27 October 2008
Luke 21: 8-36
I had the privilege to speak to one of the successors of the apostles a few weeks ago. The subject of the election came up, and I asked him about his take on the situation. The answer was immediate, sobering, and amounted to this:
If a certain anti-life candidate wins, there may be a persecution of the Catholic Church.
This sounds very dramatic, of course. But is it fantastic? Consider:
Against the relentless march of the culture of death there has been--there is-- only one institution that consistently defends life.
Only one that defends life consistently, and insistently.
Only one that is global. Universal. "Catholic".
Only one with a universally acknowledged and authoritative leader whose positions and message, however garbled and confused by those within and without the organization, are noted and feared by the architects of the global culture of death.
And most importantly, there is only one institution that is the Church founded by the real Lord of History, the King of Kings, and only one that is the Body and Bride of Christ. For this battle is not of flesh and blood, but with the "powers and principalities of this present darkness."
This one institution is the Catholic Church.
And the importance of this moment-- at least for the Church in the U.S., but possibly with repercussions around the world-- is palpable. You can feel it. The scandal of modern America-- its determination to exterminate its unborn citizens in massive numbers and in new and ever more diabolical ways-- has reached a crossroads moment. Either the Church's belated but surprisingly vigorous attempt to catechize her members and discipline her erring member politicians works to avoid the upcoming potential catastrophe, or it doesn't.
Either way, there will be serious consequences for the Church.
If she succeeds in derailing the anointing of Obama, her role in the defeat will result in an even more palpable hatred and resentment by the proponents of the death culture, who will seek to punish her in time.
If she fails, it will be worse. The Church will be seen as having tried in a massive way to sway the votes of her members, and yet still have failed. The Biden-Pelosi-McCaskill position that each Catholic politician can decide for himself what the Church teaches will be confirmed. Note that this is different than the old, also intellectually bankrupt position of "I'm personally opposed, but...". This is an open disagreement with the Church on what the Church's doctrines actually are. And because this view will be confirmed, and the Church that opposed it will have failed, she will be seen as weak, and ripe for punishment.
How will this be manifested? Without claiming to predict the future, here is what I submit to be one possible scenario. Obama is a friend of supra-national governance. Certainly the UN leadership hopes he wins. He will support the ratification of several UN treaties that will attack the foundations of the sanctity of family life (as this must-read post states in detail); these treaties will promote and protect from potential state regulation abortion, will effectively outlaw homeschooling, will infringe on parental rights to education, religion, and child discipline, will enact a scheme of global taxation where U.S. citizens will pay taxes to international groups, and will allow U.S. citizens to be tried before international courts for acts that aren't necessarily crimes in the U.S. but are in some other country. These treaties, if ratified by the Senate, will have the force of law and will, when in conflict, supersede the Constitution of the United States.
If his party gains a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate, as seems possible, no minority opposition could stop objectionable bills regarding homosexual marriage, abortion, embryonic stem cell research or any other issue of concern. This same Senate will vote to confirm Supreme Court appointments, and we are looking at 2-4 possible vacancies.
And should the Church, in her leaders or her members, try to oppose any of this, they will be targeted.
If you are a pharmacist who won't fill prescriptions for contraceptives or other abortifacients, you will face punishment and civil liabilities. If you are an employer who won't cover insurance for the same, ditto.
If you are a priest or Bishop who dares preach on the intrinsic evil of sodomy, you will face fines and imprisonment for hate speech.
If you are a parent who wants to homeschool, you must surrender your children to the government's plan, or face losing them.
The Church herself will face the prospect of losing tax-exempt status for speaking the truth. Will she be forced to accept women "priests" under some bastardized reading of the equal protection clause? Or else be shut down? Will there be a "patriotic" U.S. "Catholic" church and the real, underground Church?
Let the Tudor persecution of the Church in England or the current persecution of the Church in China be your guide to imagining just how this could happen.
Do you think I am being unreasonable? Why are so many Bishops finally speaking out forcefully for life, and the voting responsibilities of Catholics--even ones who were fairly timid before? Abortion did not burst on the scene this year. Or this decade. They know this election is fraught with peril. The enemies of life know that the Church is the only force strong enough (or potentially strong enough) to effectively oppose them. For them, she must be defeated, and utterly.
There isn't a perfect alternative in the political parties and candidates this time around. But there is a perfectly unacceptable one.
The Church stands for life. Will you stand with her? Or will you be one of the long line of compromisers and rationalizers brought forth and forgotten again by history? Are you willing to stand, really stand, for your faith? We are all coming to the test.