Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Article of the Day

A brilliant essay by Prof. Paul Rahe, in which he lays bare American Catholicism’s Pact With the Devil. In the process of exposing how the church came to support liberal ideals such as an expanding welfare state, while tolerating liberal ideals such as abortion, he highlights the most disturbing thing about ObamaCare's recent ruling that health insurance providers must offer contraceptives and abortifacients to all, regardless of one's religious beliefs. It's not just that the government has now crossed the line between church and state—which is bad enough—it's that an expanding and more powerful government eventually tramples the individual liberties of all.

Excerpts (but do read the whole thing since it is profoundly interesting):


In the 1930s, the majority of the bishops, priests, and nuns sold their souls to the devil, and they did so with the best of intentions. In their concern for the suffering of those out of work and destitute, they wholeheartedly embraced the New Deal ... [and] welcomed Social Security. They did not stop to ponder whether public provision in this regard would subvert the moral principle that children are responsible for the well-being of their parents. They did not stop to consider whether this measure would reduce the incentives for procreation and nourish the temptation to think of sexual intercourse as an indoor sport. They did not stop to think.
In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States – the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity – and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism – the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it.
At every turn in American politics since that time, you will find the hierarchy assisting the Democratic Party and promoting the growth of the administrative entitlements state. At no point have its members evidenced any concern for sustaining limited government and protecting the rights of individuals. It did not cross the minds of these prelates that the liberty of conscience which they had grown to cherish is part of a larger package – that the paternalistic state, which recognizes no legitimate limits on its power and scope, that they had embraced would someday turn on the Church and seek to dictate whom it chose to teach its doctrines and how, more generally, it would conduct its affairs.

20 comments:

Benjamin said...

"They did not stop to consider whether this measure would reduce the incentives for procreation and nourish the temptation to think of sexual intercourse as an indoor sport."--Paul Rahe.

As a private citizen, it is no business of the state or any church, temple etc. how I practice sex or for what purpose.

But I agree with Rahe on one thing: Sex ought to be outdoor sport too!

Jeez, is this what the GOP really wants to do? Become obsessed with people's sex lives? Ever hear of "render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's..."

If the GOP presents itself as the party of anti-immigrationists, gold nuts, marijuana-haters, gun nuts, homophobes and sex police, I wonder what kind of future it has. Maybe the GOP wants to investigate President Obama's sex life too.

There has got to be a third party I can vote for....

Jake said...

I hope I am correctly interpreting this as great satire, though I am not sure.

William said...

I agree with Benjamin's and Jake's comments.

Scott, I greatly admire your economic accumin and blog. Personally, I am not into Political or Religious blogs. I have NEVER known anyone to change either their political or religious beliefs based on a discussion with anyone else - because it is a MATTER OF BELIEF.

Joe said...

I thought this coutry is based on separation of religion and state. So leave the spiritual health in the realm of religion and the physical health in the realm of government. In as much as the churches do not want the government to dictate how to administer the Sacrament in a church meeting, they should not interfere with the government defining what health insurance coverage has to be provided. If any side crossed the line, than the Catholic church in the current dispute, not the government.

Joe said...

Sorry~ forgot to ask my question:
What's next then? - Islamic groups requiring that women only see female doctors in the name of Sharia law? That surely has to be included in a health insurance law as well.
To even think religious groups should have a say in health insurance is absurd. But I guess in the name of a real anti-government crusade even the most absurd arguments will make sense.

sgt.red.blue.red said...

Jeez, I feel like I'm at the Gates of Vienna blog...it's pretty grim.

Unbridled 'liberalism' will be the death of us all.

Public Library said...

This is proposterous. Agree with Ben. The far right is way out of touch with reality. The only thing that could save them it seems is the end of days...

Donny Baseball said...

Ben-
You are way off. The Church has certain beliefs and you are free to lampoon them and be self-satisfied in your sneering, but we have this notion of religious freedom that is pretty darned important to many people and was one of the foundational principles of our nation. Inherent in this principle is that the Church has a right to its beliefs. One such belief is a prohibition on the use of contraception. While you may have your opinions, the Church is equally entitled to have them and to live by them. Nobody is saying the Church wants to dictate to you its views on sex. What it does want is not to be forced to use its resources to provide something which it does not approve of.

Nobody is obsessed with anybody's sex lives and this has nothing to do with the GOP - another point you missed. This is about Liberty.

PS you also clearly are no theologian - the "render unto Caesar" passage is not about paying taxes to fund the government's wishes. Happy to give a lesson in the theology of that passage off line, but I suspect you don't care, you'd rather spout it unknowingly to sound like you are smart enough to host on NPR.

Bill said...

Obama and the democrats are loving this discussion all the way to victory in November. I find it astounding that conservatives would rather give the election to Obama and perhaps lose the House and Senate by nominating a man who LOST HIS OWN STATE BY 18 POINTS in 2006 than support Romney who understands the most important issues facing this country. Even Ann Coulter understands it this time.

Donny Baseball said...

Santorum will not be the nominee. Did your friends ever take you out to a strip club sometime before you got married? That's what this is. This is a last and final howl at the moon before it is time to get buttoned up and get serious.

Benjamin said...

Donny-

I agree that the Feds should not get involved in health care, except perhaps through Medicare.

That said, the GOP is committing hari-kari in 2012, for all the wrong reasons. The field is wide-open for a non-militarist, pro-business candidate.

Instead we are getting lectures about our sex lives, gold nuttiness, gun nuttiness, anti-abortionism, homophobia, anti-immigrationism, and pluto-pandering. We think the federal government should get out of your life unless you smoke marijuana.

Bush Jr's reign was a GOP Sodom on the Potomac, but the next act by the GOP could be a theocracy.

Can the GOP come up with somebody good? Jeez, Spiro Agnew begins to look sensible in comparison.

Donny Baseball said...

Everybody always moans about the coming GOP theocracy but it's liberals who are always telling me what to do - what I can eat, what car I can drive, what fuel to use, where I have to send my children to school, what lightbulbs I can use, and now telling me I have to buy health insurance. And they want to track where I drive, where I go on the Internet, and judge what are reasonable profits. They want our schools to teach about the role that gays have played in America, but they won't teach about George Washington because, well, just f**k him for being white and male.

I will take the slim chance of a GOP led theocracy any day over the 100% chance of a secular progressive tyranny.

Hans said...

Ben jamin, just vote for the Green Party, it would suit you fine...

brodero said...

I patiently await your brilliant coverage of the economy sans politics.

Dr William J McKibbin said...

I wonder if the Vatican has an economist on staff...

Frozen in the North said...

Scott

You know that an argument starts badly when your refer to the 1930s as your starting point. Why not in 1546 the Vatican "finalized" what eventually became the modern bible -- it was the end of the world as we know it!

As some writer mentioned once you agree that religions institutions can decide what kind of health care they provide -- it opens as Jon Stewart mentioned a variety of interpretations... some funny others less so!

Of course here the GOP means Christians and to the other because in the mind of many of the GOPers the other religions are hokum

Donny Baseball said...

Frozen-
My first reaction is "Huh?" My second reaction is that you take a dim view of your fellow man. The bible is by far the most widely read text throughout the ages and across the globe. It continually ranks as the best-selling book worldwide and people cite it as inspiration more than any other text, continuing the pattern of hundreds of years. Yet to you it is clearly hokum. With such a dim view of your fellow man, it is a wonder you deign to walk among us.

Will said...

Free Men and Free Markets. This link is entirely relevant to this blog and thanks very much for posting it.

The Constitiution still matters.

Michael Meyers said...

Scott,

You certainly stirred up a hornet's next with this post.... :)

But I for one, find the article interesting. Note, I am a NOT Catholic believer at all.

It seems people are missing the point, i.e. if the Catholic Church uses the state to further Catholic Church goals, one indeed has made a pact with the devil. Separation of church and state is the best way for any church to protect itself from state intrusion.

Think about it.

Regards,
Michael

Scott Grannis said...

Note: I am not Catholic, but the author of the article I refer to is. My point in posting this was not to critique religious beliefs or doctrines, but rather to point out how government power has grown, and how it increasingly threatens the liberties of all of us, regardless of religious beliefs.