Well, about 48% of the country is unhappy right now. Consider me one of them.
Like many, I’ve been invested in this election. Read numerous stories and blogs on the Internet. Followed the debates. Talked about it a lot. Prayed. Voted. And yet the same guy who was elected President four years ago is the same guy who got voted in today. Once again he’s talking about “hope” in front of a cheering Chicago audience. After the speech they played Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care Of Our Own.”
I would have rather had an election result that ended with Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
I’m not the only one who prayed and fasted for this day. At Church every Sunday (and daily) we’ve been praying or our country and for the election. Though the prayers never specifically said, “We pray Mitt Romney wins,” that seemed like an easy connection to make. We prayed for a president that respects the dignity of the unborn. We prayed for a president that respects religious freedom.
And yet we now have a president who seems to not care about either of those two important issues. He is more concerned with the rights of same sex couples to be married than the rights of unborn children to live. He is more concerned with the “rights” to free contraceptives than the rights of religious freedom.
So… were our prayers unanswered? Our novenas wasted? On the surface, it seems to be that way.
But God isn’t done yet. He just rarely answers prayers the way we think He will.
God isn’t into democracy. Jesus said, “Follow me,” not, “vote for me.” Though we might feel that our prayers for the election weren’t heard, God is bigger than an election. He’s about saving souls and changing hearts.
Abortions in this country are down. Why? Because abortion centers are closing due to movements such as “40 Days for Life.” This is the most pro-life generation the country has ever seen. Hearts are changing. That’s the work of God, not man. Man can create a law to make something “legal” or “illegal.” But only God makes things “right” or “wrong.” The law is external, the Spirit is internal. God is more concerned about the heart.
Same-sex marriage? Yes, it’s disappointing that same sex marriage won a popular vote in Maine and Maryland. Proponents say this is the beginning of a national trend (as if the 30 previous states who voted against same sex marriage don’t matter.) That may be true. But I think we need to do better in talking about what marriage really is. We’ve been hoping for a vote to “protect marriage,” but perhaps we’ve been too focused in “out-voting” the issue than explaining it. Now we have to be more articulate. I can’t see that as a bad thing.
Religious freedom? That battle is far from over. More lawsuits have been leveled toward the Federal Government on this matter than any other in American history, and most of lower court results have been respecting religious rights. Obama’s reelection doesn’t make the HHS mandate a slam dunk, though that would have been nice—just as it would have been a non-issue if Obamacare was flipped by the Supreme Court. But it seems we’re just not going to get any short cuts on this: the issue of religious freedom will need to be directly addressed by the Supreme Court. And that could be a great thing.
One “positive” thing you can say about Obama is that he’s done more to unite the Catholic Church in America than anyone in the past 50 years. He got every Catholic bishop to stand against him. He also did a lot to unite the Christian Church—remember Mike Huckabee saying, “Today, I’m Catholic!” Heck, he even got evangelical Christians to back a Mormon for president.
If we had woken up this morning with the headline, “Romney is the President,” we might have gone back to sleep feeling secure in one nation under God. We could be thankful that this HHS nonsense is over and we can go back to our lives. We could be hopeful that abortions would be reduced thanks to government intervention. That’s how I hoped to start the day.
But God does not want us asleep. He wants us awake. He wants us to do the same thing we’ve been doing: pray, work, and fast for our country.
If we thought we could wake up and feel safe about these issues because Romney got elected then we’d be as foolish as those on the other side of these issues who think Obama is the “savior.” We can’t depend on the government for our spiritual “welfare.” We’ve got to go out and proclaim God’s truth with our lips and share His love from our hearts.
I’m bummed that Obama won. I know a lot of people who worked really hard during this election and I can’t imagine how devastated they feel: any time you spend work on a “failed” effort it’s always heart-breaking.
But I still have hope, and not the “hope” that Obama talked about to a cheering crowd this morning. His “hope” was optimism based on the human spirit; our hope is rooted in Jesus Christ and in His saving power. The hope Obama offered four years ago hasn’t materialized, but our hope in Christ is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Heb 6:19.)
The re-election of Barack Obama means that Christians in the United States have to stay united and actively proclaim the truth of the Gospel if we are to protect the values we believe were given to us from God. It means we have to pray more, work harder, and be more active in sharing our faith. If we do that, it would be a more important “result” than any political office we could ever vote for.
I’ll end with what we prayed in Mass this morning: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
Bob thank you so much for this wise perspective. “But God does not want us asleep. He wants us awake. He wants us to do the same thing we’ve been doing: pray, work, and fast for our country.” It’s always hard to suffer disappointment, but like you said, the challenges to come under another four years of the Obama Administration may serve to strengthen and unite the American Church even more than may have happened if we fell into complacent comfort under a Romney administration.
I remember reading about how more pro life legislation has been passed during the Obama administration than any president before him since Roe v.Wade. I like your optimism. If Romney won, you are right- I think there would have been a false sense of security that we live in a Christian nation with Christian morals and values. Hardly. Obama winning just gives us reason to continue the fight 😉 Nice job!
Great thoughts, Bob! I too thought about rocking out to Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” if Romney had won. Alas, God calls us to stand firm and trust in Him, perhaps more radically than we ever have before.
As Mother Teresa said, “God does not call us to be successful. He calls us to be faithful.”
Or, you can mind your own business and leave the rest of us alone?
Did someone force you to read this? 🙂
What about freedom of speech, Hal? It seems that only the ungodly, like yourself are allowed to voice their opinions, yet we are imposing when we (Christians) speak ours.
This is fabulous! Thank you so much for lifting my spirits and my heart to God with your wise words. I will be sharing this far and wide! God bless you!
This is the saddest thing I have ever read. If you want something to change, you change it yourself. The human spirit is more powerful than any god that you have. I respect the belief in religion, but not of treating others like shit because they don’t agree with you. Abortion and Religious freedom are not the most important issues as you have stated. Yes, abortion is a highly debated topic, but it is up to the people to decide what is right, not one man in the white house. I hope you realize what religious freedom is. It is not christianity. It is the idea that you can believe anything that you want to believe. I am an athiest. I have the right to believe that god is stupid and does not exist. Do I voice that? No. Unless I am provoked by an absurd article such as this. Obama is not the antichrist. True, he was not a perfect candidate, but Romney was far from it also. I actually support neither, but I know my facts. Learn them before you belittle the man that won the election. Romney planned to take away rights of the human person, the most important rights of all. If girls want birth control it should be theirs, if gay people want to get married, they should ABSOLUTELY have that right. How is it the churchs right to decide what is right? It isn’t. They have no right to ever decide what a person can and can’t do. There are no religious laws. Why do you think religion does not govern the country? Because it is subjective and ridiculous. People have hundreds of different beliefs and they must all be represented, the church cannot do that because it is so one sided. I feel sorry for you that you think so ignorantly and do not realize it. Be more accepting of others and maybe they will accept you. Have a nice day.
Well said!! I agree 100%!
We clearly disagree on a number of points here, so it seems best to leave it at that. But I didn’t want to comment on your “Obama is not the antichrist” and “learn the facts before you belittle the man that won the election” statements. I would never paint Obama as the antichrist and it wasn’t my intent to belittle him by stating my opinion on his political platforms and decisions.
Well Put J! Thank you!
J, you said ” If girls want birth control it should be theirs” but I fail to see how anyone was preventing that from happening. While morally opposed to birth control, the main issue was that Catholics didn’t want to be forced to pay for it or provide it. Nobody was ever stopping anyone from buying their own birth control, just from making other people pay for it or provide it against their will. So maybe you didn’t learn your facts as well as you claim.
Message to Tess: You do know that our tax dollars currently pay for birth control, right?
You say “I respect the belief in religion, but not of treating others like shit because they don’t agree with you”, then follow it up by telling the author he’s ignorant and that his religion is subjective and ridiculous. You, an openly atheist commenter, visited a website owned and run by a Catholic man, and read an article directed towards Catholic (and otherwise religious) readers. He didn’t tell you to read or agree with his article. He did not provoke you into responding with such a hateful message – you chose to do so of your own free will.
You said “People have hundreds of different beliefs and they must all be represented” and “Be more accepting of others and maybe they will accept you”. In case you didn’t notice, one of the hundreds of different beliefs that must be represented is Catholicism, and you are openly against its representation. People will have a hard time taking you seriously when you don’t even follow your own set of morals.
First, if the state’s authority is the basis for our rights, then how can marriage be an ABSOLUTE right? If said right can be given to people by the state, it can be taken away just as easily. But then it’s not an absolute right. If, on the other hand, it can’t be taken away, but is transcendent and absolute, on what authority does it rest? Moreover, is every “form” of marriage equally absolute? How about polygamy and/or incest? Second, how can the right to life be ancillary or inferior to the right to marriage? It’s the fundamental right, and if it is ignored or violated, all other rights are equally vulnerable and hollow. Third, the commandment against stealing is of “religious” provenance, yet it is legally binding even for non-religious persons. How is murder of the innocent any less immoral than theft?
In my women’s study group this morning it was talked about refining the Church by fire. I think that is exactly what God is doing. God has a daily, down to the minute, plan. I have to remember that. Your thoughts uplifted me on this dreary morning. Thank you.
glad to hear how you all seem to know what ‘God’ feels or ‘thinks’ .You do not know Him….
“You do not know Him.”
Says you. I’ll take my stand with the Old Testament Patriarchs, Prophets, and saints, as well as the thousands or thousands of saints who have loved the Lord since He came to the Earth 2000 years ago. All of those saints knew the same Lord through prayer and the Sacraments. Now, you have sided with a few so-called believers going along with a worldly trend and saying God has changed His mind (or everyone else in human history is deluded.) We’ve heard this story before.
We are not to make God in our own image; we are to allow him to remake us in His. Praying that you will have that joy to know the Lord. You could not make the statements you make otherwise.
Love this!! Thank you Bob!
Hi cousin. It is always interesting to read what you write, and you have an elegant way of stating your thoughts. I do have to respectfully disagree with many of your views, though. In the US, we have separation of church and state. If someone chooses to follow a religion and practice all of the beliefs of that religion, they have every right to. However, the government should not be making moral decisions for every citizen. While you believe same sex marriage is wrong, I happen to believe it is the right of every individual in this country to find happiness and celebrate love in any form they choose. These people are not getting married in the Catholic church. These same sex couples, who are often committed to eachother for many years or even decades, are gaining the same rights that two drunk people in Vegas can get if they want to have a fun evening. I am not saying that a Catholic priest should be required to marry these couples, but I don’t believe our elected government should refuse rights based on the religious views of the minority of the citizens. The Republicans believe in small government and letting the states (and people) decide how to run things, and yet they want to pass these sweeping laws taking away rights from individuals based on certain religious views. It is not up to the government to instill Christian values. That is up to the church, the families, and the communities who choose to follow those doctrines. We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Those freedoms mean that not everything that happens around you will be things you agree with, but I feel that it is worth it to know that I am free. Birth control pills are used by many women as a medication to control pain and other issues in addition to its use as birth control. Why should this not be covered under health insurance because some religions feel that it is wrong? Christian Scientists believe that prayer should be used to treat all illnesses, so should insurance stop covering chemotherapy for cancer patients because of one set of beliefs? I don’t want anyone’s religious beliefs determining our laws. These things should be decided to allow equal rights to all citizens, regardless of the their color, gender, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Not long ago, the government (and many religions) felt that interracial marriage was a sin, an abomination; women were thought to be inferior in many ways; gay people have been killed over the fact that they choose to love someone who is not approved of by others. Our government should work to protect all of its citizens equally, and I, for one, am celebrating the results of this election, happy in the knowledge that the majority of the people feel the same way, and that more states are agreeing with equal rights for all people.
Hey cousin! Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Sure-we disagree on some issues. My intention for this reply is not to argue them further but to clarify a point. You wrote, “Christian Scientists believe that prayer should be used to treat all illnesses, so should insurance stop covering chemotherapy for cancer patients because of one set of beliefs?” Great question! I’d say (and you might think I’m crazy here) that I don’t believe that Christian Scientists should be forced to pay for that insurance if it violates their religious beliefs. A person being hired would know that and decided for themselves if they wanted to take that kind of job, or go to another place where they could get full coverage. The same for Catholic institutions. If you work for Catholics, you should know what their religious beliefs are (if you’re not Catholic) and accept that this is what you get if you decide to take the job. But to force any religion to pay for medical procedures that they consider immoral is, I believe, a violation of the Constitution.
Of course, this issue will most likely appear before the Supreme Court in the next few months, so we’ll see what the professionals say…
This is an interesting point, and it is one that makes me think a bit. I can definitely see your point about the freedom to decide based on religious beliefs, as long as they are contained within religious institutions. However, there is a study that found that 14% of women who take birth control pills (1.5 million women!) do so entirely for reasons other than pregnancy prevention. Shouldn’t the church trust their followers to make these decisions about their medical needs for themselves? Should no one step in if a Christian Scientist family is allowing their child to suffer from an easily curable form of cancer? These are tough questions without easy answers, for sure. I’ve seen how universal healthcare has helped so many in Massachusetts (where Mitt Romney started the idea!), and would love to know that every person in our country can get the treatment they need and deserve no matter how much money they have in the bank; not to mention that this will eventually save all of us money in the long run by decreasing expensive ER visits for minor or preventable illnesses, but it does raise questions about the right to choose what you want for yourself and your family (or religious community). Although I am torn over how these laws should effect religious institutions, I am sure that, in my opinion, women in the general public should have the right to any medication they and their doctors decide is necessary for their health and well-being, with the cost covered by insurance, and I will certainly never vote for anyone who thinks otherwise. I also would not choose to work for an institution who would control my healthcare decisions, but I am fortunate enough to pick and choose where I work.
Most importantly, I appreciate the opportunity to have a civil, intelligent conversation about such controversial topics. Although we disagree, I respect you very much and it is interesting to see things from another perspective.
You mentioned birth control as a medical decision that women of the Church should make for themselves but you aren’t looking at the moral consequences of birth control. Yes, some women use oral contraceptives for legitimate reproductive health issues such as endometriosis, but the vast majority use them for their intended use, which is to prevent pregnancy. That is absolutely a moral issue and one that the Church has every right to express her beliefs about it to all Catholics. Even women who do use oral contraceptives for reasons other than solely contraception deserve to have medications that treat their conditions without taking away their fertility. There are other options, most doctors are just too impatient to take the time to find them. Contraception involves putting a medication into a woman’s body to stop it from functioning correctly. That is the opposite of health care. It is an elective medication and those who choose to work for Catholic employers should not expect Catholics to violate their consciences when no one is preventing the employee from buying condoms or the birth control pill with their own money.
However, if that Christian scientist, or Catholic employer, or whatever business wants to operate as a BUSINESS and receive certain federal funding, then they need to offer their employees the same benefits that any other business is required to. I could go along and make up some silly religion and found a business around the idea, saying I don’t believe in currency and chose to pay my employees in, say candy bars. Would I be subject to a lawsuit? Most likely. A silly example, yes, but it’s the point I’m trying to make. Don’t take federal dollars, and then get angry when they’re going to make you give your employees equal rights.
“However, if that Christian scientist, or Catholic employer, or whatever business wants to operate as a BUSINESS and receive certain federal funding, then they need to offer their employees the same benefits that any other business is required to.”
Yes, and that’s how the federal government rigs the game so that you have to capitulate to their demands, or else play on less than an equal playing field with other businesses/charities (by declining federal funding.) By the way, I believe the HHS Mandate applies to businesses whether they receive any federal funding or not.
If the HHS wanted to provide free contraception to all, that would be gravely immoral, but they could have done that without forcing a business, charity, or church to provide it against their conscience. They chose to trample on religious (or other) conscience rights, anyway.
“Separation of Church and State” is not in the Constitution. It was used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to some Baptists, and the sense of the usage is that the government will not interfere with religion. The vast majority of the Founders realized that religion was the very foundation of this audacious experiment. As John Adams stated, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Now, some misguided souls may have twisted the meaning of Jefferson’s phrase into something else entirely, but this is not the intent of the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves at our instituting a Least Common Denominator mentality.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That’s the first amendment, that most certainly is in the constitution. It essentially states, STAY AWAY from religion.
All law and legislation is informed by morality. If you have a government that taxes for education, you are in essence saying it is good and moral that citizens have a state funded education. Supporting same-sex marriage is imposing a morality that says there is no fundamental difference between the sexes, they are interchangeable. It can be defended, but it is folly to feign “neutrality” or “separation of church and state” –> it is its own very radical moral view and it too is being imposed on everyone. The question is which moral view is correct.
A couple of thought here, for clarification. Keyleigh, the Catholic Church does not proscribe the use of hormonal contraceptives for uses other than preventing conception. The evil does not exist in the thing itself, but in the purpose for which it’s used. You can use a knife to cut bread or kill a man. The evil is not in the knife. I don’t know, frankly, whether Catholic institutions refuse to pay for contraceptives even when used for other medical purposes, but it seems to me this could be something easily worked out.
Wendy, it’s a common misconception that the HHS mandate is linked to federal funding. It’s not. Catholic schools, which receive no federal funding ordinarily, are also obliged to follow the mandate. Even if every Catholic institution decided today to stop receiving federal funding, they would still be obliged to follow the mandate. At the same time, however, receiving federal funds shouldn’t mean sacrificing your identity. Or, if it does, that should be made clear before the funds are applied for or offered.
Bob…good thoughts and prospective. I just want to say that surgical abortions are down not because of a cultural push. But because of contraceptive push….some of which cause chemical abortions. More and more contraceptives have become available/effective. As long as our government chooses to push contraception (and Christians ignore this), we simply will not shake abortion.
I couldn’t agree more that our answers are not with either of these parties, but in Christ alone. Keep up your leadership in the faith.
I’m sorry but religious freedom is just that – the freedom to practice whatever religion you want or none at all. Religious freedom does not mean imposing your belief system on everyone else. Go and practice whatever it is you believe in and follow the rules of your religion and be happy. Don’t try to force others into your system.
If Catholics are forced to pay for birth control, then they are not allowed to practice their religion. Catholics are not trying to impose their religion on others but uphold it for themselves. Where is the freedom?
I think that it was very telling that over 50% of self-identified Catholics voted for Obama. In the New Testament Gospels, Jesus’ entire message is about Love and charity. “But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him?” 1 John 3:17 And nowhere in the New Testament is there any word about homosexuality. The role of government should be to protect the citizens of this great nation. Protecting and taking care of the poor in this nation with so called entitlement programs is one aspect of this that Mitt Romney said he would get rid of. Just as gay people are also citizens of this country and are kept from some the rights and responsibilities that heterosexual people enjoy. Just at interracial marriage discrimination went by the wayside, so will gay marriage discrimination. As for abortion – all killing is wrong. That goes for unborn babies, the death penalty, and war.
there is no word in the bible against homosexuality? You must have read a different bible than mine.
I’d read that a bit more carefully – Andy said “nowhere in the New Testament is there any word about homosexuality”, not “there is no word in the bible against homosexuality”. In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus never once condemned homosexuality. For some people, Jesus’ teachings were the most important because the New Testament signified a change to the agreement between Man and God due to the intervention of Jesus Christ. However, if you still take the commands in the Old Testament into consideration, God condemned homosexuality. It’s all a matter of which book you give precedence.
Try reading Romans 1:26-32. St. Paul makes it pretty clear.
Thank You Bob – Authentic, Articulate and inspiring!
Just what I needed! Thanks!
Requiring everyone to behave as if they are part of your religion is the opposite of religious freedom. Religious freedom is why we should allow gay marriage, universal access to contraceptives and even abortion. Making abortion illegal would require every individual to follow the beliefs of the Christian church voiding any sense of religious freedom. You need to realize that the laws allowing you to hold your own beliefs are the same ones allowing me to hold mine whatever they may be.
For those of you making comments such as ” the government should not be making moral decisions for every citizen” – think about that for a minute. Isn’t that what the government is for? What do you think laws are? Isn’t murder a moral issue, and doesn’t the government have laws against murder?
Another statement I find terrifying if you really think about it is “it is the right of every individual in this country to find happiness and celebrate love in any form they choose.” Why is this so scary? Because if you truly mean that, then you are potentially open to condoning bestiality and pedophilia as well. No? Okay, so then you ARE imposing your morality on other people (i.e. pedophiles and people who “love” animals). You’re saying that it is okay to “celebrate love” through marriage as long as it is between two adults, regardless of sex or sexual orientation. But that is still excluding people (i.e. siblings who want to get married – and yes, that does happen).
Think about these things before you start criticizing. Government is meant to impose morality and laws governing morality for good reason.
Murder is an issue because it imposes on someone else’s human rights. Pedophila and beastiality imposes on children’s human rights and animal’s rights. We recognize thst it is wrong because it is in our nature. Not because the bible told us it was wrong. That’s common sense. That’s not having “morale”; that’s being a decent human being. Sheesh.
Right, and it’s the same with abortion and same-sex marriage. Nature tells us that the sexes were designed for each other, and that children are much better off with a father and a mother. Our consciences also tell us that it is deeply wrong to murder your own children. You are completely correct that only common sense is required, not religious teachings, for these points.
Thanks Bob so much for this. Whenever I read an article or commentary such as this one and am just drawn to the truth in all of it and then later read a comment from someone (many times an intelligent atheist type) who thinks it’s all wrong it makes me believe that I am inching towards my prayer of detachment from this life and living for God and His plan, His purpose. There was a time not so long ago that I would have sided with the critics of your blog entry. Thank you Jesus that I see! FYI, I used to live in Latham NY and attended St Ambrose. You and your music were such a blessing to me then. I only discovered your blog through a facebook friend’s post. Blessings!
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ This passage not only includes the unborn! I am Catholic and I voted for Obama because I feel his party does more to sustain our country’s more vulnerable populations and the environment.
There is so much ignorance here and it’s so funny because you think you’re the one being restricted from religious freedom. And yet, it’s your beliefs that you are trying to instill on other people and into this government, one that was founded on religious freedom and will remain freed from religion (as government should be) by democrats and people like Obama and Biden, who believe in God but RECOGNIZE that laws are not based on beliefs of a religion. Same sex marriage is a HUMAN right. It is none of your business as to whether a man can marry a man or a woman can marry a woman. As a person who believes in God MYSELF, it makes me sad that so many Christians harp about religious freedom and then try to implement their beliefs into politics. People think we are so wicked and so doomed, and you know what I think? I think you guys are the ones suffering. You miss out on witnessing true love, irregardless of gender! You miss out on the joys of acceptance, and togetherness despite religious belief! You think we are the ones who are wrong, that’s fine. But I don’t think you are wrong. I just think you are sadly, sadly mistaken.
Great article. Kaleigh, you said you believe in freedom of speech and of religion. So, now in MN, do you realize that priests and pastors who preach about various sins (such as unfaithfulness, adultery and such) from the pulpit in their churches will be prosecuted and sent to prison for teaching what they believe, according to their religion, is the truth? What about the “vote yes” signs that were stolen from our yard in the past few weeks…what if I want to teach the truth to my friends and neighbors? I’ll be going to prison also. if you truly believed in freedom of speech and of religion you would have voted differently. God bless you.
Gonna need some sources on this one.
Susan, you are definitely mixed up. The no vote didn’t change a thing. When my partner and I woke up this morning, it was the same as every other morning. We still can’t get married. Your priest/pastor still cannot be prosecuted for teaching what they believe, you can stand on the corner of Hennepin and 2nd and quote from your bible to any passers-by and you will not be taken to prison. As for your “vote yes” signs, I’m truly sorry they were stolen. Signs on both sides of this amendment were stolen and it was the wrong thing to do for ANYONE who did it. Stealing is wrong and you are entitled to your opinions. That is why this amendment was such a big deal here; because we were all encouraged by our respective sides to go out and spread the word and have conversations. Thank God you live in a society where your voice can be heard and not stifled. This ability has not and will not be taken away from you simply because the vote was “NO.” The fact that you are saying your priest/preacher or you will end up in prison because you exercise your freedom of speech is only proof that the misleading and false “ads” put forth by the MN for Marriage campaign have succeeded, in some small way, of fostering fear of another human being in the hearts of those who are called to be GOD-fearing….not people-fearing.
God bless you, Susan.
Though we don’t know each other, we have many friends in common including my own daughter at FUS. I concur completely with you and praise God for your eloquence in delivering the Truth. Personally, I am rejuvinated by today’s outcome. Had Romney won, many souls on earth would simply be ticked off. But God loves them all too much. He is allowing this travesty to take each of them to the full consequences of their actions. Only then will they likely turn back to HIm. We all must continue to pray and fast and stand by our fellow human race, begging God’s grace through prayer and action, and praying for the many who have fallen away. God Bless you and your work!!
Though we don’t know each other, we have many friends in common including my own daughter at FUS. I concur completely with you and praise God for your eloquence in delivering the Truth. Personally, I am rejuvinated by today’s outcome. Had Romney won, many souls on earth would simply be ticked off. But God loves them all too much. I believe He may be allowing this travesty to take each of them to the full consequences of their actions. Only then will they likely turn back to HIm. We all must continue to pray and fast and stand by our fellow human race, begging God’s grace through prayer and action, and praying for the many who have fallen away. God Bless you and your work!!
Just want to jump into this conversation for a second. You may or may not know, but I have it set up that I need to approve every comment posted on this site—even the ones I disagree with (if it doesn’t happen right away, that could also mean I’m working or something crazy like that.) But I’m not posting the ones that I are filled with vulgarity and insults. We’re talking about serious issues and I don’t have a problem with people being passionate about their beliefs, but I encourage everyone to be respectful.
Below is the cleaned up version of my original post.
>Respect religious freedom
So you’re being forced to convert to another religion? No? Well you must be being forced to stop practicing your religion in private right? Not that either? It must be that you’re being persecuted and jailed for your beliefs? Land taken away, family attacked, murdered, even, for them? No? Not even a little bit?
Then you have religious freedom. You still have every right guaranteed to you by the Bill of Rights while the people YOU discriminate against do not.
The First Amendment of the Constitution applies to freedom FROM religion as well.
Freedom from religious people preventing two consenting adults from having the same tangible benefits of civil unions that heterosexual couples have. The same religious people that used the same arguments against interracial marriage and before that for slavery.
Freedom from religion determining that living the gender you want to live should be illegal.
Freedom from scientific fact being thrown aside in the name of Jesus or Mohammad or Brahman or Shiva.
Freedom from people who ignore thousands of years of evidence because they’re too blind believing ‘God works in mysterious ways’ is the answer to every question.
Freedom from those who are more concerned with interpreting 1 to 10 thousand year old fables and morals as fact.
Freedom from people who indoctrinate their children into believing the lies that have been making America the laughing stock of the world. They’re not laughing at us over our liberal economic policies or ‘Socialist’ healthcare, they’re mocking our conservative RELIGIOUS education and our backwards policies and norms regarding religion in politics. You never hear ‘God bless Sweden’ or ‘I’ll pray for Paris’ or none of that in other countries because religion shouldn’t matter in 21st century politics.
So thank you for believing that a condition that I had no part in causing should exclude me from health and life.
That making the decision to be true to myself instead of suicidal over hiding who I truly am should exclude me from the right to love and be happy and raise kids.
That believing in Jesus is more important than questioning and understanding the world around you.
That helping others help themselves is less important than providing handouts to those who have already made it.
That making war in other countries in the name of God is a great, positive thing.
And you know, I used to say “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” But then I read more about him. He supported the ‘old laws’. The possession of ‘lower’ men and all women. Stoning and death for petty ‘crimes’. Stuff that not even you can support (or, if you do, you should be put in a mental institution). I still agree Christians are so unlike Christ, but I no longer support Christ or his teachings, and certainly not the interpretations and actions based thereof.
Thanks for cleaning up this reply. You asked for a direct reply and I will give it—unfortunately the circumstances of my life right now doesn’t give me the time right now to respond to your points (leaving work, parent-teacher conferences tonight, etc.) I will, but it will probably be tomorrow.
You cover a number of issues here. Each one could be it’s own blog, and perhaps in the future they will. And while I’m certain I won’t convince you about my way of thinking in a blog reply, I think there might be a few things I can speak to.
First, I’m grateful that you’ve looked into what Christ actually teaches. As you know, many water Him down to “He told us to love everybody” and don’t realize that He challenged His followers to live to a high level. Though you can’t throw the “stoning” part in there (John 8.) As a follower of Christ, I’m sorry our witness has fallen short of Him, and that you’re not that impressed by Him, either.
Am I being persecuted or jailed for my beliefs? No—not yet. But it’s not far fetched. What if Catholic institutions, like the one I work for, refuse to comply with the HHS mandate. They’ll be heavily fined. What if they don’t pay that fine? Someone will go to jail. Or, what if, by paying that fine, they have to lay people off because they can’t make payroll? I, or friends of mine, could lose their job. So in that scenario, which is real, I could lose my job or people I know could go to jail because of what we believe.
Also, as you may know, in England even teaching that marriage should only be for a man and a woman can be considered a hate crime. There have been people fined and jailed for that as well. So those are the “stakes” that I see, from my perspective.
When it comes to same sex marriage, I don’t believe that the government has the right to define what that is. Again, I’m not as much trying to convince but explain my perspective. Marriage existed long before governments were established. Governments created laws to protect marriages, not define them. But if the government abolished all marriages tomorrow, I’d still be married.
I appreciate life-long commitments made between two people of the same sex. I don’t deny there isn’t deep love and affection there. But I believe (as the Catholic Church also teaches) that sex was created for two reasons: 1) to bring two people together and 2) to create life. True sexual acts embrace both of these important points. This is also why I’m opposed to birth control. Of course, the world has already redefined sex as something that can occur between same sex partners. You mention we should be able to choose our own sex, but I believe that is a false notion of “choice” and our gender is more than our genitals.
While it might be nice to imagine a world where I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe and we can go our separate ways… that’s not the way it works, is it? Like it or not, we’re in a community together. Though I never went on a crusade to knock on the doors of gay couples to tell them to stop what they’re doing, a few years ago I went to a voting booth as was asked to vote on if I thought same sex marriage should be legalized. Not believing this was a right of government, I voted no. I wasn’t being hateful to people with same sex attractions. You might argue I was trying to impose my beliefs on others—but isn’t that what happens with every vote in a democracy?
If we knew each other in real life, we might find lots of things we mutually agree on. But it’s the nature of a blog to sometimes single out the negative and dwell on that. That’s unfortunate, because that can turn dialog into diatribe. I hope you take these comments as they were intended and with no malice. We live in a divided country, but if we lose the ability to discuss what is most important to us, then we are truly in danger of becoming the Divided States of America. Thanks for taking the time to post.
The Catholic Church is not about imposing our faith on other people. I, as a Catholic, would not support a law that required businesses to be closed on Sunday because Jewish, Muslim, and owners of other faiths have no reason to accept that law. I, as a Catholic, would not support a law that required all food shops to refrain from selling meat on Fridays in Lent because no other religion or denominations besides Catholicism and Orthodoxy believe that. It is wrong for a Catholic to eat meat on Friday; it’s not wrong for a Lutheran or an atheist or a host of other belief systems. It is probably not advisable for a Christian to have their store open on Sunday; a Muslim or Jew or atheist would not be doing anything wrong in the same situation, though.
This isn’t about “imposing our religion.” Abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage aren’t wrong “because of our religion.” They are wrong because they go against the dignity of the human person and the dignity of the family. They are wrong for EVERYONE, whether a person realizes it or not. Even if you disagree with us, that’s the argument we are making. It’s not a religion thing. It’s a human thing. Because it is a human thing, it is in the scope of the government to have laws regarding it.
>They are wrong because they go against the dignity of the human person and the dignity of the family.
… as defined by religion. You’re contradicting yourself. Tell me precisely what the negative side effects of granting LGBT rights are without invoking religion.
>They are wrong for EVERYONE, whether a person realizes it or not.
Again, you’re saying that you know better than any individual person. If two consenting adults want the same protection and rights as any other two consenting adults, why shouldn’t they have them? Because you say so? Well I say that practicing religion is destroying this country, but I can’t enforce that, nor would I want to. The same could be said about abortion. What gives you the right to control a woman’s body?
Contraception does not go against human and family dignity. If a family cannot afford to feed clothe and house 6 children then having access to contraception actually supports the family that already exists. Additionally gay couples are completely natural in that they are actual people and actually gay and they have dignity, and also create families!. Gay is found in nature all the time in animals and plants. About abortion – I’ll say it again – ALL killing is wrong – 6th Commandment – which applies to all killing including war and the death penalty.
Thanks for an insightful post today, Bob. I’ve been looking for hope today because I am so disheartened by the U.S. voters, particularly by Catholic voters. I am trying to make sense of how practicing Catholics, even some involved in ministry, can enthusiastically endorse Obama. Thoughts???
Abortion doesn’t just affect a woman’s body. 50% of the genes in the child (fetus if you prefer) came form a source outside of the woman. Abortion affects both a woman’s body and the body of another person. Does a woman’s body have fours hands, four feet, and four eyes? No, the second set of hands, feet, and eyes belong to a distinct and separate individual, even if it is residing within the woman’s body.
The problem, AAP, is that precisely what has been happening in our culture will continue to happen. Marriage, sex, and babies are supposed to go together. When on a grand-scale, you separate one of those things from the other two, you have something that harms our culture. Children have been born out of wedlock from time immemorial, but it was always looked at as a negative thing. Now it’s just an “alternative family” and is, in many sectors is viewed as normal. Same-sex marriage is problematic for the same reason.
You say that same sex partners deserve all the same rights as a man and a woman in marriage. Why? What benefit can a same sex marriage give to our society that warrants special benefits? Why should same sex couple get benefits but “best friends for life” don’t, roomates don’t, siblings don’t, cousins don’t? There is no compelling reason for government to be involved in granting special rights to a same sex couple.
For a marriage between a man and a woman, however, there is a compelling reason. Families are the bedrock of our society. When families suffer, our whole society suffers. Marriage between a man and a woman grants children the best opportunity to be raised in a healthy, stable environment. A child has the best chance to be raised healthy and happy when raised by his/her biological parents, both of them. A child is more likely to be abused when being raised by a step-parent or when one of the parents has a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend. Adoption is a great option when it is necessary… but it is still unfortunate that it is ever necessary.
That’s why there isn’t a positive reason, and now the negative reason. Couples normally want to have a child/children with the person they love. That is a very human reaction. For most heterosexual couples, that happens in the natural way. For same sex couples, there is no natural way for them to conceive a child between them. So what do they do? Some will adopt a child who could not be raised by their parents. Controversial, but I won’t comment since there is a lot of debate about how that works out for the child. But it doesn’t stop there. Now, it is becoming more and more normal for the couple to seek out a way to create a child of their very own. In this case, they are INTENDING to bring a child into this world who will not be raised by one of his/her biological children. It’s become so normal that two shows on major networks (that I know of) have raised the issue. Modern Family had an episode about it last season. The New Normal is based completely around this concept.
By the way, this isn’t just a same sex couple thing. Surrogate motherhood, sperm donation, all of those things fall on the same lines and all of them should be condemned. Children have the right to be raised by their biological parents; it doesn’t always happen, unfortunately, but we need to remove all things that intentionally cause it. We need to find ways to bring down the divorce rate for the same reason. I might, for example, be in favor of laws not recognizing a second marriage (for the purpose of benefits) between a couple if one or both of them have a child unless there was some compelling reason for the divorce (like abuse).
All of this is because recognizing marriage is NOT ABOUT THE ADULTS. It’s about WHAT IS BEST FOR THE CHILDREN. That’s the part that we have forgotten. Children need to be protected by their adult guardians… but we have made relationships and our laws regarding marriage about the adults involved and their feelings. It’s time to wake up, grow up, and act like adults.
P.S. – Notice that I said nothing about religion in this entire post.
I’m reminded of this http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/the-wrong-side-of-history specifically where Cardinal George is quoting himself
‘Speaking a few years ago to a group of priests, entirely outside of the current political debate, I was trying to express in overly dramatic fashion what the complete secularization of our society could bring. I was responding to a question and I never wrote down what I said, but the words were captured on somebody’s smart phone and have now gone viral on Wikipedia and elsewhere in the electronic communications world. I am (correctly) quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: “His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” What I said is not “prophetic” but a way to force people to think outside of the usual categories that limit and sometimes poison both private and public discourse.’
We are in the world, not of it, and if one looks at the cycles of history, he can see where it is currently headed. I think as American’s we viewed ourselves as a ‘new isreal’ blessed and protected. I’d point out that never is life, society, economics, etc stable. Rather it is always like a boat on the sea going up and down and moving. Some times, it is rough and other times it is calm. – AC
Bob…I cannot understand how some people can read what other people write and get so offended. You wrote what you wanted to write. Period. I wouldn’t bother answering your critics because obviously they don’t agree with you. Just pray for them and continue to write what you want to write.
Dolores, you’re so sweet! I’m not great with the blogging thing and I do get worried what ends up on the site. But I’m always hoping some dialog might be a better witness in some way, plant a seed, do some good…
Hey everyone, I’m out the rest of the night and I’m not able to monitor comments. But thanks for this discussion.