With the Fortnight for Freedom coming to a close on July 4, I had cause to reflect on the direction of our country and the meaning of being Catholic in the most liberal state in the U.S.
It’s a fairly lonely experience being a “triple C” — conservative Catholic Californian.
There are plenty of churches to attend, for sure, but the experience of community you’re supposed to get from them … well, let’s just say it’s not always what it’s billed as being.
All the Catholics I know are fine people. It’s just that the number who actually get involved in the church, breathing life into the community, is miniscule compared with the number who show up for Mass.
Let’s be honest, so many of us just put our game faces on for Sunday morning, do the hour in the pews, grab a doughnut and coffee afterward then head home to relax, go play or watch whatever sports are on TV. And for most of us, that’s where the church experience ends.
Then along comes a once-in-a-lifetime event like the Fortnight for Freedom, which calls upon us to make a serious stand for our beliefs and, more importantly, for our right to believe, and what happens?
Not much, from where I’m standing.
This country’s archbishops created the Fortnight for Freedom to get American Catholics to realize that their rights of religious conscience are under assault by the Obama Administration, which is trying to force the Church and other religious institutions to carry employee health insurance that covers contraceptives, sterilizations and abortions, against the Church’s teachings.
Obama has not backed down and has promised to enforce the policy — part of Obamacare — beginning in August. If it goes into effect, the Church will be looking at having a choice between shutting down its hospitals, schools, adoption agencies and other institutions or paying massive daily fines.
Essentially, the administration is saying that religious institutions must either stay in their churches and mind their own business, or if they want to interact with the community at all, they must surrender their beliefs and submit to secular government control.
Only the most obtuse person could see this as a fight about contraception, yet that is what many liberals inside the Catholic Church are telling themselves and their fellow parishioners. Even some of the clergy have fallen prey to the liberal line.
The result is that the Church’s stance to protect religious freedom for all is being undercut from within, at least in California.
Combined with the media treatment of the event — a total news blackout except for columns by liberal critics of the Church — and the sum effect has been less than inspiring for many of us within the pews, and sadly next to irrelevant for Californians in general.
In light of King Obama’s recent maneuvering around our Constitution, our Congress and our laws, backed up by the most illogical Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, it’s hard to see good things coming in November.
Being conservative, even in the Church, you get a lot of nasty looks and comments. I long ago lost count of how many people have told me to shut up in various phrases.
All these current events put me in mind of the musical “1776,” in which there’s a song sung by John Adams about the fight against a tyrannical king in England, as opposed to a would-be king here at home. He sings it at a low point, when he feels as though nobody supports liberty for America but him:
Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?
They want to me to quit; they say
John, give up the fight
Still to England I say
Good night, forever, good night!
For I have crossed the Rubicon
Let the bridge be burned behind me
Come what may, come what may
Commitment is the only thing that will see us through these darkening times. Those of us who can see the danger must stand, no matter what the resistance, if America is to have any hope at all.