Compelled to Defend the Catholic Church

This appeared in the Argus Leader on March 23, 2012 as a Guest Editorial, and since it is no longer available on their website, I have posted it here.

         Ever since the Department of Health and Human Services mandated that the Catholic Church provide its employees with artificial birth control, the priest at my parish has been quite vocal in his distaste for and opposition to the mandate. On Sunday, March 4, his homily was longer and louder than normal in his opposition to the mandate. He encouraged the faithful to rise up against the government’s infringement upon our rights. As I sat there listening to him, I felt called to stand up for the Church. I decided then and there that simply posting on Facebook and Twitter is not enough. I believe it to be my duty to stand up for the truth and the truth is this: this mandate is threat to the well being of our nation.

This mandate violates the First Amendment to our Constitution. The amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It makes no mention of the separation of Church and State. That idea comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, who, by the way, had nothing to do with the writing of the Constitution, to the Danbury Baptist Association. That statement is not law. It was never the intention of the Founding Fathers that the government and religion be separate. As Patrick Henry said in 1776, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.” Another signer of the Declaration of Independence had this to say on the moral foundation of our country: “The only foundation for a republic is…religion. Without it there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty.” It causes me great concern when our President tells us that not only are matters of faith and politics to be completely separate, but also the consciences of Catholics are to be violated. This situation should concern Americans of all belief systems. If they can tell Catholics to violate their consciences, what is to stop them from forcing you to violating yours?

Those of you reading this that agree with me I encourage you to stand up as well. We are at a crossroads in our nation’s history. If we do not speak up now, our country could permanently change for the worse. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1781, “(c)an the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the

people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Our nation is heading dangerously fast towards a society of completely secularism. That would be tragic.

Lastly, I write to lukewarm Catholics, those Catholics who are not outraged by the mandate. Why are you not outraged by this? If they can tell us that we must violate our conscience on the issue of artificial birth control, what is to stop them from forcing us to violate our conscience on other issues? If you disagree with the Church’s teaching on contraception, I encourage you to read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” and The Catechism of the Catholic Church. You may find the 2,000 year-old Church founded by Jesus Christ himself is right and you are wrong.

The Church is under attack. If you think that the Catholic Church will roll over and let this mandate change our views, you are sorely mistaken. May I remind you that many people have died defending the Catholic faith. It would be unwise for the Obama administration to carry out this mandate. The archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George has warned that if this mandate is carried out, Catholic hospitals and schools will be forced to close. We will not back down.

Alex HeyComment