Sunday, October 28, 2012

Will You Let Your Freedom Float Away?

Ever wonder how Hitler came into power? In working on A Noble Treason for Ignatius Press, I recently learned more about it. The book reports how Sophie and Hans Scholl and their friends launched the White Rose movement to spark an uprising against the Nazi machine (an effort that cost many of them their lives).
     Hitler’s rise is an unsettling story—it’s almost a fluke.  It seems to have occurred largely because people simply weren’t paying attention. Hitler wasn’t seen as a threat; people didn’t take him seriously. Then, things changed so gradually that most didn’t notice what was happening until it was too late. Enough people came to agree with the Nazis that they were able to take over, while the few who recognized the danger were ignored by the majority who were asleep to what was transpiring.
     A small minority of us in America feel similarly surrounded by somnambulism. We’re living among millions who seem to be sleepwalking these days, focused only on their own day-to-day concerns.
     I admit that I’ve done a lot of sleepwalking myself over the years. But I am finally awake and extremely concerned. We have only nine days left; if Obama wins, the continued erosion of our religious freedom is certain.
      We're like Ophelia in Hamlet, singing as we float to our destruction.
      Or like a child reaching for a new toy, forgetting her balloon and the string in her handif we aren't careful, our freedom will float away.

Don’t be such an alarmist, you may be thinking. What’s the big deal? Didn’t Obama come up with some compromise? 

     If a compromise has been reached, why are over forty Catholic organizations suing the Obama administration? Why are Belmont Abbey College and Franciscan University and EWTN, among many others, asking for prayers lest they have to decide between exorbitant fines or closing their institutions?
     If everything is going to be fine, why did Cardinal George predict that, “unless something changes,” the page listing all the Catholic hospitals and health care institutions in the Chicago archdiocesan directory by Lent 2014 “will be blank”? (Cardinal's Column—the whole article is well worth the read!) 
     If there’s nothing to worry about, why does the Obama administration speak now of “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion”? As Cardinal George observes: “Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship—no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government” (ibid.).

     The only thing preventing Obama from mandating that institutions—Catholic, Christian, Jewish,  Muslim, or any other pro-life institution—fund abortion itself is his personal assurance that he won’t. Such an assurance isn’t very assuring, considering his record. He’s already changed his mind on gay marriage: as a candidate he said he opposed it; as president he decided the Defense of Marriage Act was unworthy of being upheld—despite his oath of office.  The job of the president is to execute the laws; it’s the job of the legislature to write the laws, and the job of the judiciary to judge if the laws are constitutional. This is a mammoth breach on Obama’s part, and few have even noticed.
     If he’s willing to do these things during his first term—risking that there won’t be a second—what would he be willing to do in his second term, without that worry?
     We have a short period of time before us in which to make a difference in the course of our country, in the course of history. Voting against such a regime is critical, but not enough. We must try to encourage and inform others who may be sitting on the fence to do the same.
     My personality shrinks from controversy; I don’t even talk about politics with my extended family. Until now. My husband and I are not only praying and fasting, and urging our children and friends to do the same; we're also going door-to-door and making phone calls. I’m doing whatever I can—including writing this blog.
     What will you do?