…And None Of It Seems Good
Took them a while to talk it over, but it sounds like the Catholic Bishops came to the same conclusion we did regarding Obama’s “compromise” on the HHS mandate. This an oter actions by the administration caused Congressman J Randy Forbes to pen an op-ed for the Washington Times and say:
The tide has turned, and we have begun to see the emergence of a state-created orthodoxy. It deems support for traditional marriage unacceptable. It discredits those who believe that life begins at conception. It disfavors their faith — held for centuries by their predecessors — and creates a regulatory framework to prevent them from fully participating in the public square.
When the government says, “You can believe whatever you want, but you will be penalized if you exercise those beliefs,” we have entered dangerous territory.
I agree, and more it is a clear violation of church and state. That “barrier was designed to preserve religion, but it has become a very one way thing. Government continual intrudes on religion, as the HHS mandate clearly demonstrates, but it religion has to be kept in its box when it comes to forces acting in reverse.
Take for example this Dan Merica piece at the CNN Belief Blog on Presidents and the use of religious language. It is essentially apologia for Obama participating in the National Prayer Breakfast, as if that needs apologetic. On the one hand, religious expression is treated as mere tiechnique:
Religious and presidential scholars told CNN that while some critics may question whether events like the prayer breakfast blur the line between separation of church and state, the use of religious language helps presidents connect with the people they were elected to lead.
But some of the experts “get it”
“The fact that a president alludes to biblical passages or quotes the Bible or overt expression of religious faith, is par for the course,” Smith [Prof at George Mason U] concluded. “It can be both a public ministry of healing and a personal expression of faith that however bad things are now, they are part of a large plan that ultimately is better.”
I think that encapsulates it pretty well. The disconnect between Obama’s religious rhetoric and his administrations actions make plain that is rhetoric is mere technique. But the best of the presidency has used religiosity as a source of hope that they then passed on to the nation. Hope is certainly something I could use a bit more of right now.
The technique we see in Obama is truly troubling. He only gets away with it because of media bias. And that bias is everywhere. It has even crept into sports reporting. Hugh Hewitt’s interview with the reporter that did the SI hit piece on Christianity and football is fascinating. The guy had some points about football, but so completely misunderstood Christianity and misunderstood how the Christian individual participates in football, that his good points just got lost in the noise.
But lets go back to hope. Here is a link to John J Miller’s NRO Interview with Jonathon Last on his new book, “What To Expect When No One’s Expecting.” I have not had time to watch the Miller interview, but I did hear Last interviewed by Dennis Prager and Last has a startling conclusion. Of course, the book is about declining birth rates. Last found that the highest birth rates were amongst the religious. He pointed to statistics that having a child makes couples demonstrably unhappier and more financially burdened and concluded that only a frame of reference that included something larger than self, which is something only religion can provide, is the only thing that can motivate reproduction. He went out of his way to say it was not a matter of theological formulation, but simply the understanding that there is more than our individual wants and desires.
That is something this blog has contended for a long time.
Turns out hope is a major ingredient of the American success recipe and religion is the best source of hope. But we cannot sell the false hope that we so often see these days – the hope that WE are good – that’s just more individualism. We have to sell the hope born of our failure that sees our salvation – for then we are truly reliant on that bigger thing.