally ignored for 47 years and counting? Or, perhaps with a sigh, will they continue to substitute for moral truths the thin, comfortable slop of the “Social Justice Welfare State”?

    Every pope since Paul VI has begged bishops, teachers, priests, doctors, and parents to teach the truths of Humanae Vitae. Abdicating before the Leviathan – that “mortal God,” according to Hobbes, who claims the right to decide what religion is, what freedom is, and what “religious freedom” is – that abdication will send whatever faithful Catholics who remain straight into the catacombs.

    Pray for our bishops. Pray hard.

    • Vinny

      We must pray for ourselves being put to the test. Livelihood (job and money) will be taken first then our lives themselves in one way (prison) or another (the coliseum).
      It’s not around the corner but it’s certainly down the road. Though it’s happening much quicker in Africa and the Middle East.

    • Jennifer Roback Morse Phd

      yes pray. but also do something.for instance, you could write a letter to the apostolic nuncio, supporting Archbishop Cordileone. http://www.ruthinstitute.org/ruth-speaks-out/how-you-can-help-archbishop-cordileone

      • Vinny

        It’s ridiculous that the future of a Bishop who proclaims the true teachings of the Church should be influenced AT ALL by letters of support. WHAT HE SAYS is (or should be) all the support he needs both with his peers and superiors.

      • Ann Hessenius

        Yes, pray…AND: Please sign the petition supporting Archbishop Cordileone (no matter where you live, it’s ok to sign) on the website http://www.sfcatholics.org !!!

    • fredx2

      For the first time, it is possible to see the ravages of contraception. Europe is pretty much on the path to committing suicide as a result of contraception. No one day speak the truth, however. But at least we have the example of disappearing Europe (or more properly, Islamizing Europe) to show that yes indeed, contraception has a very severe downside. Morality is morality because it provides a better life in the long run than immorality. We can now see that the “freedom” of contraception was a horrible, cheap, ultimately destructive illusion.

      • Alexandra

        Europe is not disappering neither becoming Muslim. Actually Europe is a continent with diverse cultures and languages, so a generalization of religious and political life in this continent is inaccurate at best.

        • St JD George

          Christianity is dying on the continent Alexandra, faster than in the U.S., with churches closing and minarets rising faster than you may care to believe, or know. Taqiyya takes time.

          • Alexandra

            Hi St JD George: I don’t think it is accurate. We are all living in a post Christianity era, it began in the late 19th century but it became most evident in the mid 60s. We have pockets of Catholicism, Protestantism here and there just like in North America. The difference here is that there is no real oppositions or liberal x radical as in the USA. Here one is either a practicing religious or not, no one cares. Also, there is no real rush to legalize this or that as in the USA. It is a sad situation one way or the other, but Christianity will never die, we have Jesus’ words that his Church will remain. We also have vibrant Catholic communities, I to belong to one of them, so not all churches are empty, it depends of where you are. I travel a lot in Europe, I am here studying at Louvain and I had a similar view before I came but I am gladly surprised.

            • Alexandra

              Apologies: I meant to say that Christianism will never die.

            • St JD George

              It’s impossible to make generalizations applied to a whole continent for sure, and Europe has been a melting pot as well. I lived in Germany for four years a long time ago, and in Italy for a year recently, and still have friends there. I can tell that there is a mass migration going of people who do not wish to assimilate into the culture of Europe, but look forward to the day when Europe acquiesces.

        • Joseph
          • Alexandra

            Dear Joseph, come to Europe, travel here and see for yourself. It is not that easy to stay for someone that does not hold an European passport. Even if one succeeds in staying for reasons of studying, some countries such as Switzerland will not give a work visa unless the person proves to be highly skilled, no matter how many signed contracts one has. Also, family reunion works for a time, say in teh case of an asylum seeker, but he will have to prove he acquired knowledge of the culture and local language and holds a job, this is the case in Germany. It is easily verifyable.

    • David

      Here here.

  • Thomas Sharpe

    Every week at Mass there is mention of “religious liberty” in the Prayer of the Faithful, and never a mention of widespread contraception, divorce, fornication and other sexual immoralities. Never a sermon on any immoralities. One is left wondering if contraception is just like eating pork or shellfish. So much lukewarmness, never wishing to offend with the truth.

    Did not the Lord say “I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

    • Joseph

      Most preachers do not preach the Roman Catholic faith. If they did, their congregations would be in shock, and the numbers would fall by half quickly, as most ‘cultural Catholics’ would flee. Over time, more believers would be drawn to the church, and membership would double. So even if the net gain is 0, the church in a few years would be filled with truer believers. Those who find even the basic truths of Roman Catholicism off-putting would be gone. They might find another liberal Catholic church (sanctuary that looks like a Marriott lobby, music that sounds like a high school musical, priest costumed in robes made by Maria von Trapp out of drapes, etc.) Or more likely, they will let Sunday brunch will replace Sunday mass. Bread and wine (Body and Blood) replaced by waffles and mimosas (waffles and mimosas).

      Many Catholics misleadingly think of Jesus as a touchy-feelie hippie rather than as the inspiration of the strict and clear Catechism of the Catholic Church. Once they discover this through clear preaching, half will run, with the vain hope in the back of their mind that even if they flee, a deathbed conversion will save them like the prodigal son or the vineyard worker who works the final hour.

    • maria

      Not many in this section are thinking of God. Its pitiful! The homosexual people have made this issue as important as breathing. If one reads the Holy Bible it will tell you just what is right and what is wrong…..Anyone that knows it is sin and commits it, will surely face GOD on that judgement day. We will all be judged by GOD!!

  • St JD George

    War of the sexes: Gender theory is the problem, not solution, pope says

    By Carol Glatz
    Catholic News Service

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Eradicating male and female identities does nothing to solve the problem of unfair or disrespectful treatment based on people’s gender, Pope Francis said.

    “Getting rid of the difference is the problem, not the solution,” he said April 15 during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

    The right way to solve the problems and conflicts in male-female relations is to have men and women “talk to each other more, listen to each other more, know each other better, care more for each other,” he said.

    The pope continued a series of general audience talks about the family by beginning the first of two talks on “the difference and complementarity between men and women.” He said the two talks would serve as the foundation for two later talks dedicated to the sacrament of marriage.

    At the end of the audience, Pope Francis personally greeted the husband and a daughter of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under Pakistan’s controversial laws against blaspheming Islam. Bibi’s family came to Rome as part of a campaign to rally international support for her release.

    In his main audience talk, Pope Francis said that when God created humanity in his image, he did so for man and woman together, “as a couple,” in a state of sharing and harmony.

    Sexual differentiation, therefore, exists not for creating conflict or a situation of subordination, but for reciprocity and fruitfulness — “for communion and generation, always in the image and likeness of God,” the pope said.

    “We are made to listen to each other and help each other,” he said. “We can say that without mutual enrichment in this relationship — in thinking and action, in feelings and work, even in faith — the two can’t even understand fully what it means to be a man and woman.”

    Modern culture has done much to open up a new and deeper understanding of men and women, “but it also has introduced many doubts and much skepticism,” he said.

    “For example, I wonder if so-called gender theory may not also be an expression of frustration and resignation that aims to erase sexual differentiation because it no longer knows how to come to terms with it,” the pope said.

    With gender theory, which argues that male and female characteristics are largely malleable social constructs, he said, “we risk going backward.”

    “God entrusted the earth to the covenant between man and woman: its failure drains the world of affection and obscures the heavens of hope,” he said.

    There are many “worrying” signs of the failure to live out God’s original plan of reciprocity and harmony, he said, as he pointed out two things that “I think we have to commit ourselves to with greater urgency.”

    “The first: It is beyond question that we have to do much more in favor of women,” such as making sure “that women not only are listened to more, but that their voice carries real weight, (is) an acknowledge authority in society and the church,” he said to applause.

    A powerful guiding light, the pope said, is “the way in which Jesus considered women,” especially in a social and historical context that was much “less favorable than ours” and in which women “were really in second place.”

    Humanity has gone only “a tiny way” along the path God wants everyone to take, he said.

    “We still have not grasped fully the things that the feminine genius can give us, what society and we can be given by women who know how to see things with another pair of eyes that complement men’s ideas. It is a path to take with more creativity and audacity,” he said to more applause.

    The second thing that needs urgent attention, the pope said, is to see “if the collective crisis of faith in God, which is very harmful to us — afflicting us with resignation, skepticism and cynicism — may not be linked to this crisis of the covenant between men and women.”

    In fact, it is said that “communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and that the loss of faith in the heavenly Father generates division and conflict between men and women.”

    Pope Francis said the church and all Catholics carry a great responsibility in “rediscovering the beauty of the Creator’s plan.”

    Men and women “must treat each other with respect and friendly cooperation,” and once this proper basis is created with God’s grace, solid marriages and families can be built, he said.

    “I would like to urge intellectuals to not abandon this subject, as if it had become secondary to the task of promoting a freer and more just society,” he said.

  • St JD George
  • M.J.A.

    Chicago’s Daley Plaza has a large Vilnius Image ; has often wondered what have been the impact of using freedom , to step forward and do what The Lord has asked us to do , even when rationality might have doubts .
    God gave us free will, so that using that freedom, we can enter into a true relationship with God , that is not contrived or manipulated – we to belong to God ..and the infinite , almighty , holy God , loving and humble enough to be ours !
    ‘ My Lord and My God ‘ – Thomas would have had the focus , not only on the truth of the Godliness ..but , on the ‘ My .’…
    All God given freedom is meant to promote that relationship and to protect against what threatens same , leading to the slavery to the enemy .
    St.Thomas More stood up for that freedom and against those who wanted to take same away from a whole nation, the freedom to be with those who chose to be in God ordained relationships in The Church .
    May be the St.Thomas More Society and few other like minded groups could have a
    project whereby , large banners of the Divine Mercy ( may be 3 banners , in a triangular format ) to be held and even in procession around places such as the Supreme Court , as our own manner of giving honor to God , asking for pardon on all ungodly laws that have contributed to confusion about what freedom is about , a project to continue indefinitely , to spread to all state capitals , also as a good witness for our young people to be involved in , along with other charitable programs in nearby locations .
    A nation that proclaims that we trust in God ..a God who has given us freedom , to use that trust , by wanting to enter into holy relationships, freeing oneself and who ever else The Lord wants us to , to bring to The Father’s mercy , thus being set free , in order to be His and He theirs , in truth and holiness , that to include the families and family lines of those who are in the forefront of decision making , those who have been and are to affected – ‘have mercy on us and the whole world !’
    Like in the incident of the 5 loaves and fish , who knows what The Lord might do, with even a seemingly small start !
    God bless !

  • steve5656546346

    Freedoms are not absolute: as long as the measuring stick for freedom is secular values, people will continue to value freedom…just not our freedom….

  • My Take:
    Why do so many of our elected and appointed officials ignore and/or reject our NC
    Constitution on (y)our social issues?

    Mostly Democrats and a few appalling Republicans forced ObamaCare legislation down our
    throats. Now they are attempting to force us to accept same-sex marriage, homosexuality,
    lesbian activity, transgender common bathrooms, other LGBT activity, etc. for their own immoral, sick, and illegal activity; all against our NC Constitution and our Holy Bible.

    “The North Carolina Constitution provides that “[a]ll persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority should, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience” (Article I, Section 13).’

  • David

    There is no such thing as freedom. And we should not play this sick game by demanding ours. Of course people are not “free” to do a great number of things in any society that has ever existed. And of course people should not be winked at when they commit mortal sins. Least of all by their government. What matters is what is true and right. Within that there is unlimited freedom. The freedom of Christ. What we need is a virtuous king who, in submission to the Pope, will stand on two feet and tell people what real freedom is. Freedom is to be free from bondage to sin. Any discussion as equals with sodomites and baby killing mutants equals a lost argument, and means destruction for civilization. The day is coming when the libertines will sing the pledge of allegiance while dancing around the funeral pyres of our childrens families. We need a plan for total victory. And that will take generations.

  • Ruth Rocker

    The attack on religious freedom should be viewed in a larger context. The opponents of allowing people to live and act by the dictates of their conscience and religious beliefs have a much wider agenda. Just like the gaystapo claims to want the right to “marry” and freedom from discrimination, what they are truly after is the ability to force anyone who disagrees with their sinful lifestyle to violate their belief system and participate in sin along with them. At the deepest level, they know what they are doing is sinful and wrong, but since misery loves company, they want to drag everyone down to their level instead of renouncing their sin. Attacks on religious freedom are more about restricting free speech than on religion. If you state, clearly and calmly, that you believe that someone with SSA is a child of God and should receive all the respect that anyone else does, everyone applauds. If, however, you step over the PC line and also state, clearly and calmly, that homosexual actions are sinful and disordered, now you are called a bigot or a homophobe (which is a silly made up word) and a hater. The people who believe there is nothing abnormal with the method in which the gaystapo engage in sexual activity are the same people who most likely put jigsaw puzzles together with a hammer. The pieces don’t fit together naturally so they have to be forced. Isn’t it interesting that this aspect of the homomafia’s “love” campaign is kept so incredibly quiet?

    Unless the American people stand up and loudly decry the attacks on our liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, we will lose our liberty. I pray it’s not too late to turn that tide.

  • Margaret Costello

    The entire premise of this article is a fallacy. What you are describing is not authentic “freedom” but license. True freedom is the ability to know the difference between right and wrong and the ability to choose what is right. What we consider “religious freedom” today is a farce. It’s religious pluralism in that all religions are seen as equal in value and thus have a “right” to sit at the table in this culture. Pluralism denies the objective truth that there is only ONE true religion (the Catholic Church based in Tradition/SS/Magis) and thus the chaos we see now. So every time you hear the word “freedom” you’re hearing a lie. The true word is license, which leads to the chaos and destruction we see now. Read Christopher Ferrara’s book “Liberty: the god that failed.” It exposes what’s really going on and gives the solution the Catholic Church has espoused for hundreds of years. God bless~

  • John Flaherty

    I’m afraid I mostly disagree with the views stated in this article.
    Most important, I felt that the previous article argued against relying on “religious freedom” arguments because “religious freedom” will effectively have no worthwhile meaning if we don’t also make the case for why we publicly condemn this or that sort of behavior.

    If we only make the case for morals on grounds of religious freedom, we’ve already effectively surrendered the public square to the idea that we all should be held accountable to secular ideas. If we’re only allowed to state revealed Truth while conveniently packed in our churches and homes, we’d only be very slightly improved from Poland during most of John Paul II’s life. In other words, we’d be only very little different from the state of being under communist rule.

    If we don’t make an equally strong case for why abortion, gay marriage, and other social ills are pure evil based on their own merits, we can be easily dismissed as a mob of cranky, ignorant knaves. We’d be considered maybe worthy of fawning over the pope now and then, but definitely not a group of people with a substantial cause for exercising public influence.
    Certainly not anyone who should be allowed to cast a well-informed vote as a citizen.

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