Last week I wrote about the bold incursion against the Catholic Church launched by Connecticut lawmakers who sought to wrest parish financial control from the hands of its bishops and pastors. Thankfully, this crisis was averted, as thousands of Catholics and others lovers of the U.S. Constitution marched on our state capital to rally in support of religious freedom and to protest any governmental interference with same.
Those who advanced this legislation, state officials like Senator Andrew McDonald, who is homosexual, were no doubt spurred on by the Church's feisty opposition to gay marriage, and probably more than a bit perturbed that the Knights of Columbus, "the strong right arm of the Church," whose headquarters are in New Haven, donated $1 million in support of California's Proposition 8. The Church in Connecticut has also run afoul of abortion supporters and those who seek to permit assisted suicide in our state.
The backers of Bill 1098 would have you believe that they sought to protect parishioners from crooked pastors who would rob church funds. Yet, just as all Catholic clergy are made to pay for the sexual sins of a very few, a total of two priests out of nearly 900 in the state have been convicted of financial malfeasance. Would that our congressman had such a percentage! And so it becomes clearer that the target of this legislation is not financial accountability, but the emasculation and eventual elimination of those who buck the liberal agenda of sexual promiscuity and the culture of death.
It is a sign of the sad times we live in that such a rally even had to take place. As is so often the case in modern America, it seems that those rights most clearly spelled out in our founding documents -- such as the right to own firearms or practice one's religion freely -- are those most often in need of protection. You'd think that the great lovers of constitutional freedom like the ACLU, who are so quick to extend First Amendment protection even to enemy combatants, would have been lining up shoulder to shoulder with those who rallied in Hartford last week.
We who try to live out our faith in our daily lives are often told that we must check our beliefs at the church door; that we cannot impose our deeply held convictions on broader society, even though our nation was founded on such concepts, like that of Natural Law. On the other hand, when gays -- who differ from the vast majority of their countrymen only in their sexual preferences -- seek to force their will on the rest of the nation under the guise of "equal" rights, we are told that it is impossible for them to do otherwise because their homosexuality is "part of who they are," their very identity. How much more does this apply to people of faith who believe the stakes are much, much higher?
One of the definitions of "religion" in my dictionary reads: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. There are those in this country who worship at the altar of many such causes; be they global warming, feminism, environmentalism or socialism. And for far too long, they have imposed their minority views on the majority; often cloaking their message in sugary platitudes and even Bliblical quotes like, "I am my brother's keeper." Sorry, but I don't need the Nanny State keeping watch over me, and as for my brothers; I don't think that the forced redistribution of wealth by the government is what Our Lord had in mind when he told us to love our neighbor.
Last year, Catholics across the land were rightly dismayed and embarrassed that so many of their brethren could vote for a pro-abortion candidate, and their spirits as Americans were at an all-time low. That is, until the geniuses in Connecticut decided to light a firecracker and put it in their hands. They awoke a sleeping giant and unwittingly gave all believers a chance to prove that they could take to the streets with a zeal equal to or greater than any other "community organizers."
Yet the chuckleheads up in Hartford just don't know when to quit. Two days after withdrawing Bill 1098, Andrew McDonald and friends introduced Bill 1138; "An Act Concerning Death with Dignity," which immediately became the target of Connecticut Catholic bishops, still fresh from victory. Amazingly, the bill was withdrawn after just two days, due to what an official called, "a clerical error."
The real clerical error may lie in that liberals have underestimated this nation's priests and bishops, who seem newly emboldened to exercise their pastoral duty to inform the consciences of their flocks in matters of truth and morals. And maybe Nancy Pelosi and friends may soon discover just how many regiments the Pope really has.
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