With 4th of July quickly approaching, I thought I’d do something a little bit different for this post.
Those who know me well, know that I am a practicing Catholic, and have strong political opinions congruent with my religious beliefs. I didn’t start this blog with the intentions of using it as a political platform, I started it simply as a way for me to express myself creatively through writing and photography. However, we have come to a point in our country, in which our first amendment right–specifically freedom of religion, is in jeopardy. This is something that everyone should feel strongly about and fight against, no matter what religion you affiliate yourself with. With 4th of July upon us, it is important that we consider what is going on in this country that was founded on the ideals of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
For those that haven’t heard, our president, Barack Obama has mandated that Catholic institutions must now provide women with contraceptives, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilizations. All of which greatly and openly conflict with the the teachings of the Catholic faith.
This is where most people roll their eyes and argue that the Catholic teachings against contraceptives and abstinence until marriage are outdated and too conservative for this day and age. To those, I ask if they are aware of the definition of the word “objective”? “Objective” is defined in the dictionary as, “not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts”
The Catholic church considers it’s teaching against contraceptives to be objective truth. A truth, based upon facts, that are unchanged by personal feelings. Now, whether or not you agree with that is up to you–but, for an institution that quite literally dates back to Jesus Christ himself, it is difficult for people to take you seriously if you are consistently changing what it is that you consider to be objectively true and foundational to your beliefs.
Yes, I am aware that there are many Catholics that use birth control, just as there are many Jews who do not eat kosher, many Mormons who drink caffeine, and many Muslims who don’t make a pilgrimage to Mecca. But those who do not act as their faith teaches, do not change the teachings of their faith.
To those who see this as a women’s rights issue, please, I beg you to stop. No one in this situation is trying to keep women from taking birth control. I repeat, NO ONE IS STOPPING THEM FROM TAKING BIRTH CONTROL. Even though the Church teaches against it, they do not stop anyone from exercising the free will that God has given them to live their lives as they want. Whether or not it is healthy or a good idea overall, is a separate issue. This is about taking away the first amendment rights of millions of Americans in order to, quite literally, pay for a small group of people (who are most likely already paying for their own birth control) to go out and have sex with “no consequences”. I can’t imagine that anyone would think that is a fair trade.
All other arguments aside, this is not a Catholic issue.
This is an issue for every American: Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Muslim, Mormon, Jew, Scientologist, Agnostic, and Atheist.
Today it is the Catholics that find ourselves under fire from our own government, tomorrow who knows who it might be?
As Cardinal Dolan has stated, “We did not ask for this fight, but we’re not going to back away from it.”
My hope is that we can find good in this situation, by lighting a fire within the Catholic church as well as many other religious denominations, to not only live out our faith more fully, but also recognize that we do have control over what happens in our country, as long as we DO something to change it.
I’ll leave you with a poem by Protestant pastor and theologian, Martin Niemöller written in the early postwar years after the Holocaust:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.