drbonebrake writes "
OPINION – On 4 Jul 2012, the Petheos blog published the transcript of a homily delivered by Archbishop Chaput at a mass conducted on 4 Jul 2012 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. The homily was presented as a concluding statement to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sponsored “Fortnight for Freedom” which was designed to raise awareness of government encroachment upon the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
The first person to comment upon the message of the homily stated, "The larger context of the message hides the kernel of rebellion, by the Church, against the very Constitution of the United States. This message is a clarion call for the total overthrow of our civil society and the institution of a Catholic Theocracy in the United States. We cannot, in good conscience, ever allow this to happen."
Of course, the meaning of words are often in the eye of the beholder, but it was difficult for me to see how the commenter drew the conclusions made in his statement from the same homily I had just read. I was moved to make my own comment to the comment which read:
[Archbishop Chaput's homily] was hardly “a clarion call for the total overthrow of our civil society” or rebellion “against the very Constitution of the States.” In fact it is a reminder that if we do not stand up for our religious liberty as it is guaranteed by the Constitution, we will lose what our founders fought so hard to establish. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...” How is it, then, that when citizens claim their right to the free exercise of their religious belief they are rebellious?
Archbishop Chaput is quite correct, we fulfill our responsibilities as citizens when we seek to live by the teaching of Christ, for He told us that the two greatest of commandments are to love God and one another. Jesus said, “The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:40)
What I find frightening is a government which does not respect life, despite its reference in the very declaration which established our nation. Our founders stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
How is this, then, different from Archbishop Chaput’s statement, “Real freedom isn’t something Caesar can give or take away. He can interfere with it; but when he does, he steals from his own legitimacy.” Rebellious? Hardly. A clarion call? Yes. It is a clarion call to defend the very foundations of our Constitution and the rights upon which it is based; the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness granted to us by our Creator.
I have noticed the tone of the commenter appears in several places in opposition to the efforts by the Catholic Bishops to raise awareness as to government intrusions upon our religious freedoms. I suspect that as Catholics stand up for their religious rights, there will be more attempts to portray them as threatening the Constitution rather than being defenders of it.
Secularists only see the, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," portion of the First Amendment and ignore the, "or prohibit the free exercise thereof;..." portion. Secularists have attempted to convince the nation that the First Amendment is a guarantee of "freedom from religion," but by any reading of the framers, our nation was founded upon the liberty which guarantees "freedom of religion." If we do not stand up to remind our government of their responsibility to provide for our liberty, we shall surely lose it. Archbishop Chaput's words are not the voice of rebellion, rather, it is a voice inviting all citizens to hold our government accountable to their responsibility to guarantee the Constitutional rights of all Americans and the unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Patheos (4 Jul 2012)
Bill of Rights
Declaration of Independence
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (5 Jul 2012)