An editorial writer in Kalamazoo goes to Mass on Sunday, receives Communion, then goes to work on Monday morning and writes an editorial applauding gay marriage. On another Monday or Tuesday some time back, a Catholic in Kalamazoo wrote an editorial supporting late-term abortion.
What’s going on here? Religious hypocrisy? Something far worse. Something that can befall any of us.
Unless we are cloistered sisters or monks, most of us actually are living under two religions. One is Catholicism. The other is a state-sponsored civic religion, known variously as political correctness, diversity, inclusiveness, or (pardon the fundamentalist expression) secular humanism.
The Constitution forbids the establishment of an official national religion, but we’ve gotten around that by instilling in our society a set of values masquerading as non-religious ones. This is done mainly through the media, which plays to its own audience for approval, ignoring people of faith as if we weren’t even there.
The media now say Christians aren’t just against abortion, but against “abortion rights,” as if these were morally legitimate rights. Religious issues that were once the province of the Church have been hijacked and renamed “social” issues, so that Christians defending their religion can be accused of trying to force their “religious” views on “society.”
Here is how the civic religion forces its values on people of faith:
Take “tolerance” as a universal value. Under the civic religion, we can all appeal for tolerance regardless of our faith or lack of it. But tolerance has limits, and under the rules of our national religion, we are not supposed to tolerate people who are “intolerant” – such as real-life Christians who dare to take their Church’s values into the workplace.
Or take “equality.” God surely loves us all, regardless of race, gender, class, or even the perverse sexual proclivities that one hasn’t yet acted upon. But the cleverly labeled “Marriage Equality Act” would have us believe that “equality” is some magic powder that you can sprinkle out of a salt shaker – and that some of us have hogged too much “equality” – and that we can just shake out more of that angel dust for those who were shortchanged, to make us all “equally equal.”
Sounds like George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” in which the pigs declared that in their animal democracy “some animals are more equal than others.” Sure, these are both flimflam misuses of the word “equal” – but now it has become an official tenet of the national religion. Christian “pleasers of men” (Galatians 1:10) can be so gullible for going along with it.
So, what’s your religion?
All right, some of us have an issue or two with our Church. ‘They closed the wrong parish, or, ‘priests should be allowed to marry.’ But nothing quite urgent enough, at the moment, to make us want to leave.
But how do we know when we’ve crossed the line from being a lukewarm Catholic to being an outright enemy of Christ? Thumbing your nose at God is a lot more serious than thumbing your nose at the Church.
Among the seven themes of social justice of the Catholic Church, none are more important than preserving the value of one human life and of the family. If you think the Catholic Church is wrong about sex outside marriage, about abortion, and about homosexual activity, chances are it’s wrong about a whole lot of other things. Could be time for you to look for another church and another god.
Once upon a time, people who disagreed with basic Christian teachings would find a church more to their personal preference. No more. Now they return to their old pew, once a week, determined to have it both ways: (a) faithfully getting their ticket punched at Mass and (b) looking for ways of insinuating their secular values into parish life. They’re sure to find like-minded “pewsters” to talk it up with.
Our established civic religion insists on separation of Church and state. But now we have a president who thought he could force Catholic colleges to pay for insurance to cover condoms and morning-after pills for their students, encouraging the practice of free sex, even on campus, in violation of our religion.
Our bishops rose up in arms, but where were our Catholic lay people? Even Catholics who disagree with the Church should be outraged at this boldfaced assault by the president of the United States. He finally backed down, waved his magic wand and said the insurance companies should pay for it, but they will only pass on the cost in higher premiums.
We Catholics can speak up in the secular arena without having to quote the catechism regarding marriage values. Any secular person should know that when a friendship suddenly becomes sexual, it isn’t a friendship anymore. Ask anybody who’s ever accidentally, after a drinking party, fallen into bed with their bosom buddy (of either gender).
This genie can’t be squeezed back into the bottle once it’s been released by the wrong couple. Don’t call it love. People who truly love each other don’t exploit each other’s sexual weakness.
The genie won’t go back into the bottle because marital sex was designed by God to draw a man and woman together for the rest of their lives, so they can share emotional fulfillment and become co-creators of the human race. This used to sound awesome to Catholics.
We can also speak up against abortion in the secular arena without quoting our catechism about the spiritual consequences of taking one little human life. Just look around and see what we’ve done to ourselves here on Earth: Social Security is under-funded, mainly because not enough workers have been born since 1973 to pay into it for today’s retirees. Medicare is in even worse shape. Our national debt exceeds our entire annual gross national product, and nothing meaningful is being done to stop it from growing.
But look at where America would be today if those 50 million aborted babies had been born since 1973. According to the National Right to Life Committee:
(1) 17.2 million more people would be employed, earning nearly $400 billion a year. Don’t ask where those jobs would come from. Jobs are created out of need in the workplace. Those children weren’t born, so today our economy doesn’t need to expand to serve another 50 million people. This isn’t about judging anyone, or about denying the anguish a woman goes through with an unwanted pregnancy. This is about the real consequences of Christians attending church one day a week while embracing the national religion the other six days.
(2) Those unborn workers could be contributing $47.5 billion to Social Security and $11.1 billion to Medicare out of their pay checks today. Plus untold billions more in income tax.
(3) Today we have barely three workers paying taxes to support Social Security and Medicare for one individual recipient. By the year 2030, only 2.2 workers will be doing so. But if the 50 million had been born, we would have 2.7 workers supporting those programs by 2030 for each recipient. That would have been 22.7 percent more workers.
Even if we adjust these figures to account for infant mortality and the cost of welfare to support some of those babies, the numbers are utterly staggering. Mass abortions since 1973 have resulted in parents not shopping for bottles, diapers, toys, clothing and school supplies for 50 million children.
Because we became “pleasers of men” instead of Christ, our nation has fewer teaching jobs, manufacturing jobs, and health care jobs to serve those 50 million missing Americans. Just think of it: 50 million fewer consumers of cars, houses, and other goods that could have been produced, keeping factories humming and construction buzzing.
No, this isn’t about boosting capitalism. It’s about “sowing and reaping” (Proverbs 22:8). Because of the legalization of abortion and homosexual marriage that our courts and legislatures have forced on us, we become complicit by not protesting and simply feeling too embarrassed to defend our beliefs in public life. It’s as if we’re ashamed to say what we know Jesus would have said about such abominations.
If an enemy had wiped out 50 million Americans, out economy would collapse and it would have been an act of war. If we’d known in 1973 that we’d have only 300 million Americans today, we should have gradually slowed down our spending and borrowing in line with a reduced growth in population and taxes coming in.
We pray daily for our economy to recover, but this may be just the beginning of our troubles. It’s time for us to reap what we have sown. The Lord can’t hold back His justice any more than he’s capable of holding back h\His mercy from those who repent.
Let’s give God a good reason to stop the wheels of justice from turning, and return to Him as a nation. This means no more Christian pandering to the anti-life and anti-family agenda of this established secular religion, as promoted by the media.
What is our real religion, anyway?
Anthony Cardinale is a member of the diocesan Peace and Justice Commission.
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