At War With Religious Liberty





If we needed any further proof that the Obama Administration has nothing but contempt for religious liberty, Father Z provides this story.  His comments are in red:



Military Chaplains Sue Over Harassment, Attack on Christian Faith by Bethany Monk

Those who serve our country often greet reveilles before the sunrise. They don the uniform. They represent our country, and they continue to make sacrifice after sacrifice. With the onslaught of government intrusion on religious freedom, some of them are dealing with egregious attacks on their personal faith.

A legal group on Friday filed suit on behalf of two military chaplains. According to the suit, a supervisor with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mocked their Christian faith, repeatedly, during a chaplain training program.  [?!?]

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Steven Firtko and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Klender began the Clinical Pastoral Education Center program at a San Diego VA last year. Shortly after, they say the program’s supervisor, Nancy Dietsch, began harassing their beliefs.

According to the suit, she told them they could not pray in Jesus’s name, and she shouted: “Do not quote Scripture in this class!” while pounding her fists on her desk.

“Not only was the treatment these men received inappropriate, it was also a violation of federal law and the religious freedom guarantees of the First Amendment,” said retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. J.B. Wells, executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy (M-VA).

M-VA is representing the Conservative Baptist Association of America, the endorsing agent for the two chaplains.

According to court documents, Dietsch also insisted that God could be a man or a woman and stated that evolution is a fact. The suit says she stated three times that: “There is no room in this program for those who believe they are right and everybody else is wrong.

“This is what happens when your actions as Commander-in-Chief say that morals and values don’t matter anymore in the military,” [Ohhhh…. they do matter.  But they have to be twisted.] said retired Air Force Col. Bill Spencer, a national representative of family policy councils for Focus on the Family. “And then you have all of these other people out there who will interpret that commander’s intent in extreme ways.”  [Or exactly according to the intent of the CinC.]

Klender withdrew from the program in February because of the harassment, according to the lawsuit. Firtko, who was placed on probation by Dietsch, received a letter — dated Feb. 15 — from the VA notifying him that he would be dismissed from the program on March 1.

“No American choosing to serve in the armed forces should be openly ridiculed for his Christian faith,” Wells explained. “That is most obviously true for chaplains participating in a chaplain training program. [Indeed, no.  These are exactly the people you want to attack.  Drive chaplains out of the military and the battle is half won.]

Go here to read the rest.  Leftist regimes usually are very hostile to religious faith.  The reason is obvious.  When one is busily setting up the State as a little tin god, it does not do to have people active who worship God and who constantly are judging the actions of the State based upon His teachings.  Such people must be mocked, driven from any positions of influence, subjected to ever increasing amounts of persecution, their leaders ultimately imprisoned or murdered.  The mockery stage has been around for quite a while, and the Chaplains are experiencing the second stage.  All one has to do is to go to leftist web sites, and read comments when the subject of religion  comes up, to realize how many leftists in this nation long to get on with the persecution stage.

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  1. Isn’t the entire point of having chaplains around is that they specialize in a particular faith? I mean, surely historically we haven’t brought a Protestant minister in to give a Catholic serviceman last rites, or similar? If all prayers have to be nondescript and don’t require a particular background, why not just grab a random officer to lead them?

  2. I still say it is not simply a matter of the right being religious and the left bein atheist. It is much more complex than that. Many rightists today stand for individul liberty and nothing else, and some leftists really want to help their neigbor and believe government is the best way to do it. What we find today is a definite divide in our society between people of religious and moral conviction and the rest of the population. But they do not correspond to political parties. It’s just not that black and white.

  3. A case for Martyrdom
    Anyone who thinks we should set our faith aside in America in order to avoid stepping over the line in this current political battle for the soul of our country is courting disaster.
    One thing is abundantly clear to any Catholic who understands the faith as shepherded by our Holy Father in Rome and that is the current regime in Washington D.C. under Barack Obama is by far the most anti-Catholic administration in the history of our country. The really sad thing is that our bishops had too long avoided the fight for fear of being accused of mixing politics and religion, and in the case of Obama the dreadful racist label from the media, allowing those of weak faith within their flocks who entered the political arena selling their souls to party platforms in opposition to our faith and values to establish a pattern of Christian capitulation.
    We and our societal standards based on the founders reliance on Divine guidance are no longer recognized as a legitimate challenge to the status quo separation phrase used to deny them. Our elected officials who were put into office to protect our freedoms have chosen to be a ruling class unto themselves. Those like Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Dodd, Sebelius and many others show no remorse for pandering to the enemies of Holy Mother Church and by default are parts of the problem. The situation has become grave and we, with guidance from bishops who now realize just how serious the administration is in its effort to remove all obstacles to a full blown secularist society, have to get involved in the fight for the soul of America.
    It is time to stop pretending we are powerless to defend ourselves from those who have abandoned piety in favor of personal power and prestige. If we the laity, the Church Militant, are to be the martyrs for the faith standing together against the forces of evil which are consuming our nation as it progresses on the administrations path into oblivion then so it must be. It has and always must be for true followers of Christ a requirement to assist the Spirit of Pentecost within us in bringing forth upon our world the will of God to have life more abundant using the power of His Truth to make and keep men free. It is our duty, along with the message of hope and change within the church of Christ, to open the hearts of men to depend on the creators love to guide us to the place he is preparing for us not to succumb to the lure of an ever expanding totalitarian Marxist styled government promising to provide our every need in order to make us slaves to a godless political system.

  4. Not entirely Jon, but as a general rule leftists are anti-religion except when it is politically useful. It was no accident that the proposal to put God into the Democrat platform, and to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, met with such vociferous opposition last year:

  5. Secular humanists pride themselves into believing that it is they who ordain unalienable human rights to man as benevolent dictators. Benevolent dictatorship is an oxymoron and rather sophomoric. High school students imagine and regard themselves as benevolent dictators. There is no such thing.
    Religion is the love of God for the sake of God and love of neighbor as oneself for the love of God. Without God, people have many beliefs. I imagine that even God thought of creating the world flat, but God’s love for mankind and to prevent man from falling off at the perimeter, God decided to create a round swirling globe with gravity to maintain the presence and safety of mankind for the time when man could enter space prepared to survive.
    God is love and God loves. God is divine and God is human. God has free will and respects man’s free will. If man chooses to deny God, God will not stop him. God even created a place for souls who deny and hate Him. There with Satan and the other demons in hell are the souls who refuse God’s Divine Providence.
    Atheism is an abuse of religion, a denial of man’s human, rational, immortal soul, the imposition of death of body and soul upon man, the obliteration of man’s human rights to exercise his freedom of religion, speech, press and peaceable assembly to relate to God, “their Creator”, the attempted annihilation of the Divine Creator through annihilating belief in God, leaving only the believer in atheism as dictator supreme over the innocent, virgin souls of man.
    Atheists are intent to separate the church and state until the atheist has separated a man from his immortal soul. This is called death.
    Thomas Jefferson said: “The rights the (atheistic) state gives, the (atheistic) state can take away.” (emphasis mine). There have been too many proofs of this. Try Herod, Hitler, Stalin.
    The Right to Life is the free exercise of the will to live, created by God, enabled by the state; the state that is constituted by the sovereign personhood of the human being.

  6. The United States of America has the only Constitution inscribed with freedom to follow one’s conscience, in acknowledgement by the state of the human being’s immortal soul and the rewards of eternal life in the hereafter, demanding the absolute Truth in a court of law, (so help me God), protecting the unalienable human rights of man endowed by “their Creator”. A finite state constituted by finite man cannot endow or bestow infinte, unalienable hman rights, because the state, itself, is not infinite or unalienable. Only an infinite God has the authentic power to create unalienable rights to be enjoyed and exercised by the free will and conscience of the human being and his soul. God gives us existence and human rights. The state gives us citizenship and a tax bill. God is existence and God exists. God is love and God loves.
    “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.” Francisco Suarez.

  7. There is also, and I apologize for the length of this comment…there is also the matter of the Persons of God, the Supreme Sovereign Being. (Religion is the acknowledgement of the Supreme Sovereign Being). The Supreme Sovereign Being is three persons in one God, the Trinity.
    The Constitution for the United States of America is the Law of the Land for the person. Jesus Christ is a legal person Who has constitutional rights under the Law of the Land…in regard to His name being used in speech in a public place or square, Christ’s birthday being celebrated in public and His being honored in public as Christ justly deserves because of His innocence and sovereign person.

  8. Patrick Henry spoke: “Give me Liberty of give me death.” “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    The statesman, Patrick Henry, defends to the death a person’s freedom to pray in public.
    Those in Washington who are not statesmen ought to be impeached for their lack of patriotism.

  9. When He comes again in glory, Jesus will abandon to the fire of Hell all who brawl against His religion.

    I pray for the filthy animals.

  10. I think many religious people have beeen tricked into thinking the republican party stands for them and will advance their agendas, so they hop on board. That is probably what accounts for the apparent relationship. Concerning Israel, I don’t know what other capital one could claim. Numerous evangelical churches have supported Israel not because they share our political ideals in a dangerous region of the world, but because they think they are the people of God: dispensationalism remains popular in many Christian circles. This has led to unfairness and injustice where Christians and government have colluded to advance Israeli agendas. Many Palestinians have suffered as a result, and some of these Palestinians are Christian, a fact that seems to go unnoticed. Very ironic! So Christians do not support their brethren on the other side of the world. They support political partners or people who they imagine have some role in an end-time scenario. I’m very tired of all this. It’s hypocrasy, and I wonder whether the church will be judged for it.

  11. We have definitely entered into a new period of Church history in America (USA). Our Founders based our country on a particularly benign and conservative form of the Enlightenment (Locke, Burke, etc) While our government was indeed secular, the Founders recognized and did not seek to exclude or fight the fundamentally Judaeo-Christian culture and it’s “organized religion”

    From the beginning of our country and up until and through the Cold War, the American govt did not see religion as a threat but an ally and frequently used us as such against the horror of Naziism and Japanese imperialism, but especially against the religion/freedom hating forces of international terrorism.

    The American bishops from the 19th century up until recently have been able to boast of this ver different relationship between Churchvand State-most especially in Vatican II. Europe, and the Church in Europe, e xperienced the fruit of a more antagonistic secularism, one that has not disappeared but has increased. The problem is that this other form of the Enlightenment has been imported into America through our intellectual and ruling elites. For years Havard Law School has propagated an interpretation of the First Amendment holding that it protects freedom of worship rather than freedom of religion.

    Now our elites are attempting to transform American Culture from the broadly understood Judaeo-Christian society we have been into a secularist one. These elites want no form of “the Church” (organized Judaeo Christian religion) to have any influence on the culture, however they verbalized it in the form of the separation of Church and State. With the Catholic Church being the largest, most organized and influential in our ministries of education and health care for example, we have become the target for these elites. Until rather recently, American Govt has remained neutral to friendly to Judaeo-Christianity and the Church. However that has changed-not simply in the Whie House but much of Congress (although Catholics remain the largest group there).

    Our bishops remained overly optimistic concern earning this shift. At first I believe there was general denial, or thoughts that some issues were simply misunderstandings. Later some ( and even now some) think the change has to do with the ideology of one political party. While there is no question at this point of where the power brokers in that party stand, the bishops have now recognized that this societal-cultural shift, this change in the history of America and of the Church in America, is much larger and deeper than merely which party is in the ascendancy for a time in America. Thus the bishops issued their consensus statement yesterday concerning their continued opposition to the HHS mandate, to further educating etc. American Catholics and America in general on the issue of religious freedom, and to form relations with other religious groups which are likewise concerned about this radical change in our country.

  12. “Many Palestinians have suffered as a result, and some of these Palestinians are Christian, ”

    The biggest threat to Palestinian Christians are their Muslim brothers and sisters. The best, and safest, place for an Arab Christian in regard to civil liberties and freedom of religion in the Middle East is to be a citizen of Israel.

    “I think many religious people have beeen tricked into thinking the republican party stands for them and will advance their agendas, so they hop on board.”

    Rubbish. It is a rational choice considering that the Democrat Party is the party of abortion, gay marriage, the contraceptive mandate and Christian bashing in general and Catholic bashing in particular.

  13. Well, if there is no God, Who created the devil?
    The devil is a murderer. Abortion is a symptom. There is nothing “gay” about the devil. The devil is pure evil. The devil tries to set himself up as equal to God, but the devil cannot create God as God has, indeed, created him. God creates out of nothing. The Living God endows life.

  14. Donald, I know that republicans are sometimes socially conservative, but others are mere economic conservatives. They don’t care about social issues. They are liberal individualists who simply wish to maximize pleasure and freedom — epicurians and hedonists. Concerning Israel, you may be right. I do know Israel isn’t exactly pro-Palestinian though, and I wonder about the rights of Palestinian Christians in that region. I hear they don’t really appreciate Christians in Israel.

    As far as the contraceptive issue, I can’t say i really agree with the Roman Catholic position. Our responsiblity is to be good stewards and to prudently decide on the number of children we bring into the world. Having said that, abortion is burder of the unborn, and that is what Christians ought to agree on.

  15. “Our responsiblity is to be good stewards and to prudently decide on the number of children we bring into the world.”

    If that had been the case throughout human history Jon, most of us would not be here. My mom was illegitimate and I am very glad that “prudent” use of contraceptives did not prevent her from gracing this world. My paternal grandmother had seven kids, one of whom died in infancy. I think it was quite prudent of her and my grandfather to bring my Dad, my Aunt and my four Uncles into this Vale of Tears even though they were born during the Great Depression and the large family was supported on what a shoemaker and a cleaning lady could make.

  16. Yes, that’s very true, Donald. I read something recently though about tradeoffs — we all make them in life. Some people choose to forgo marriage for the sake of the kingdom — Rome has orders — and others choose to marry but have less time to accomplish things. So I guess I think contraception fits in with that in terms of whether a person wants to have ten kids or one. It’s not about being better or worse but about choices and where they leave us. I know that abortion is murder, that it is the killing of the unborn, and that it is unacceptable from a Christian standpoint. I can never condone it. Christians of goodwill can and do differ, however, on the matter of contraception. Rome has issued official statements on it. I consider it a matter of Christian liberty. But each person must decide for themselves. Some people may be called to have large families, others to have small ones, and still others to not marry at all, or to marry but have no children. One thing i have learned in recent years is the inability to draw finalized conclusions about everything in life. As Christians, we know there are some things to whcih we can close the case. Then there are other questions for which we cannot reach answers eitehr because there are none or because they are out of reach, or perhaps because these questions were meant to be individually decided. St. Paul had a category for that. Churches should recognize and allow for that.

  17. Jon, are you aware that Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, used the term “irresponsible fecundity” to criticize people who didn’t use birth control? She also thought that good stewardship required the use of contraception.

  18. She saw it from a utilitarian perspective. She was a secular humanist and of course we can say all kinds of things about where that leads. We know what happened in Germany and we know it happened here to some extent, though better minds and policies prevailed. I am speaking from the standpoint of our cultural mandate: we are called to cultivate and govern the earth wisely. To practice good stewardship we must make wise choices informed by Scripture. I think it is irresponsible, for example, for someone to have fifteen kids when they don’t know where the next paycheck is coming from. We know of examples like that and we don’t appreciate when we see that sort of thing. So it’s a matter of balance. We have to be careful not to yield to what we think is traditional practice for the sake of morality while avoiding pragmatic lifestyles that disregard the Word. Hope that makes it clear. We must abide by Christian ethics.

  19. Hmmnn….let’s see. The fact that I’m being place on moderation suggests to me at least that a certain amount of censorship takes place here. I’ve looked over my past comments and I don’t see anything anti-Christian or heterodox. My comments, as far as I can tell, result from reflection and research, and don’t conflict with basic Christianity. But I do think someone wishes to maintain a Roman Catholic slant to this. I feel much that Rome officially teaches is extra-Christian. I think I’ve expressed that before. I’m sorry we can’t see eye to eye.


  20. Censorship is an act of government Jon. It does not apply to a privately run blog. I did not put you on moderation, so I assume that one of my co-bloggers did. I will honor their decision. Whoever put you on moderation can take you off moderation if they wish. I assume that whoever placed you on moderation probably wished me to see your posting in regard to contraception, which is erroneous from a Catholic standpoint, before it was cleared for appearance on the blog. We do not tolerate anti-Catholics here, but I do not place you in that category, and we are always willing to defend our Catholic beliefs in debate, unless the debate becomes a tiresome rehash of points already made.

  21. Thanks, Donald, for making that clear. I hold to a very broad version of Christianity. I define the church as people at all times and places who worship God though the risen Lord and Savior and are in relationship to him as such. Contraception is a very grave matter for Roman Catholics and I respect their decision. There are other examples of differences among Christians and I think it’s in the nature of Christianity and creation that such diversity exists.

  22. Jon, practicing contraception for “stewardship” purposes is utilitarian whether it is Margaret Sanger promoting it or a Protestant denomination. It decides that as a practical matter there might be too many people to maximize pleasure and minimize pain, and then posits that a means to correct that must therefore be ethical. But not every means is ethical. Prudence requires us to be good stewards, but virtue requires us to limit the means by which we behave as good stewards. I would suggest that you read Humanae Vitae, which discusses the fact that not every means is just. Also good is Evangelium Vitae. By contracepting, a couple does not perform a truly marital act. They divorce the act from both of its meanings. Christians should never be utilitarians. Contraception is inherently utilitarian because it posits that the end justifies the means of chemically altering the woman’s body, or preventing complete physical contact, or preventing implantation. Even Margaret Sanger understood that it is utilitarian, which is why she promoted it. Nothing about contraception increases virtue, and it more often than not promotes vice. Prudence is not virtue, rather it should be the servant of virtue. In fact, prudence can act in opposition to virtue if its end is not virtuous. The call to be good stewards is not absolute, rather it is subject to increasing virtue. This is easily proven. A person can have a low level of intelligence and consequently make poor decisions that waste resources. Is this person sinning by not being a good steward? Of course not. They are not acting against virtue, rather they are unable to act prudently because they don’t have the cognitive ability. Another person with higher intelligence can act more prudently, and conserve more resources than the first, yet be sinning because they are acting prudently but selfishly. And so good stewardship is directed towards increasing virtue for a Christian, not addressing the utilitarian principles of maximizing pleasure for all. Virtue is based on love. It is not loving to try to prevent other people from being born. It is rather selfish. Virtue tries to share with all. Utilitarianism tries to get rid of some for the benefit of the rest. I would note that no one who promotes contraception volunteers to live on bread and water and wear rags so that others might live better. Contraception is not self-sacrificing. It sacrifices the potential other, not the self.

  23. Alphatron, I understand your line of reasoning. I would reiterate that we, as Christians, must make Scripturally-informed and Spirit-led decisions. I think we need to take into account our calling and our resources — even time is a resource and it is finite. Persons religious have made decisions to forego certain things in order to help others flourish and in so doing they will likewise flourish in the longterm. So they are thinking in rational terms for the sake of charity. As you say, prudence should serve virtue.

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