Are religion and morality the same thing?
By Alisa Craddock
Former Senator John Danforth recently warned that he thinks "the Republican Party… has been taken over by the Christian conservatives, by the Christian right [and] that it's divisive for the country." And former Senator Gary Hart at a lunch sponsored by the Denver Forum also expressed concern that we are moving toward a theocracy "when religious interest groups hold so much influence." His most telling remark came in one quote, which I note here: "The language of politics in the last 10 years has more heavily gravitated toward faith and values. He who controls the definition controls the debate."
So the subject is "how do we define faith and values?" Who decides what are good values and what are bad, and where does "faith" fit in. Perhaps a little clear thinking on the role of religion in our culture is in order.
In the last few years secularists, emboldened by their successes at quashing public expression of faith, have managed to advance the idea that moral values and religion are the same thing, especially Christian morality, and that it is an enemy of freedom. Whenever someone expresses a moral objection to anything in our culture (particularly life issues and sex issues), the secularists indignantly cry "theocracy" and trot out the so-called "Separation Clause" of the First Amendment. Those who reject religion and traditional morality behave as though the First Amendment is there to prevent Christianity from influencing our culture or our laws. Christians, by that standard then, have no right to influence the culture in which they live, work, and play. But is that the way it was meant to be?
The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion [there will be no " Church of America" in other words] nor prohibit the free exercise thereof" (my emphasis). It is a fact that the "free exercise" of one's faith involves the cultivation and practice of moral virtues. (We don't need to be reminded that we often fail in the moral demands of our faith. It is important only to consider whether the moral teaching is objectively true or not.) But secularists are challenging moral issues in the courts, insisting that moral judgments have no place in our law, and that you "can't legislate morality." But all law is based on morality. Yet the courts are increasingly and audaciously finding new "rights" embedded in the Constitution which somehow contradict the traditional understanding of our rights, and even the very definition of virtue, and have begun codifying into law and offering legal protections to practices that defy all reason, are in direct opposition (not coincidentally) to the tried and true traditional morality that is being eclipsed, and are outrageous and utterly reprehensible to Christians who make up the overwhelming majority in this country. In so doing, they are using judicial authority to force the reshaping of the culture to one that is utterly hostile to faith, traditional morality, and Right Reason—to effectively snuff it out. Yet Sen. Danforth insists it is Chrstians who are dividing the country. But…wait a minute! The First Amendment is supposed to protect religious practice, not interfere with it, isn't it? I've always thought so.
Our Founding Fathers believed that the freedom to worship in one's faith was so important that it was the first natural right recognized in our Bill of Rights. I say naturalright because the foundational document of our freedom, the Declaration of Independence, declared our belief that we were endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. These rights did not come from the state, but were natural rights of man, given to us by God, and justly presumed to be inviolable because of that fact. The government exists to protect those rights. If our rights are not natural rights, from whom do they come? Or more ominously, if they don't come from God, then they are mere gifts of the state. And if that is true, if they do not stem from some deeply embedded sense of justice, how sacrosanct can they be? Or how inviolable the individual? Our whole system of government is founded on this idea of the dignity and inviolability of each of us.
So, our Fathers merely elucidated what were self-evident Truths when they penned the Declaration and the Bill of Rights. This recognition was not a mere indulgence, but it was also not a license for self-indulgence. Our Fathers recognized the importance of religion and morality as "indispensable supports" to a free society. Men cannot be free who are slaves of the state, nor slaves of their own passions. John Adams said it best when he stated that "It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue."
But there is a secular, globalist agenda at work, and those pulling the strings know how to manipulate our passions and our revolutionary spirit. We are being gradually led into a one-world government that is utterly hostile to any religion but occultism, because only occultism will accommodate the "agenda". "New Age" beliefs (spirituality without morality—a kind of "do your own thing" religion) will be encouraged. But the nuclear family, patriotism, and traditional ideas of morality and virtue (which are now, sadly, cultivated only in organized religion) must be eliminated, because they are opposed to the globalist, Malthusian, anti-life, insect society planned for us in the New World Order. So the courts have attacked religion outright in their rulings, often even publicly demonizing Christians and their faith, especially Catholicism because of its unique authoritative voice in the world, and are blatantly interfering with both the private and institutional practice of religion. Courts have ruled that it is a "right" for a woman to kill her unborn child, have jailed peaceful pro-life protesters on phony RICO charges (since rejected by the Supreme Court), have ruled that Catholic hospitals and clinics must dispense contraceptives and morning after pills (still being appealed), have ruled that a brain-damaged Catholic woman could be starved/dehydrated to death on the say-so of her husband (whose motivations were questionable at best), courts have ruled that children could be taken to abortion clinics without parents knowledge by school officials (in California), that two people of the same sex could be "married," that Christian symbols must be removed from public spaces where the Menorah, the Star of David, and the Star and Crescent Moon of Islam are permitted to be displayed, that the Ten Commandments, on which our own judicial system was established, and the Pledge of Allegiance, are unconstitutional "establishment" of religion, and therefore not to be displayed/recited in public places, and there are a growing number of other judicial outrages taking place by "activist" courts. How bad can it get? Look to Nazi Germany for that answer. But it will be worse, for it is not only a group of people under attack, but Truth itself. "Whose Truth?" I hear you say indignantly. Well, if there are no objective, absolute truths, if one Truth is as good as another, then who's to say that Karl Marx wasn't right about how things ought to be, that socialism and the nanny state and the "good society" isn't the Truth. What makes us so sure less government is better than more government? The Truth is written on our hearts. If we selectively ignore parts of it because they impede some sacred cow of ours, we can't fault others for doing the same. But then you have anarchy.
Consider this also. Secular Humanism, by the admission of many of its proponents, and of the man who named it so, is a religion, and that religion is being foisted on the American people by activist judges placed there by liberal politicians that want the courts to do blatantly (without accountability to voters) what they themselves cannot do openly, but only in the most clandestine way. They are, in effect, establishing a state religion. In our zeal to stamp out Christian faith, the great "inhibitor of freedom" we are permitting ourselves to be enslaved by a new dogma that is utterly destructive to the one it is replacing, and to human dignity itself, and those who oppose it will find themselves in prison, or worse. It is already happening. Make no mistake, it is not merely the public silencing of religion that is being accomplished, but the ferocious, intentional annihilation of Christian faith itself, so that while we are busy defending our inalienable right to have sex with whomever we want, the yoke of slavery is gradually being slipped over our selfish, complacent necks.
What is the foundation of justice in a free society? What one statement would sum it up most effectively? I think Judaism said it best:
"What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary upon it."
Is it any less true because it came from scripture? Does it not, and does not our own Constitution, assume the inviolability of the individual? All Christian morality has at its core the assumption of inviolability of the body and soul of each person. No system of government, no political ideology which denies this principle can be said to serve the interests of the people, nor be deemed a "free" society, whether that ideology calls itself socialist, republican, monarchy, democratic, or libertarian. But the freedom that philosophy affords comes with responsibilities, and that is where the cultivation of virtue is absolutely vital, for it is decadence and apathy that destroy civilizations. No rational person would argue that abortion, sodomy, pornography, embryonic experimentation, "intergenerational intimacy", and euthanasia (to name the biggest ones) are the marks of a virtuous society. They are, however, for those with eyes to see, the marks of a civilization about to come crashing down upon itself. History shows us over and over again that the cultivation of virtue is an absolute necessity for maintaining a thriving civilization. But that virtue is not defined by American jurisprudence which may blow this way or that with the winds of fashion, but is defined by tradition, which has the lessons of history to support it.
Is it theocracy? If our belief in God is mere superstition, where did the "Golden Rule" come from? If there is no God, then the Golden Rule came out of a universal understanding of fairness and decency that says that merely because A has money or power or brute strength, yet he may not violate, abuse, kill, hurt or exploit B. B is inviolable. If we no longer believe in the "Golden Rule", what can we infer about where we are headed? What will it mean for the poor, the weak, the infirm, the working man, the family, for our children, and their children? All our progress, all of our collective groaning toward a truly authentic "justice" will disappear if we fail to recognize this most basic law: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Christianity) "Hurt no others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." (Buddhism) "This is the sum of duty; Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you." (Brahmanism) "Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness; Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you." (Confucianism), and so on. It is the "Golden Rule" in every major religion in the world. If not from God, from whom did we learn this? From Tradition. It is the collected wisdom of the countless civilizations which rose and fell before ours, and we reject it at our own peril. G. K. Chesterton called Tradition "the Democracy of the Dead." No democratic civilization that arrogantly rejects what those before it learned and handed down can long endure. Unless we recognize and reclaim our Judeo-Christian heritage, we are doomed to slavery. We will lose everything. Our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as individuals, our self-interest, is irrevocably tied to our collective interest as a nation. It is deeply embedded in the founding documents of this country, and in the hearts of the people. George Washington, the Father of our nation, said "It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity, but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."
Sounds a lot like the "Golden Rule" to me.
Alisa Craddock is a Library Technical Assistant at a state university in Florida, a convert to Catholicism, and describes herself as a Christian Libertarian. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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