December 20, 2014

April 19, 2012


Shut Up, They Argued

Americans United for Separation of Church and State sees itself as a bastion of the Constitution. Unfortunately, it is a friend of neither free speech nor freedom of religion.

AU has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service asking the agency to investigate the Catholic Diocese of Peoria for “illegal electioneering.” According to their press release:

The Internal Revenue Service should investigate the Catholic Diocese of Peoria for illegal electioneering after Bishop Daniel R. Jenky compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin as part of an election-year appeal, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Americans United today filed a formal complaint with the IRS over Jenky’s intervention in the presidential campaign. Federal law prohibits churches and other tax-exempt nonprofits from endorsing or opposing candidates, said AU, and the bishop’s April 14 sermon amounts to an order to vote against Obama.

As soon as you hear a weasel expression such as “amounts to,” you know what’s being sought is actually the suppression of speech that someone doesn’t like. Here’s what Bishop Jenky actually said:

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and always be ready to fight for the Faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.

In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation – we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.
In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his “Kulturkampf,” a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany.

Clemenceau, nicknamed “the priest eater,” tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.
Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries—only excepting our church buildings – could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the instrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.

No Catholic ministry – and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries – can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions.

You can argue about whether the comparison with Hitler and Stalin was appropriate, but it was clearly made in the process of drawing historical parallels with the demands of the current administration. It is also clearly in the context of a position that the Catholic bishops have taken on a public policy issue that goes to the heart of the church’s moral theology. The references to Barack Obama, in addition to being accurate, are certainly meant as a criticism of his administration as a whole (Health and Human Services wrote the rule, the White House staff backed them up, and Obama made unquestionable his support).

That being the case, what AU is saying with this complaint is that clergy forfeit their right to criticize elected officials if they happen to be running for re-election. Even if an official is acting that is or appears to be threatening to religious liberty—which the bishop obviously believes—if he happens to have his name on a ballot he becomes immune from criticism by clergy.

That position is completely inimical to the First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion, and is taken in the service of a left-wing political agenda that will brook no opposition that it can find a way to crush.


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14 comments

Hitler I can see, but what on Earth would AU have against Uncle Joe?  Surely that’s just as much an exhortation to get good lefties to think well of our Dear Leader, no?

[1] Posted by Jeffersonian on 4-19-2012 at 08:14 PM · [top]

I can see his point. Silence by the majority is necessary for any death and deconstruction agenda to proceed, and that is indeed what has been expected by those of faith for the past 20-30 years.

Sudden boldness by those who are expected to remained silent is both FRIGHTENING to the the aggressive minority and EFFECTIVE in exposing their lies.

This was the theme of the Wilberforce Conference - Stop the Spiral of Silence

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMWlSeZfyRY

[2] Posted by cityonahill on 4-20-2012 at 06:15 AM · [top]

Hitler was a good lefty too. Classifying him as right-wing was the greatest single victory of the soviet propaganda apparatus.

[3] Posted by Creedal Episcopalian on 4-20-2012 at 07:25 AM · [top]

You can argue about whether the comparison with Hitler and Stalin was appropriate

Why?  History can be an inconvenient truth but history is history.  These things happened and they are happening again.  And the things that are happening can be indentified with specific people: Obama and the members of his administration and with various progressive and leftist groups and unions around the nation.  And what these folks are up to is evil and will have evil consequences for this country if allowed to go forward unchecked.

Is not part of the mission of the Church to point out evil?  Yes it is.  Might that get us sideways with the IRS?  Yes it might.  Should we then be silent?  No, not if we are going to be the followers of Christ and to honor the work of the martyrs of the Church.

[4] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-20-2012 at 08:28 AM · [top]

Capt: I agree with you on all points. The only reason I put that in was because it could be argued that such a comparison trivialized the enormous persecution (deaths in the millions) of the church under Hitler and Stalin, and I don’t think that would be an unreasonable response. It’s made frequently, for instance, when Palestinian activists and their allies try to make the occupation of the West Bank into another Holocaust.

[5] Posted by David Fischler on 4-20-2012 at 08:39 AM · [top]

Agreed.  But it can be pointed out that too many stayed too silent in those historic instances which is why things got to be as awful as they got.

It can also be noted historically that in the countries where horrific persuctions have taken place in modern times, these events were also preceeded by the elimination of peoples rights to posses firearms.  Another path we are headed down.

[6] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-20-2012 at 08:49 AM · [top]

Lefties get upset when you compare abortion to the holocaust, too, but my husband points out that abortion is responsible for 54,000,000 deaths in this country alone’ far more than Hitler or Stalin were responsible for. And abortion is part of the religion of the left.

[7] Posted by Nellie on 4-20-2012 at 09:05 AM · [top]

This is going to be the nastiest political campaign in the history of our country, and we’re going to have to fight hard to retain the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution (freedoms which come from our Creator, originally). If the wrong side wins, the U.S. will be a different country. The Constitution will be meaningless.

[8] Posted by Nellie on 4-20-2012 at 09:08 AM · [top]

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are both guaranteed by the Constitution. When any religious person, clergy or not, at a pulpit or not, expresses a political viewpoint that is based on a religious belief, including an opinion of a candidate, this should be protected speech just as any other speech is protected. The idea that a church can be taxed if its leader endorses or opposes a candidate is blatantly unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional to tax a church. It is unconstitutional to limit freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

[9] Posted by KarenR on 4-20-2012 at 09:31 AM · [top]

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are both guaranteed by the Constitution.

For now.  Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) is proposing a constitutional amendment that would all but crush anything resembling freedom of speech, religion, etc:

http://volokh.com/2012/04/20/congressman-proposes-amendment-to-strip-most-newspapers-churches-nonprofits-and-other-corporations-of-all-constitutional-rights/

As Huey Long quipped, when fascism comes to America, it’ll be called anti-fascism.

[10] Posted by Jeffersonian on 4-20-2012 at 10:36 AM · [top]

Truth is truth - just because the left doesn’t like it doesn’t make it OK for them to close down discussions. 

I get really tired of the left trying to close down dissenting opinions…yet stating they are “tolerant”...what a huge load of stinky stuff…

[11] Posted by B. Hunter on 4-20-2012 at 11:38 AM · [top]

Yet Barry Lynn, head of AU, is ordained in the United Church of Christ.  And we know that denomination just NEVER gets involved in politics.

Freedom for me, not for thee.

[12] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 4-21-2012 at 08:29 AM · [top]

Precisely, Newbie. Precisely.

[13] Posted by David Fischler on 4-21-2012 at 01:51 PM · [top]

Oh - like this hasn’t been going on for decades in certain churches.  Seems to me our current president may have heard a few from the pulpit delivered by Rev. Wright.  In those churches the platform of the Demokrat Partei is the fifth gospel. 

Preach it, B. Hunter!  AMEN!!

[14] Posted by Nikolaus on 4-21-2012 at 09:52 PM · [top]

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