Catholics and Public Life: toward a response to Pres Obama’s Act of Supremacy

There is a thought provoking piece at The Catholic Thing by Fr. James Schall, SJ, a professor at Georgetown.  He muses about a future in which we will have to withdraw from participation in public life, or at least in political life, because such participation will place us in the position of having to violate our consciences, the dictates of reason, the tenets of our Catholic Faith.

After introductory section in which he cites, St. Augustine on the question participation in public life, Fr. Schall goes on to say, with my emphases:

[…]

Various Catholic politicians, clerics, academics, and critics have tried to justify the substance of the Obama move to control the whole public order. It makes sense that withdrawal from politics may be in order. If doctors and nurses must, at the price of professional recognition, participate in abortions and all that goes with it, not to enter such professions at the risk one’s soul becomes rational. If Obama is reelected, such issues will immediately confront most good people, not just Catholics, but primarily them as they are the ones most clearly targeted.

The president apparently thinks that all wealth is produced by the state. The wealth of the citizens, thus, should pass through state hands to be redistributed to the citizens as a benefaction of the state. The state defines “the good” of the citizen in education, welfare, health, and well-being.

The First Amendment no longer functions as a restriction to the state. Religion contributes to the state only in so far as it assists in carrying out state policies. If it claims exemption, it is imposing its values on the freedom of the state to define the good.

No higher law exists by which we define what the state is. In the Catholic view, the current issues of health care, abortion, sterilization, euthanasia, fetal experimentation, and gay marriage are not primarily religious questions. The basic arguments about what these practices imply are from reason.

Catholicism gets into the controversies as one of the last major voices of reason in the public order. Christian revelation is addressed to a reason that is itself intelligible. It does not tell reason what it is, though it does insist that reason be reasonable.

The president seeks to define what constitutes religion. Those Catholics and other religious people who agree with him have implicitly accepted what this state demands of them. Their support basically entails a rejection of that natural reason found in the order of things.

In this context, the victory of the Obama approach to public life means that reasonable and believing Catholics and other citizens will have little choice but to withdraw from the public life of a country that enforces these policies. Such choices, no more and no less, are what is at stake in these controversies.

Fr. Schall makes a great point: reason must be reasonable.

But, in fact, what is passed off as “reason” today isn’t at all reasonable.

When on TV a couple talking heads, oracular fonts of indisputable truths, are going at it about when the MSM uniformly now calls the “contraception” controversy, the most absurd things are uttered as if they are the most reasonable of propositions.  For example, the other day I heard an professional dissenter and Obama vassal (whose accent suggests Ireland) named Jon O’Brien, President of Catholics for Choice reel off a stream of claims that simply defy reason.  The clip is HERE.  It is instructive, but it could make you pretty mad.   Among the loony things he said was that contraception – I am not making this up – is “as American as apple pie”.

My point is that it is increasingly difficult to have a reasonable, rational conversation with people.  They have no sense of objective truth.  (Thank you NEA, et al!) You can lead people with an argument from A to B to C and when you reach the conclusion they respond, “That may be true for you, but it isn’t true for me”, or else they simply ignore the conclusion and continue to parrot the absurdities they have accepted as incontrovertible.

If the current trends keep trending as are, will we eventually have to withdraw from participation in public life?

St. Thomas More tried to do that before the Act of Supremacy and Treason Act of 1534.  Henry VIII wouldn’t let Thomas be.  Thomas died a martyr.

This is not the first time I have been reminded of Henry VIII when thinking about Pres. Obama.

Treason Act of… 2012? 2013? 2014? …

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32 Responses to Catholics and Public Life: toward a response to Pres Obama’s Act of Supremacy

  1. I’m going to offer something that will be shocking, but here goes…

    We may be better off, in the long run, if Obama is re-elected and we have this confrontation now.

    Why do I say that?

    Because the problem is hardly the single mandate President Obama has issued; it’s the underlying changes in law, and the gradual accretion of power to the federal government, to its bureaucracy, and to the president himself, that has brought us to this point. Part of the problem is that for too long, our Catholic institutions assumed that the federal government would be reliable, reasonable partners in various projects–so we helped the government get all this power.

    If a Republican wins the White House, he will move quickly–we expect–to rescind this mandate, and calm things down. And then we’ll all settle back and relax. But will the larger trend be reversed? Will we be mobilized and sufficiently motivated to demand it? I wouldn’t bet on it.

    My fear is that we get calm again over window dressing. This mandate is the but the tip of the spear.

    If we go back to sleep, only to wake up when someone in line with Obama’s thinking returns to the White House, we may have fewer resources to marshal than we have now.

  2. keithp says:

    I agree wit Fr Fox. Better to fight now.

    I also want to mention about the statement about reasonable has to pass the reason test. This lack of reason had frustrated me for some time. Finally, while reading today’s meditation “In Conversations with God”, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This lack of reason is called Hardness of Heart in scriptures. I think that is what we are facing and have been for some time now…

  3. sullibe says:

    Treason Act of… 2012? 2013? 2014? … Isn’t that the NDAA? [No, I don’t think so. Perhaps some of the more controversial aspects of the Patriot Act.]

  4. anilwang says:

    “Will we be mobilized and sufficiently motivated to demand it? I wouldn’t bet on it.”

    I disagree. This is the first time in a long time that the American Church has strongly stood up against the state and even threatened to play election ads against the incumbent.

    The fact that the issue that caused this is contraception, will shock many Catholics, who either didn’t think contraception was such a big deal or were ill informed on Catholic teaching on sterilization and contraception and even abortion. It’s an issue that will either awaken their curiosity to find out more, or harden their hearts against the Church towards the “more open minded Anglicans/Methodists/other Protestants”.

    It’s also opened the eyes of many Protestants who might be wondering what the fuss is all about. They might side with the Catholic Church from the religious freedom perspective now, but the fact that the Catholic Church chose *this* issue to be reunited around will pique the curiosity of more than a few Protestants to investigate the case made by other Protestants such as Quiverfull, the Mennonites, the Amish and cause the Lutheran Missouri and Wisconsin synods to reassert its stance against contraception.

    If our Bishops fall asleep after this is resolved, it is our fault for not keeping them awake. If our Bishops become timid as Canadian Bishops where when contraception and abortion were added to Canadian Health Care (and still are since you rarely hear about contraception funding in Medicare). It is our fault for not strengthening our Bishops when they need us.

  5. anilwang says:

    keithp, I hope you don’t mean “In Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch.

    To put it bluntly, he’s about as Christian as Eckhart Tolle. Read about it here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversations_with_God

  6. AvantiBev says:

    For me as an actress and as an American citizen, schooled in civics beginning with my grade school nuns, withdrawal from the culture and the polity is not an option. I could not face my Maker upon my death telling Him I “preserved” my Catholic Faith by burying it with my isolation nor that I failed to use my talents as an actress and ceded all entertainment to the atheists and hedonists. I have already had surprising moments in my 56 years of others telling me that something I said or did years ago influenced them or stayed with them. I am amazed and humbled by this.

    Yes, it is difficult in my profession. I have been denied certain opportunities when someone in power to cast or direct a show learned of my beliefs. I am careful at times to bide my time and say nothing in certain circumstances. That does not mean I pretend to agree, but rather as an actress I have learned to redirect the conversation back to the task (rehearsal, reading, or performance) at hand. There are times to win friends and influence enemies and times to simply keep one’s nose to the grindstone. But even doing that, one can find opportunities to be salt and light.

  7. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Fox makes a good point, however, I do not see in Congress the strength of character needed to overturn what has been done. If we wind up with O in a second term, and do not have a secure and overwhelmingly conservative majority in Congress, I would have little hope for the Republic. And the damage that he can do in a second term, if Congress supports him, is not to be minimized.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Catholics have relied on the federal government as a partner, almost without considering the dangers at all. In particular, many in the Catholic church, even those with authority, have sided with the Democratic party in every single instance up to this point, regardless of the frankly evil stances it’s taken on many issues such as abortion, contraception and gay marriage. This is in large part because many Catholics seem to think that what the Democrats are engaged in is primarily Christian charity; IT IS NOT. Consider: All political parties are engaged in power; that’s their entire point for existence. What they do, they do for that end. In fact, many people seem unaware that there is a coherent argument against the use of pseudo-charity by the federal government for the purpose of manipulating its citizens. Charity is the business of society and Christian charity does not seek to manipulate its beneficiaries, as Theresa of Calcutta so eloquently demonstrated to us.

    If it sounds like I’m lambasting the Democrats, I may be but the Republicans are far from perfect too, since they are also involved in some of this as well, and would substitute the machinations of money and power for reason and justice.

    The bottom line: The Catholic Church cannot align herself 100% with any political party in American politics. Rather we must arbitrate the powers we have in front of us in order to serve the ends of the Catholic Church who speaks the only whole truth. Many Catholics have forgotten this, or maybe they never learned it and are relying on tribal memories of their immigrant past. Those days are over. We have moved far beyond that now. The Catholic Church in the United States is NO LONGER an immigrant Church. In fact, the very officers of government who are causing us the most trouble have themselves been raised as Catholics. Catholics can be found in every sphere of American life now, and often in places of influence, money and power.

    America is facing a constitutional crisis. If not on the issue of Obamacare, then on some other issue. We have forgotten how to reason. And in fact our children have never been taught how to reason in the schools. We operate on other grounds thanks to the turn of our culture towards entertainment, homogeneity and convenience in the last few decades. We no longer rely on the rule of law at the highest levels, but rather on a pecking order we have sanctioned in a flatly democratic manner. The country is no longer a republic as a result and some protections have been lost. The situation is very dangerous. Catholics are about 25% of the population and we are as complicit in this as any other group, thanks to our passivity and willed ignorance when it comes to living the faith, our participation in the culture of entertainment, homogeneity & convenience, and our strong bonds with the liberal wing of government. We must turn ourselves toward truth from the bottom up and from the top down. Otherwise there will be hell to pay. Literally. I hope I do not live to see another Third Reich. It could happen.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    In 2008, the Catholic vote went for Pres. Obama. If Catholics do that again, then everything they may get as a result, both in the coming term and in subsequent administrations, they will have coming to them. It’s just that simple.

  10. Augustin57 says:

    wmeyer, I agree. Obama can finish destroying our country, if given a second term and control of the Congress. It wouldn’t take much. He would have nothing to lose in this case!

  11. wmeyer says:

    Augustin57: Quite true. But in a more cynical view, he has nothing to lose now. If he wins, he is in the chair for 4 more years, and completes the destruction of our country. If he loses, he has a pension for life, lifetime protection from the Secret Service, and probably takes with him whatever campaign funds have not been spent. And he may still have brought about the destruction of the country: we are on that path, and a reversal will require heroic measures.

  12. Bryan Boyle says:

    From the movie “Gettysburg”:
    Gen’l Lee: “The enemy is here. We did not want the fight, but the fight is here. How can I ask this army to retreat in the face of what they’ve done this day?”
    Gen’l Longstreet: “Not retreat, sir. Re-deploy.”
    Gen’l Lee: “…if Meade is there tomorrow, I can’t move this army away. I will attack him.”

    Sometimes the fight is in front, without much room to maneuver. Perhaps we did not specifically pick this fight but, by appearing to be weak and ready to dialogue, engage, or whatever limp-wristed term of diplomacy is in vogue, we’ve given the forces of evil carte blanche up to this point to wreak their havoc. Perhaps now IS the time to give battle. Otherwise, other path leads to subjugation and ruin.

    As another great American once said:
    ‘The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. ”

    We should be praying for the strength…and forgiveness for those who, through ignorance, malice, or pride, would seek to bring down or neuter the one force in the world which stands for truth.

  13. wmeyer says:

    We can join the battle now, whether or not O wins a second term. We need the determination to be true to our faith, and not to compromise with evil. We must encourage our priests and bishops, in both secular issues, and in the teachings within our parishes. We must turn away from the Spirit of Vatican II folks, and unseat them from teaching roles in our parishes. It is not merely 3 years of Obama to be undone, but decades of post-VII damages to the Church.

  14. Legisperitus says:

    Cum negante principia nequit disputari.

  15. tcreek says:

    Hopefully we will begin to see more homilies such as this. Below are videos of last Sunday’s homily with strong words for “Catholics” voters. Deacon Greg is a retired Secret Service agent who protected Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan. You could say that he is a leader of the Church Militant. This is from St Patrick’s Church in Louisville Ky. The video is in 2 parts for a total of 16 minutes for those who wish to view. The filming is not professional.

    1st part
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR1uSFpNOMg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    2nd part
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO1bgkGSTZ8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    Anilwang,
    Many of our bishops have just returned from their ad limina meetings in Rome. I’m sure the point was made to them about the status of abortion in canon law. They work for the Church and not for the government, in every single country on earth. I hope this was made clear to them. I suspect that it was.

  17. pm125 says:

    It’s been a month now since the multitude of people gathered for the March for Life. Their lives go on and soon comes the lazy summer. I think, while memories are fresh, some sort of direct line to youth (through all trip organizers) (on-line or written) would bring added awareness to the added need to stand for Religious Liberty and Conscience. The occupiers do this. The dems have it in the works for the election. We still can talk issues, which informed people will use to choose for whom to vote. Maybe this work has begun. Sermons aren’t the only way. Simple, informative, catechetical, plain. References will lead to look ups by the energetic, lost, thirsty, and hungry. One source, such as a special dept. of USCCB, from the Catholic Church. What better use for 8 1/2 x 11 paper? Distribution by DRE’s, and true Catholic orgs., the Knights, and so on – schools, colleges, Newman centers.

  18. catholicmidwest says:

    This is an excellent idea, pm125. Networking is essential.
    We need to stop relying on others to do our work for us, and do it ourselves, because when others do it, their agenda isn’t ours.

  19. keithp says:

    Anilwang-
    No I am referring to a series of 7 books covering the liturgical year. Short daily meditations from the Church fathers and many from St. Josemaria Escriva. Mostly, inclusive of the NO daily readings. I have been reading them over and over for years.

    http://www.aquinasandmore.com/catholic-books/in-conversation-with-god-vol-2/sku/647

  20. Johnno says:

    On the topic of reason, if society loses the ability to distinguish reason from what is unreasonable, as I believe they have, then they will only understand one things…

    Fear…

    More specifically, Fear of the Lord, which is brought about by Fear of their mortality, and the fear that just maybe they were wrong and the afterlife does have a hell and judgment. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge, it is said… I’d also say that Fear of the Lord is the beginning of reason. Or to take reason seriously.

    We must begin confronting the world with the Last Things in order for them to listen up and reconsider their reasons – Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven. Once they begin to face this fear we are given by God out of mercy, only then will they begin to calm down enough to be reasoned with as now they have a motivation to do so. Without that, it may well be futile. We are going to have to get them to question their personal beliefs about what happens after death and face the possibility that a cruel fate awaits that they have ignorantly chosen.

    @ AvantiBev

    The things you say are indeed true. But I believe the point was with concern to those in professions where going against their conscience is going to be unavoidable. In cases of professions like this, where it’s likely you’d never get the job in the first place unless you agree to conform with what’s being asked of you, such professions can no longer be entered into. Already there are moves on the part of establishments to deny Christians any right to work in certain fields because they consider the beliefs Christians hold to be hindrances. For example the government could very well mandate that to be a qualified doctor, one must have assisted in an abortion at least once during their training. If this becomes so, and there are a good many in power who’d like to make it so, entering this profession by virtue of its requirements means a Catholics simply cannot choose to do so. Now apply that formula to requirements for being teachers, politicians in terms of what you teach or support or in the case of oaths etc. and you’ve got a recipe to keep Catholics out of the public life in total.

  21. Father, Re Henry VIII: how long until Obama gets around to the equivalent of PRAEMUNIRE – the offence that means whatever the King says it means ( as the Spanish Ambassador reported) then the Constitution will be totally irrelevant.

  22. disco says:

    Jon O’Brien is definitely a 915er. What ulterior motive could the bishops possibly have for not wanting to pay for contraceptions sterilizations and abortions? This Jon O’Brien fruitcake is out of his freaking mind. He basically argued that providing abortion is the only way you should ever get federal money!

  23. tjvigg3 says:

    I preface my remarks by noting that I have great respect and admiration for Fr. Schall and often find the comments by Fr. Fox to be quite errudite. However, I must respectfully disagree with both of them. I think that the comments by AvantiBev are closer to the path the Church and her members should follow. This is not the time to strike our colors from the field and go home. This is the time to stand and fight. True, many in the population no longer can either make or follow a logical argument. True, most Catholics are ignorant of the basic tenents of the Faith and can not be expected to understand the finer nuances of the Faith. However, these are not reasons to quit. These are reasons to press on. If the Church dropped the ball in boldly teaching the Faith in the years after the Council (and She did), if contraception is practiced among Catholics largely because for too many years there was silence from the pulpits on this issue ( or worse, or a wink and a nod from psuedo-sympathetic clergy), now is the time to correct the mistake – after all, the Holy Spirit is rasing up a bold generation of priests and bishops unafraid to speak the truth. The nation is hungry, no, starving, for moral leadership – a leadership that will never be found in our political parties. The Church alone can and must provide that leadership. We should not withdraw from public life. We must stand taller. The Courts have not yet had a chance to sift and review the HSS mandate. There is great reason to hope that, in light of Hosanna-Tabor, the mandate will be struck down. In the interim, there is no reason to make matters worse by needlessly plunging into a second Obama term. We should do our best to reverse course and stop the bleeding before it is too late. Faithful Catholics number about 13% of the population – similar to the African American community. There is no reason our voice cannot be heard and heeded. If we include those Evangelicals and Orthoox Jews who side with us, our numbers only keep increasing. We are only beat if we give up. And if we withdraw, we strengthen and solidify the dictatorship of relativism. For years, both cultural and ecclesiastical observers have seen the outright and explicit clash between the Church and secularism coming. Well, now it is here. Let us use all our resources (including prayer and fasting) to preserve our country. America can indeed again be a place where character and virtue define who we are as citizens, but not without the coming fight – a fight that in many ways outstrips in importance for our survival as a people the wars this country has previosuly fought in her 200+ year history. If the Church gives up the fight; if Catholics withdraw from the body polity, if we let Obama win another term without a valiant fight – who else has the moral truth to pick up the banner and carry on? No, if good and faithful folk do not stand and defend this country from the ravaging wolves of secularism – whither Amercia and what will say to the Divine Judge when we stand before him?

  24. heway says:

    “We must turn away from the Spirit of Vatican II folks, and unseat them from teaching roles in our parishes. It is not merely 3 years of Obama to be undone, but decades of post-VII damages to the Church.”

    Here are a few words spoken by the then Cardinal designate Timothy Dolan to the consistory:
    “Yes, we gather as missionaries, as evangelizers.
    We hail the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, especially found in Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, and Ad Gentes, that refines the Church’s understanding of her evangelical duty, defining the entire Church as missionary, that all Christians, by reason of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, are evangelizers.
    Yes, the Council reaffirmed, especially in Ad Gentes, there are explicit missionaries, sent to lands and peoples who have never heard the very Name by which all are saved, but also that no Christian is exempt from the duty of witnessing to Jesus and offering His invitation to others in his own day-to-day life………
    Thus, mission became central to the life of every local church, to every believer. The context of mission shifted not only in a geographical sense, but in a theological sense, as mission applied not only to unbelievers but to believers, and some thoughtful people began to wonder if such a providential expansion of the concept of evangelization unintentionally diluted the emphasis of mission ad gentes.
    Blessed John Paul II developed this fresh understanding, speaking of evangelizing cultures, since the engagement between faith and culture supplanted the relationship between church and state dominant prior to the Council, and included in this task the re-evangelizing of cultures that had once been the very engine of gospel values. The New Evangelization became the dare to apply the invitation of Jesus to conversion of heart not only ad extra but ad intra, to believers and cultures where the salt of the gospel had lost its tang. Thus, the missio is not only to New Guinea but to New York……..
    Over the fifty years since the convocation of the Council, we have seen the Church pass through the last stages of the Counter-Reformation and rediscover itself as a missionary enterprise. In some venues, this has meant a new discovery of the Gospel. In once-catechized lands, it has meant a re-evangelization that sets out from the shallow waters of institutional maintenance, and as John Paul II instructed us in Novo Millennio Ineunte, puts out “into the deep” for a catch….
    Joy, love . . . and, last point . . . sorry to bring it up, . . . but blood.
    Tomorrow, twenty-two of us will hear what most of you have heard before:
    “To the praise of God, and the honor of the Apostolic See
    receive the red biretta, the sign of the cardinal’s dignity;
    and know that you must be willing to conduct yourselves with fortitude
    even to the shedding of your blood:
    for the growth of the Christian faith,
    the peace and tranquility of the People of God,
    and the freedom and spread of the Holy Roman Church.”

    I apologize for only giving a few scattered phrases, but even here we see the new Cardinal Dolan reminding us of the need for blood shedding. The first quote at the beginning came from another commenter. If we are to change the country, the world, this partisanship must end. I am a daughter of Vatican II and a catechist. At 76 I am the culmination of many years of being educated in catholic schools, many years of working in catholic hospitals and many years of assisting God’s children to answer His call. As a cantor I will see that many parts of our Lenten Masses are in Latin-chant Mass. There will be no uproar over this. Please refrain from speaking of those who attend and maybe even prefer the Novus Ordo, to people who have abandoned the church.
    Read Cardinal Dolan’s address….it is well worth the time!

  25. q7swallows says:

    I hate to be a pessimist but I awoke the other morning with one predominant thought: The world is not ready for the amount of self-denial that is necessary to sufficiently address the contraception issue with any kind of real strength — let alone the religious freedom issue. Ya simply can’t give whatcha ain’t got.

    Martyrdom is most definitely in the wind.

    I, too, have been thinking long and hard about the congruency of our times with that of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. Of politicians, bishops, and power over life and death. And of the more terrifying Judgment of Love Himself. Only God could right this planet.

  26. q7swallows says:

    Sorry, tjvigg3, but I didn’t see your post until after I published mine. In no way did I intend to contradict your points. Your courage and verve are refreshing. Mine are just the sighing reflections of a tired old warrior in the contraception trenches. Go get ‘em, tiger! I’m behind you. They’re just going to have to slay me where I stand–if I’m still on my pins.

  27. EXCHIEF says:

    We cannot afford, in any sense of that word, another Obama term. Even if (and that is a big IF) we had a conservative Congress (both houses) the little want to be dictator Obama would, as he has done so many times, circumvent Congress and the Constitution to push us further down the road of secular socialism. He MUST be defeated. Want to wage a battle? If Santorum is elected (and I pray he will be) there will be plenty of battles to fight. The pro abort liberals will not go down without a fight and will do their best to destroy a conservative and moral President.

  28. JKnott says:

    @ tjvigg3
    Very well said!

  29. Supertradmum says:

    There is something sadly familiar about all these tyrants who have challenged the Church. They end up dead and in some sort of judgement and the Church continues. Think they would learn not to listen to the Lord of Lies, who just wants them to join him in misery forever and ever.

    Who is the winner? Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat! And, we as His Mystical Body, the Church suffer and reign with Him.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    By the way, my favorite last two, probably mythical, statements of Henry VIII were his first asking Anglican Archbishop Cranmer to have Masses said for his soul in Purgatory and the answer was, “But, Your Majesty, you destroyed Purgatory.” The second is the witness who claimed Henry sat up in bed and said, “Monks, monks, monks” right before he died, as if watching a procession of those martyrs go through his room at his death. Judgement is a terrible thing.

  31. bookworm says:

    “For years, both cultural and ecclesiastical observers have seen the outright and explicit clash between the Church and secularism coming. Well, now it is here.”

    What I find both frightening and encouraging right now is to read and ponder the history and development of slavery and the anti-slavery movement in the U.S. in the 19th century. Those of you who remember your history classes or are history buffs know that the Civil War was no surprise and that observant and wise people on both sides of the issue saw it coming decades ahead of time.

    Something I find particularly striking is that from 1776 up to about 1820, there seemed to general agreement even in the South that slavery was a necessary evil at best and that they would, eventually, get around to freeing the slaves when the time was right. (I guess they thought slavery should be safe, legal and rare.) That all started to change with the rise of the cotton industry in the South. Suddenly, or not so suddenly, the Southern economy became much more dependent upon slavery and their political leaders began to dig in their heels, resisting any suggestion of even gradual emancipation or of limits on interstate slave trade. Later on they got even more aggressive about promoting slavery as a good thing, a positive right, and insisting upon its expansion to new territories. Along the way attempts to resolve the issue, like the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, were made that served only to postpone the inevitable. “Dred Scott,” which is often compared to “Roe”, came very late in the game (1857) and was one of the last straws that pushed the nation toward war. Well, I see this happening right now with regard to life and marriage issues. The other side is getting more aggressive and itching for a fight and I guess it has to happen sometime.

  32. Gail F says:

    If ONE MORE person says “if Catholics vote for this guy again, they deserve what they get,” I will strangle someone. Catholics voted for Obama at about the same percentage as everyone else, slightly over 50%. That shows, if anything, that the entire country is divided on vital issues. As much as the liberals like to claim that “everyone” agrees on things, this is not true. We are divided right down the middle. If we get the same results, then just about half the country (Catholic and non-Catholic) will certainly not “deserve” what they will get, and all the schadenfreude in the world isn’t going to make matters any better!!!! My only hope is that things have been much worse in our country before, and perhaps that indicates that we’ll get back on the right track. In the 1920s, the KKK almost took over the government. We used to have slaves. We had a Great Depression, two world wars, and at one time (yesterday was actually the anniversary of the executive order) we put an entire race of people in internment camps. Look at things with a cold eye: We have to see things as they are and not give in, but not panic either.