The daily Gospel passage set aside for the liturgy in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, on February 4, 2015, was taken from Mark. (Mark 6:1-6) It is an excerpt from Mark’s account of Jesus returning home and preaching in his home synagogue.
This event should have been an occasion of joy for all who were gathered. However, Jesus was greeted with rejection – by the very people who should have welcomed Him – and His liberating words of Salvation, deliverance and true freedom resulted in opposition.
This particular line seemed to leap right off the page, “And they took offense at him.”
We are in the midst of a moral collapse of the culture in the West. As a student of Church history, I know we have been here before in the two thousand year history of the Christian church. I also know we will not only survive – we will be used to help revive and rebuild what is left in the wake of the rejection of God which has occasioned it.
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That is because our message concerning the dignity of every single human person, rooted in our having been created in the Image of God; the objective nature of the truth about marriage and the family; the source and proper use of authentic human freedom; the existence of fundamental human rights – endowed not by a civil government but God – and the principles we offer for building a truly just and humane social order – will have to pave the path to rebuilding the West.
The roots of the foundations of Western Civilization can be traced back to two mountains, Sinai and Golgotha.That is right – we have Jewish and Christian roots. I know, such talk invites pejorative responses among the elites. How they love to call people who make such claims bad names these days – theocrats, fundamentalists – and other terms of abuse – are increasingly acceptable in an age which calls itself “progressive ” while it is actually regressive.
But, these claims about the moral foundations of the West are none the less true. There is a HUGE difference between a secular society and secular-ism . The former allows for a pluralism which is rooted in a common moral foundation. The latter devolves into relativism, anarchy and the soon persecution of moralists of any ilk – of course in the name of “tolerance“.
The many who “take offense at Him” today, also take also offense at us. By “us ” I am referring to all those who bear the name Christian and hold a fidelity to the Bible and the clear and undisputed Christian Tradition. That includes Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant Christians. We have been thrown together by the design of a loving God who still loves the whole world. (See, John 3:16) We do not need to panic, but we do need to be wide eyed and wide awake.
The most recent example of the gathering storm cloud – and the persecution of classical Christians in the United States of America it presages – occurred with little notice on January 23, 2015. It did not DIRECTLY involve the Christian Church, but it most certainly points to the coming assault on the Christian Church. This assault will be cloaked and hidden in the counterfeit language of tolerance. It always is.
The Justices of the California Supreme Court have decided – from on high – that California Judges can no longer hold membership in the Boy Scouts of America and serve on the Bench. It will take a while to implement, and there is opposition, but that is their intention.
The reason is because the Boy Scouts leadership does not allow openly self-professing and practicing homosexual men to be Scout leaders.
Currently, California has carved out an exception for “non profit youth groups” from its social engineering edicts. Yet, the powers that be are intent that every citizen will give allegiance to a State-enforced moral — and legal — equivalency between those who engage in homosexual and lesbian sexual acts and members of properly protected “suspect classes” such as race, creed, gender and national origin.
In other words, homosexual and lesbian sexual activity is now to be given legally protected status under the implementation of civil rights laws in California, or there will be punitive consequences for all violators.
Anyone who fails to see the nexus between how one engages in sexual acts with people of the same sex – and race, creed or national origin – is parodied and disparaged. However, it now goes beyond that. They are openly discriminated against.
Now, some will read such an assertion and claim that I am overreacting by drawing a line of connection between this Court action and what I believe is the next step – the concerted attempt to use the police power of the State to compel the Christian Church to deny the objective moral truth that marriage is solely between one man and one woman, open to life, intended for life and formative of family.
I insist that I am not overreacting at all. You see, all the “religious exemptions ” in the world, be they State or Federal, are not going to hold back the cultural engineers of this age. They have a new order in mind. It looks surprisingly like some very old orders – which also did not like Christians.
Our claim, as classical Christians, is not ONLY that our religious faith, the Bible, the Christian Tradition and our fully informed consciences insist that homosexual and lesbian activity is NOT the moral equivalent of the dignity and beauty of sexual expression within the marriage bond between a man and a woman – but we also make the claim that the Natural Moral Law affirms this truth.
We further claim that this objective moral truth is not confined to those with a religious perspective but should inform the social order. We insist that the truth about marriage and the family is recognized cross culturally and inter- religiously. It has stood the test of time. That it is because it is revealed by the Natural Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason, and should inform the positive or civil law of every Nation.
So, before you take some solace in all of these “religious exemptions,” open your eyes. We are one step away from being forced out of public service and holding offices such as serving on the bench. That is if we are faithful, classical, bible believing, creed confessing Christians.
I remember with fondness Roman Catholic Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo who died in 2008. He was the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family of the Vatican for the years before his death. He was a man of great Christian courage.
On June 29, 2006, he was interviewed by the Italian news weekly “Famiglia Christiana”. He issued a serious warning. He said that the Catholic Church could be prosecuted one day for its clear defense of the right to life and the dignity of every human person from conception to natural death as well as its insistence that marriage is what it is, a lifelong union between one man and one woman, and cannot be redefined by the State.
He was absolutely correct. His words were a prophetic warning. Not just for Catholic Christians, but for all classical Christians, be they Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. Given social, legal and cultural trends in certain European Nations, as well as in the Americas, all faithful Christians, no matter what their confession or Church communion, are in peril of prosecution by the State.
This is not paranoia; it is a realistic assessment.
The deceased Catholic Cardinal expressed his concern in these words:
I fear that faced with current legislation, speaking in defense of life, of the rights of the family, is becoming in some societies a crime against the state, a form of disobedience of the government, a discrimination against women.. The Church risks being brought in front of some international court, if the debate gets any more tense, if the most radical opinions are heeded.
In that same interview, he spoke of the ghoulish experimentation on human embryonic life masquerading as scientific and medical advance. What is called “embryonic stem cell research” always involves the killing of human embryos and is therefore intrinsically immoral.
The Catholic Church favors all legitimate advances in medical science that respect the dignity of all human life and truly serve the common good. Thus, the Church strongly encourages adult stem cell research and fetal cord blood research. Both of these, unlike embryonic stem cell research, have also shown great promise in clinical trials.
Like the little boy in the fable “the Emperor has no clothes ” this courageous leader of the Catholic Church stripped away the veneer of empathy that is so loosely spun around this practice of “manufacturing” human embryos in order to destroy them as though they were property to be used rather than gifts to be received.
He stated what should only be the obvious under Canon Law – as well as under any solid moral analysis- scientists who engage in such acts should be viewed in the same way as those who perform abortions. He stated:
Destroying an embryo equals abortion and that excommunication goes for the woman, the doctors and the scientists who eliminate the embryo.
How refreshing it truly was to hear such clarity in an age of twilight masquerading as dawn. The Cardinal did not stop at the issue of life in this interview. He also spoke with candor concerning another dangerous assault on the common good, the efforts to destroy marriage – and the family founded upon it.
He condemned efforts of the new cultural and social revolutionaries to give cohabiting homosexual and heterosexual paramours the same legal status as those who are truly married. He specifically noted Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, where, by legislative fiat, the power of the State and its penalties now require the acceptance of this counterfeit:
We are changing the definitions about life: male and female, father and mother are disappearing. Everyone becomes a ‘partner. Civil unions are a legal fiction, two people who promise each other nothing, who promise nothing to their children nor to the state but want the same rights as marriage.” He referred to homosexual “marriage” as “absolute nothingness.
After his interview, the proponents of the new Cultural Revolution drew their verbal swords and pilloried that good man and prophetic churchman. The drumbeats of persecution could be heard in the distance.
Now, at least in California, those drumbeats can be heard clearly – and they are getting louder.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.