The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Coming Persecution

Whenever I allude to my belief that within a few short years the Catholic Church in the US will suffer severe persecution, folks tend to dismiss me as a wacko. Now on many issues I might very well hold some curious beliefs, but on this subject I'm as sane as they come. And although the Catholic Church will be the primary target of this persecution, Christians in general -- particularly those who actually put their Christian beliefs into practice -- will not escape the oppressive power of the federal government. As evidence let me pass along a few news items to demonstrate the direction in which things are moving.

The first item addresses a federal government legal attack on a Catholic college in North Carolina. Belmont Abbey College, a school founded by the Benedictines, decided that as a Catholic college it could not in good conscience include abortion, contraception and sterilization in its employee health care plan. After removing coverage for these procedures the college found itself on the receiving end of complaint by the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC took the complaint (originally made by eight faculty members) to the next level by issuing a letter of determination accusing the college of discriminating based on gender. Belmont Abbey's dispute with the federal government isn't over, but the government's actions are just a preview of what we can expect under any national health care plan run by the feds. To read more about Belmont Abbey College's ongoing problems, click here.

Another item, this one applicable to Christians in general, is the federal prosecution of two school administrators in Florida's Santa Rosa county who led a prayer at a dedication of a new high school field house. The two men, Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and school athletic director Robert Freeman, will go on trial in federal district court in Pensacola on September 17. That's right, the federal government will prosecute these two men for the criminal act of praying. Let's see, as I recall, the First Amendment of the United states Constitution guarantees that the government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion. Seems to me that perhaps it should be the federal government on trial here. As you might expect the American Civil Liberties Union -- an organization that is particularly dismissive of the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution -- is behind the ridiculous prosecution of these two men. For more info, click here.

Here's another. Apparently the State Bar of Arizona is considering requiring all lawyers to swear that their personal views on homosexuality will not affect their provision of legal services. On the surface it sounds fairly innocuous. After all, everyone deserves legal representation when necessary. The problem is that under this rule an attorney could not refuse to represent a homosexual who was, for example, filing suit against the Catholic Church. In other words, a Catholic attorney who accepts Church teaching on homosexual acts would be forced to choose between his faith or his job. Read more here.

I found these three stories in a few minutes of browsing this morning. They are just symptoms of an effort to move our nation and its people away from God. And so, as the decline continues, we can only raise our voices in the public square and continue to pray for our nation. And especially today, on the solemnity of the Assumption, let us ask Our Blessed Mother, our nation's patron saint, to intercede for us and lead to conversion those who would lead us in another direction.

Titian's Assumption (Church of Santa Maria dei Frari in Venice)

God's peace...

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