The desolation of Obama nation
By Alisa Craddock
"I'm spiritual, but not religious." How many times have you heard someone say that? I used to say it myself, before converting to Catholicism. I wanted God, but I was holding onto my own judgment, retaining the "right" to filter God's law through my own "enlightened", "compassionate" and oh so "experienced" perspective. I needed faith, but in true American fashion, I didn't want anyone "controlling" me, telling me what to do or what to believe. And so I was easily led to believe that the "Gospel" as it was taught had gradually been eroded as scientific evidence and biblical scholarship "proved" that the Gospels have been mistranslated and corrupted from centuries of copying and recopying. Jesus, they say, was just a man, a political and social radical in fact, who came and told us "God loves you just as you are", and shattered cultural taboos by talking to women (even Samaritan women!) and dining with sinners, healing paralytics on the Sabbath, and just generally upsetting the whole social order with his "progressive" views. He had been mythologized by the Catholic Church into the God-Man of Christian tradition, but he was really just a man. Why, he was even married and had sex and produced children. How comforting to know he had sex. It makes him so much more…relevant. Of course, His teachings are from a different, less enlightened age, so his pronouncements must be weighed against modern realities and we must apply our own judgment to each situation, and we certainly don't have to obey those darned commandments. After all, we have problems Jesus didn't have to deal with and what's right for you may not be right for me.
Or so the progressives would have us believe. "I'm spiritual but not religious" usually means I want a faith that doesn't require anything of me, and your political leaders want you to have a faith that doesn't interfere with their global plans. Christ without the cross. Enter the "New Age" global, ecumenical, One World, One size fits all "spirituality." Mama Obama made it sound so right.
The "scientists" and "historians" are banking on the fact that you will never pick up a copy of the Apostolic Fathers and read the writings of the early Bishops of the Church. Anyone who thinks Jesus would defend abortion should read the first century Didache that expressly forbids abortion (see Chapter 2) among other grave evils. Do you really think that a woman today who becomes pregnant out of wedlock or as a result of rape or incest or adultery has it worse than a woman in Biblical times? The age may change, but "there is nothing new under the sun." (Qoh [Eccl] 1: 9).
But now the evils of the past have become simply the way of life of the present. Our rational minds have rationalized us right into Babylon, and we call it "liberty". The culture is a desolated wasteland of rhythmic rage and lurid imagery and sad, desperate, tired faces.
And that brings me to Barack Obama and the chapter regarding his faith in his book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Random House, 2006). Such an appealing title for all those who hunger for a more just and peaceful society. I had genuinely hoped he would have something new to say, something that impressed me with moral integrity and honesty, and originality. But it was the same old song, and he didn't even improve on the arrangement. He sounds so…typical, and that's what disappointed me. All that Harvard schooling, all the hype, and he still makes the same kind of perverse arguments that are the hallmark of the liberal left. He simply came across as a more articulate liberal schmoozer, casting himself as a thoughtful, committed Christian, while simultaneously making faithful Christians who actually believe in the wise and time-tested moral precepts of their faith seem like radicals, sanctimonious hypocrites who dress up "closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness" as his Mom taught him. It's as though "traditional" Christians are Johnny-come-latelies that crawled out of the woodwork with the Moral Majority some 30 years ago, and have been trying to seize control of the American government from "the people" ever since.
In true liberal form, he identified economic inequality, racism, sexism, and American militarism as the "sins" of our age. Of course, we all know that the solution to those sins is abortion and homosexual marriage (needed to prevent "sexism"), hate crimes laws (needed to prevent racism and homophobia) a socialist nanny state (needed to prevent economic and social inequality) and pacificism (needed to prevent militarism). These are the liberal solutions we've all come to know and love. These are political sins he is decrying, while ignoring the more fundamental sins (with their broad and much more destructive consequences) of abortion and the anti-life agenda that poisons our society. Can there be a bigger bigotry than "survival of the fittest? The prettiest, the richest, the smartest, the healthiest, the fully gestated?
Obama's defense of abortion held absolutely nothing new. He supports it, he says, because it's such a difficult choice for a woman in that situation, that "few women [make] the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually" and he further describes how any woman in that situation feels the "full force of the moral issues involved" and "[wrestles] with her conscience when making the heart wrenching decision". And of course, he raises the usual spectre of back alley abortions if women did not have safe legal means to end their pregnancy. I think the number of "heart wrenching decisions" is up around 50 million now. In 1972, the last year before Roe v Wade there were 39 deaths from illegal "back alley" abortions. Weigh that against the 3700 infant deaths per day, not to mention the percentage of women coerced by boyfriends, pressured by family, or by others to have an abortion they didn't want (in some cases having their arms twisted behind their backs as they are propelled into the clinic), and add to that the increasing number of underage girls impregnated by adult men who sneak them in under false pretenses to have an abortion. And who could forget the jubilant feminists who celebrated the Roe v. Wade decision by deliberately getting pregnant so they could exercise their new empowerment by killing their unborn child. There are increasing numbers of horrors and unthinkable outrages associated with legal abortions performed by callous abortionists, such as athletes getting pregnant and aborting before they compete (because the chemical changes in their bodies increase their strength and stamina), sex selection, children conceived to be donors for a sibling, and an entire anti-life agenda that has spilled over into other areas of human life. Obama's "solution" is to find ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place. You mean like a welfare program? A free college education? More government programs?
The truth is that abortion (increasingly being linked with eco-theology) has degraded the value of human life and lowered the status of women. It has lowered her civil protections (except the protection of her right to have sex, of course—always sacrosanct) by devaluing chastity, marriage, and motherhood, by objectifying her, and by demeaning the sexual union, one of the most sacred gifts of life, turning it into casual recreation, making relationships shallow, pleasure-based, and noncommittal, making her value merely skin deep. It has given her an impossible standard to live up to, has opened her up to gross exploitation, has made marriage less stable, has caused incalculable heartache to her and often to the father as well, and even the children she may yet have, (women who abort are more likely to abuse their later children) as the true effect of her heart wrenching decision may take many years to manifest itself.
I'll weigh the evil harvest of Roe v. Wade against the horrors of the back alley abortion any day of the week. The collateral damage alone, not counting the number of dead children, wreaks of a festering societal sickness, an evil so profound, that I cannot comprehend anyone who can call themselves Christian and defend abortion with a straight face. It truly is an abomination and a desolation of our nation's soul.
But Obama's kind of slippery, one-sided view of a moral issue is typical of liberal rhetoric, and frustrating to combat because it relies on ignorance and fear, a false idea of freedom, and a scandalously tempting idea of Christianity. It is not honest. Then when confronted with uncompromising truth, such liberals will make the opponent sound radical and alarmist and irrational against their simple, "compassionate" view that is based on "reality", (a view which frequently intends to hide the consequences of what they are advocating), often tying a positive in with a negative in order to cast a shadow over the positive. It's a method that is used frequently by liberals, so I need to give an example, and Mr. Obama gave me a perfect example.
On page 200 and 201, he manages to connect segregationists with those who desire prayer in school, thereby linking a wholesome desire (prayer in school) with an evil desire (racial segregation). He goes on to describe how the Republican Party, who had been placing a greater emphasis on "tradition, order, and ‘family values'" was "best positioned to harvest this crop of politically awakened evangelicals and mobilize them against the liberal orthodoxy [defined by inference as those representing oppressed blacks of the south]." And finally he reports that "today white evangelical Christians (along with conservative Catholics) are the heart and soul of the Republican Party's grassroots base.' So his attack seems calculated to connect the Christian base with its biblical values to racism, oppression and segregationist policies, and by "harvesting this crop" of "racists", the Republican Party becomes the party of racists. He thereby taints all of their noble aspirations, which include, among others, ending abortion, preserving traditional marriage, permitting prayer in schools, stopping euthanasia, home schooling and school vouchers, and the appointment of strict constructionist judges, most especially the Supreme Court who will defend our Constitution rather than the UN Charter.
Whether Sen. Obama intended to be slick here or is just so entrenched in the culture of victimhood that he doesn't realize what he's implying, he does rightfully point out that the biggest gap in party affiliation (for whites) is between those who attend church regularly and those who do not. So Democrats, he says, "are scrambling to ‘get religion'". (I guess they want us racists back, huh? How "tolerant" of them…) He is referring to such things as last years release by the House Democrats released of their "Historic Catholic Statement of Principles". When I read this so called "Statement of Principles," as a Catholic I was terribly scandalized. It embarrasses me in front of my Protestant friends that these people present themselves as faithful Catholics. What must they think of a Church that teaches such distortions? It was, once again, the same old tune.
It is a bit amusing to watch so-called Christian Liberals rationalize their unchristian agenda. In the end, these "Christians" still supported the policies that defied the moral law, and specifically Catholic moral teaching (since they were supposedly Catholics) that have gotten us into this moral quagmire in the first place. While they claimed to support a lofty sounding set of goals, they nevertheless work to ensure that those goals can never be achieved by continuing to pursue policies that encourage immoral behavior, and doggedly, perversely, defend those policies in the name of "compassion" and pluralism. How "pluralism" became an excuse for moral anarchy I fail to comprehend. I wonder how long it will be before Sharia law is permitted in the name of pluralism. Unthinkable? It makes as much sense as dismantling centuries of learned moral truth.
But it was the remarks about "primacy of conscience" in that "Statement of Principles" that hit me most strongly with their hypocrisy:
"In all these issues, we seek the Church's guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience. In recognizing the Church's role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas."
The term "primacy of conscience" has been misused to mean you can disagree with and/or violate the Church's moral teaching (which, make no mistake, are God's commands as far as the Church is concerned) if you feel the situation warrants it. That is not what the Church means by primacy of conscience. It means that it is incumbent upon each person to understand fully the teaching, not as a book of rules, but as a way of life, and should the laws of God and the laws of the state conflict, you are bound by your properly formed conscience to defer to Divine Law. Nor must you violate it. For example, not only is abortion forbidden, but you are forbidden to advocate in favor of abortion, to encourage or aid or transport somebody to get one, or even to believe it is acceptable to have one. It may be permitted by the law, but a Christian may not aid it, and is bound by conscience to resist its imposition. However, if one struggles privately to accept the Church's teaching in good faith, but does not publicly advocate a position contrary to Church teaching, he could still be in good standing with the Church. It's not hypocrisy to keep your personal struggle to yourself while publicly upholding the Church's law. It is utter arrogance to pretend that your public dissent is appropriate Catholic behavior. In plain fact, you don't have the right to disagree with God. Sorry. Yes, he gave us free will, but there are consequences to misusing it. That is the whole point of the existence of the Church, at least from a teaching standpoint.
In addition to presenting this distorted disposition as an authentically Catholic one (which it isn't), the casual way in which the Church was described disguised her true authority (to speak for Christ, we Catholics believe) and she was reduced to the level of "think tank", an organization whose job it is to advise, and whose moral law we can subject to our own judgment and disregarded as political necessity directs. But those who do that are literally usurping the authority of God. The denial of moral absolutes has become the drumbeat of the Left, and has become deeply ingrained in the American psyche. And so the Left can make those who believe that life, once created, is uncompromisingly inviolable look like fanatics. But it is common sense theology. God is God, and we're not God. Life is created by God. If you believe that (and as Catholics, I should certainly expect you would), even the baby conceived of rape or incest is created by God and given the divine spark of life by Him. Has she less a right to life because we find the circumstances of her conception abhorrent? Careful if you say ‘yes'. That kind of argument can be used to deny the right to life of the poor, the ignorant, the mentally or physically unfit, political enemies... You see where it goes?
The Democrat version of "primacy of conscience" is simply the fulfillment of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, where human beings, in substituting their judgment for the teaching of the Church, attempt to acquire personal freedom beyond morality.
In an earlier column, I spoke of the fact that all the major religions of the world had a variation of the Golden Rule. Christianity goes one better: "I give you a new commandment," the Lord said, "that you love one another, even as I have loved you. How did he love us? By placing himself, as John Paul II explained, "in the center between good and evil, and taking a personal part in the conflict between good and evil as it is found in every human being." (The Way to Christ, 1982) He loved us by condescending to share our flesh and blood existence and suffer in it, and offer His suffering and death as expiation for our transgressions. His love was the cross, and never before had a god suffered for us. But our God did, and that's what makes Him relevant. Not sex. He suffered for us. That's love. That is the thing that sets Christianity apart from all other religions; And we are to follow. Our cross is the burden of morality, and there is no Christianity without it. As Pope John Paul said, "any person who tries to place himself beyond good and evil, beyond morality, is not with Christ. It's not the arrogant pronouncement of a usurper. It's common sense. Christianity is what it is, and it isn't what it isn't. You can't make it up as you go. That's called idolatry.
The truth is, we don't want to surrender our will to Him, and liberals exploit that. We want to have our cake and eat it to. We want Jesus, but on our own terms. We all do it. We all hold something of ourselves back from him. So each of us who thinks himself more holy than another is a hypocrite. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." The difference, then, is recognizing that there are moral absolutes. We recognize sins (immoral behaviors) for what they are, and why they are sins. It's called having a properly formed conscience. Can people of good will disagree on what constitutes a sin? I say no, not when we are talking about clearly defined "Thou Shalt Nots" because the results of moral lapse don't change with peoples' opinion or cultural fashion. Civilizations collapse. But as we have seen, when the Obamas and other elites of the world believe they've evolved beyond the wisdom of the ages, beyond good and evil, and place their judgment over divine judgment in matters of morality, and give that judgment the force of law, it compels us ordinary folks to go against God. That is what we social conservatives are fighting. That's the real war here. We envision a time in the near future when we may have to choose between obeying our God, or going against our conscience in submission to a corrupt government, choosing to suffer incarceration for our faith or choosing "freedom" in tyranny.
Alisa Craddock is a columnist and activist in the culture war, a convert to Catholicism, and describes herself as a Christian Libertarian. In addition to Enter Stage Right, her columns have been published on Alain's Newsletter and Out2 News. She may be contacted at monalisa_monday at hushmail.com.
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