By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Upon the ascendancy of Barak Obama to the Presidency, Catholic Bishops in the United States have proclaimed a Holy War and are on the attack at getting Catholic values into the White House. Specifically, with the Rise of the Democratic Party, Catholic Bishops fear their crusade against abortion rights will be lost. Amen to that.
The issue of abortion is long settled in the United States. We have come to the point where our national attitude about the subject is, “if you don’t like abortions, don’t have one.” Our focus on education and providing alternatives to pregnancy has been the greatest weapon in the war defending free choice and individual privacy. Abortion is a sorry afterthought and in nearly all cases, the choice of last resort.
But the Catholic Bishops cannot let it go. Ignoring the centuries long criminal cover-up in their own house, these Bishops have gone on the offensive. Ranging from demanding penance from those who voted for Obama or threatening reporters and expelling Obama voting parishoners or even refusing communion to Obama voters, American Bishops vow to hound the Obama Administration on the subject of abortion. Simply put, the Bishops are now going to Holy War against their own followers and the American government unless we relent to their ideology.
My own position is that I could care less. On the subject of abortion, I also feel that if you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. At the same time I fully recognize the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the Bishops and their legions to believe in whatever religious ethos they desire. I am not the person to judge another’s belief system nor pass opinion upon its’ values.
What I am is an American and one fully familiar with the giant wall that separates civilian government from and church. Frankly and bluntly put, the Catholic Bishops should keep their mission focused on their church and to stay out of the civil arena. There is no role for religion in politics. Whenever policy or law starts with the premise that “God said”, that automatically disqualifies the law or policy as being against our Founder’s intent. Let the Bishops save our souls in their Churches and let Obama save our nation in the White House.
At its’ core, this new Holy War is a War on Birthdays. No longer relevant, birthdays are now just recognizing that you survived one more trip around the sun. It has always been understood that to an American, the date you were expunged from your mother’s womb was the most important date in your life. According to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, all your rights and privileges as an American immediately attached the moment of your birth. But the Bishops want that to change the date of your birth is a meaningless event. Bishops want us to no longer recognize birthdays but instead should start celebrating ‘Conception Day’. That, after all, is the penultimate moment when your life began. Passing through the birth canal is deemed by the Bishops to be a non-event and just part of the process.
All across America, “rights” and legal protections are being extended by State Legislatures beyond the moment of birth. Governments are reaching all the way up the birth canal to attach protections at the moment of conception. For example: “In Arkansas, lawmakers are considering making it a crime for a pregnant woman to take a drag off a cigarette. In Utah, a woman serves 18 months' probation for child endangerment after refusing to undergo a Caesarean section to save her twins, one of whom died. In Wisconsin and South Dakota, authorities can haul pregnant women into custody for abusing alcohol or drugs. And July 1 in Alabama, Brody's Law took effect. It enables prosecutors to level two charges against anyone who attacks a pregnant woman and harms her fetus.” Here in Onondaga County, our own District Attorney has likewise brought charges against a woman whose baby was born with cocaine in its system.
In recognizing that a fetus has civil rights beyond those of its mother and an independent right to protection of the law is a serious threat to a woman’s privacy. By creating a cause of action whereby a fetus can turn on its own mother for injuries suffered by the fetus allegedly due to negligence of the mother, all pregnant women risk not only toxemia, getting fat, and other physical disabilities, but now have to live in infinite fear that their baby will sue them for any defect. That, and pregnant women will have to live in hiding and seclusion for fear that someone or some police officer may disagree with a lifestyle choice alleging it could harm the fetus. What will we do with children born with birth defects? How much civil and criminal liability will we attach to the Mother for actions she could have taken to prevent the injury?
More importantly, by extending legal and civil protections up into the womb, we strip a woman of her humanity and turn her into an incubator for some form of magical and special prize that is more important to the State than is the mother.
Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, and Benjamin Franklin all spoke and fought for the same values I hold dear today. Not a one of them would ever have agreed that social morality, evangelical Christianity, or even the notion of spreading “freedom” was among the foundations of this nation. We are seeing today a spreading Christian revolution, run by very aggressive zealots that has rooted its evangelical dogma in the heartland of America.
A “Christian” nation is a good thing; if you are a Christian. But the concept that we can spread Democracy like we spread Parkay is replacing Mr. Jefferson’s teachings with those of the Bible. “Freedom” and “Democracy” should never be forced upon someone. Such concepts or desires cannot come from outside. The zeal and desire for freedom has to come from within a society and rise up as the chains fall. To assume that we can be a people who will spread freedom throughout the world is dangerous. Worse still is how the teachings of Christ have replaced the teachings of liberty.
What bothers me about a Christian nation is how Christianity is so hard-core multi-theistic. I see a religion premised upon concepts of fear, oppression, intimidation, and the use of violence to spread their dogma. Christianity, as an institution, seems to not be capable of thriving in quiet and peace with its neighbors. Somewhere in the dogma is a desire and zeal to save the souls of others and to bring others into the flock. Those who choose not to join are damned for all eternity and will rot in the darkest bowels of hell. Muslim Jihadists will just kill you. Christians condemn you for all eternity.
These are a people of fear. They are afraid of the devil. They fear their own God. Christians fear gay marriage, drugs, immigrants, the human form, and mini skirts. They are afraid their neighbors are drinking too much or having unconventional sex. It bothers Christians if “different” people want to marry their daughters or want to follow a different religion.
Mostly what Christians seem to fear is death. I am not sure whether it is the process of dying or what happens beyond death that is their main concern. But the entirety of their belief system surrounds concepts of being afraid of death. Do ye not dare to transgress against God on this earth lest ye suffer eternal damnation. "Death” is a concept that runs throughout their scripture and lurks in the deepest recesses of their hearts. This concept is what Muslim extremists manipulate to rile up Christian anger and fear.
Christians have been coming out in droves in the past elections and subjected the majority of us to their minority worldviews. They demand safety from terrorism, safety from gays, safety from activist judges, and safety from lawyers. (Good luck on that last one). Christians in America are afraid; and for that reason alone they stand toe-to-toe with the President on Iraq, the are solid behind the Patriot Act and Illegal Wiretapping, Imprisonment with rights, and Torture -- and they don’t give a damn who suffers in the process. To Christians, George Bush came to save them from a bad and mean world. Behind his skirts, they can all hid. The whole of the Republican Party built itself upon the backs of religious zealots and gave them disproportionate power to set policy. Today the Party is paying that price. Americans don’t like God being their governor.
America’s Bishops should step aside and take their Holy War back to their pulpits. Our government must be off-limits to the Bishop’s influence and intimidation. We cannot tolerate a Church demanding civil authority yield to their demands. Americans are not to be prisoners of a single ancient belief system. We are the chalice in which dreams of freedom and liberty FROM religion have been placed. The Knights of the Church will stand down.
Otherwise let Hallmark get busy generating a new holiday … Conception Day … and let us Rejoice; as we recall the freedoms of years long ago.