Our Second-Class Civil Right

The US Commission on Civil Rights claims that the right to religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment must take a back seat to the right to “nondiscrimination”—found nowhere in the Constitution. Dwight Duncan points out that this makes the freedom of religion a second-class right, even though it was the very first right recorded by our Founding Fathers in the Bill of Rights.

As early as the 1840s, Abraham Lincoln had occasion to join his voice to the cause of religious freedom when the nativism of the Know-Nothings was exhibiting a certain anti-Catholic strain: “The guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant, and…all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, either directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition.”

And for those who aren’t religious and don’t care, keep in mind that if they can abrogate religious freedom so easily, which other rights can they make go away? Free speech and free press? Due process? As long as they can show that it’s in the service of nondiscrimination, right?

The Democrat Party’s War on Religion

Democrat National Convention delegates were outraged last week that Chick-fil-A has a concession contract with the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia and was allowed to sell its products during the DNC.

Liberals began their hate on Chick-fil-A several years ago over the Christian views of the Cathy family that owns the chain. CEO Dan Cathy has acknowledged supporting traditional marriage as part of his religious beliefs and the family is publicly pro-life. And of course, one of the defining features of their company is that its restaurants are closed on Sunday. That’s apparently beyond the pale.

They’re the type of company that closes on Sunday, puts money into lobbying against the LGBT community, and for that reason I will never support Chick-Fil-A until they change their ways,” Sacco said. [emphasis added]

That they close on Sunday is a reason not to support them? For a supposedly pro-labor party, I would think getting a day of rest would be a good thing. Of course, the reason the restaurants are closed is because the Cathy family takes seriously the Fourth Commandment and want to help their workers honor it. But public expressions of religious faith, more specifically expressions of traditional Christian religious faith, are forbidden among the liberal Democrats.

The veils are dropping and true natures are revealed. Like last week, when Nancy Pelosi blamed uneducated white men’s attachment to “guns, gays, and God” as the reasons why they support a Republican candidate over the Democrat “against their economic interests.” The lines are becoming clearer every day.

For priests, when they ordain us, we know that we are not going to die normally. We know that we are going to be killed. Fr. Douglas Bazi, Chaldean Catholic priest from Iraq

“My prayer was on the chain itself. How much I hated that chain, because they tied me. I used to pray by that chain, pray the rosary. With much praying I became calm. I really became stronger, sometimes I was aggressive with them. When they asked me questions, sometimes I was laughing, I asked them, ‘What kind of stupid question was that?’ Sometimes I felt that they were captured by me, I was not captured by them.”

The Necessity of Religious Freedom to Democracy

Clay Christensen relates that for democracy to work, most of the people most of the time must voluntarily choose to obey the laws. And historically Americans have chosen to follows the laws because they believed they were accountable not just to society, but to God. As we move further and further away from being a society that believes in God or even one that protects the right to believe in God, the rule of law will continue to break down.

If you want to truly fix all those outrages you read about on Facebook and Twitter every day, stop asking politicians to create new laws that fewer people are choosing to follow. Start demanding the restoration of our religious freedom. And start evangelizing and supporting evangelization efforts.

The war on religious contractors is a war on all of us

If you want to see how bad the Left’s war on orthodox religious believers is getting, here’s another example. About one-eighth of the federal government’s $4 trillion budget goes to the approximately 150,000 private sector contractors, about $500 billion. Out of that 150,000, about 2,000 are religious contractors, i.e. organizations with a primarily religious mission providing services to the government such as supplying military chaplains, running charitable social services programs, doing scientific research, and more.

Some Republicans have noticed the pressures being put on religious groups by left-wing social engineers to compromise their beliefs on sexual morality and the nature of being and so have introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect their freedom of religion from government interference. Which you would think would be covered by the First Amendment, but is not because the Supreme Court muddied those waters long ago. But because in 2014 Obama mandated that all government contractors embrace transgenderism and homosexuality in their practices, those religious contractors were in a precarious position.

From the reaction of the Left, you would think this amendment had declared open season on LGBTQ people. From the American Spectator article linked above:

So, you may be asking, why are the Democrats and a few Republicans howling at the moon? On the one hand, the move is political and designed for political self-preservation. They need to cater to part of their base. I don’t fault them for that; however, rather than making their views known in a balanced way, they are balkanizing the electorate in order to score cheap political points for Congressional candidates as well as hand Mrs. Bill Clinton another talking point. However, this issue transcends politics and the Democrats know it. The long-term and substantive ramifications of this anti-religious maneuver are disturbing and, at some level dangerous, because it seeks to silence people of faith, in this case, by pushing them out of the federal marketplace. It is borderline fascistic.

This is all in line with the current thread of discourse in our society as I’ve previously mentioned: “If you disagree with me, then you hate me and wish to harm me.” There is no middle ground. LGBTQ and their political allies see this as all or nothing. If we don’t capitulate and agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong with their lifestyle choices and self-identity then we are haters fomenting violence against them and every possible means–from political ostracizing to loss of livelihood to indoctrination of children–is a valid defense.

In this climate, how can we defend ourselves? Especially since the American public, slowly but surely, is falling back in the face of this. Nobody wants to be a bad guy, so the average American starts to bend. Whereas a clear majority of Americans a decade or more ago agreed that the law should protect the traditional understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman, that majority has been eroding.

The haters gonna hate and the center will not hold.

The Persecutions Have Begun

Rod Dreher writes that in the wake of the Orlando shootings the anti-Christian rhetoric from the elites is ramping up. I saw on Twitter all day on Sunday and Monday. It was as if every Christian with orthodox, traditional beliefs had helped pull the trigger.

Of course, the persecutions began well before Sunday, but the tone is becoming more and more strident and the anger and intolerance is getting stronger. God help us, but it’s getting worse before it gets better.

Breitbart’s Catholic school problem

I don’t think I’ve read a more pedantic and deeply flawed piece of reasoning in a non-liberal publication in some time. Breitbart writer Julia Hahn takes House Speaker Paul Ryan to task for his comments that restricting Muslim immigration is un-American by calling him a hypocrite for sending his kids to a Catholic parochial school. What?!

For some context, it’s important to note that Breitbart has become a shill for the Donald Trump campaign and Ryan has withheld his endorsement of Trump. And Ryan’s comments on Muslim immigration can be seen as a rebuke to Trump’s inane comments (is there any other kind) on the subject.

So Hahn’s thesis is that because Paul Ryan sends his kids to a parish-connected Catholic school, and because the school asks “perspective” (sic) students about their religious background, and because the school gives a tuition discount to parishioners, and because parishioners are therefore Catholic and not Muslim, and because charging higher tuition must be the same as refusing them admittance to the United States, then Paul Ryan is a hypocrite on Muslim immigration.

Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me either. And you can be sure Julia Hahn doesn’t believe the crap she’s peddling either. Instead, it’s just a ham-fisted attempt to attack Paul Ryan for failing to pay obeisance before The Donald.

In other words, we can expect the same irrational fawning we saw from Slate and HuffPost and MSNBC for Barack Obama over the past eight years from Breitbart and Sean Hannity and other Trump water-carriers over hypothetical presidency.

Oh joy.

Nature of Religion to Be Decided in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has its own religious liberty case going before its highest court on Tuesday. The case involves the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette and the city of Attleboro. In 2012, the city declared that most of the shrine’s property, which includes wooded land, a conference center, gift shop, welcome center, and cafeteria, in addition to chapels and monastery, was not exempt from property tax because, in the town’s view, only buildings used for actual worship should be exempt. As Jeff Jacoby writes at the Boston Globe:

More is at stake in this dispute than a local Catholic shrine or Attleboro’s budget. The much deeper issue is this: Do religious organizations decide for themselves what they require for their devotional and educational missions, or do municipal tax authorities decide for them?

This is also at the heart of the Obama administration’s fight with the Little Sisters of the Poor, among others.

It isn’t only in pews and with prayerbooks that houses of God fulfill their role. Charity drives and interfaith dialogue, youth retreats and blood drives, marital counseling and religious bookstores — far from being peripheral to a church’s religious purpose, they often go to its essence. In the words of one Unitarian Universalist congregation: “The church has left the building.” That is what churches are supposed to do, and why Attleboro’s tax-grab must be rolled back.

Under the First Amendment, who gets to decide what constitutes the religion we are free to practice? And does the First Amendment protect our right to live out our religious beliefs or just merely or ability to engage in worship?

Consistory to approve canonization of Mother Teresa scheduled

The Vatican has announced that the consistory to finalize the cause for canonization of Mother Teresa and five other blessed will take place next Tuesday. This is the final step in the process before the canonization ceremony is scheduled.

This couldn’t be more timely given the martyrdom of four Missionaries of Charity in Yemen last week. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Four Missionaries of Charity Martyred in Yemen

This is awful. These four Missionaries of Charity, members of the order founded by Mother Teresa, were murdered along with the people they were caring for by members of an Islamic terrorist group in Yemen. As the vicar for Southern Arabia says, they were murdered in hatred of the faith, which makes them martyrs. A priest at the facility was taken by the terrorists.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Through the intercession of Blessed Mother Teresa, may they fly to the bosom of the Lord in heaven.

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