Little Tin Gods – Part 3

Psalm 95 in its pre-Christian context is is a song to the Hebrew people, directed as an exhortation and a warning to the Jewish people. St. Paul quotes from this psalm in Hebrews and in the context of Christianity it is an appeal and an entreaty to the Gentiles. I pray this psalm each day when I am able to pray the Divine Office as it is the Invitatory Psalm and over the years have at times been moved to tears while doing so.

For the LORD is the great God,
the great king over all gods,
Whose hand holds the depths of the earth;
who owns the tops of the mountains.
The sea and dry land belong to God,
who made them, formed them by hand.

Supertradmum wrote something the other day that helped to put into words something I’ve tried to express before. It stems from the statement I’ve made to friends that I am a Catholic first…an American second. This does not and should not bring into question my loyalties or my allegiance with my country. I love my country America. I love the history and the vast richness we share as a people when united. But we are not united presently, having allowed ourselves to be manipulated into divisions and encampments. Before you blast me for the above statement ask yourself how many people you know who put party before country. I do. I know Democrats who do this. I know a few Republicans that do as well. They would vote for a man or woman based upon the initial after their name before ever once considering what their election would mean for the country as a whole.

Back to Supertradmum’s post:

During the persecutions of the Catholics in Rome in the First Century, the followers of Christ were seen as threats to the civil authorities and civic order.

Catholics were not considered good citizens by the very fact that they were Catholics. Why? Because Christians acknowledged and still do, an authority greater than the government.

As the emperors and the People and Senate of Rome looked on a group which had loyalty to a different god, not the gods of the Roman Empire, these leaders considered Catholics as dangerous.

We are dangerous. Any state which does not follow the laws of God, such as the Ten Commandments, must fear us. We have allegiance to a Divinity, the Trinity, and the Truth which has been handed down through the centuries in the Catholic Church. We do not conform to state deviancy from natural law or from revealed law.

We have a clarity of vision which may not be the same as a state, or any group which claims authority over us.

This is why there is a long history of persecution and martyrdom. The English did it. The French, too. Mexico. Hitler. Stalin. Mao. Lest you think it stopped in the 20th century, a century that saw more martyrs created than in the previous 1900 years combined, just look to the Middle East today in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

Catholics who are aware of their history know this. It is why at times we appear so hyper-sensitive to things such as are happening in America today. The segregation of Catholic beliefs from the public square as evidenced by the heavy-handed HHS mandate is but one of many examples. While we ourselves may not have lived through a previous persecution, our faith keeps us reminded of the martyrs that came before us. We are always on our guard lest that slippery slope appear.

We were warned it was coming. Pope Paul VI was ridiculed in 1968 for warning us about the coming storm in his landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae when he warned of the consequences of artificial contraception — the same contraception that the current federal administration wants to force Catholic institutions to provide in health care plans. This mandate includes drugs that produce abortions, as well as sterilization procedures.

Here’s what Pope Paul VI wrote about artificial birth control more than 40 years ago in Paragraph 17:

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife. [Emphasis mine. – Admin]

It took only forty-four years for Pope Paul VI’s warning to come to fruition here in the United States.

Back to Supertradmum. The blog continues:

Catholics will always be counter-cultural, and perhaps, counter-state. The martyrs lost their lives for believing in Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity AND for living contrary to the mores of the time in that belief.

We are all being called upon now to choose between the state and the Church.

As Christ’s Church is His Own Bride, we know what the choice is. Do we have the guts to follow Him?

Guts. It takes a lot of guts to swim against the cultural tide. To be scorned and ridiculed for stating your beliefs. It also takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to watch day in and day out as you and the sacred (or to a lesser extent the political) beliefs you hold dear are openly mocked and scorned by friends so easily today due to social media. I don’t believe for a minute that most of those who are mocking me even realize they are doing it. Facebook and Twitter and the like appear to have lowered the bar for critical thinking by leaps and bounds and people too quickly parrot whatever is fed them. I have seen the most vile, anti-Catholic propaganda posted and have finally begun to speak out against it. Most of the time my friends hadn’t thought about it in that light and politely agreed that it was wrong and removed it. One deleted me, but I don’t know how much of it was due to the exposure of their deeply held bigoted beliefs or profound embarrassment. For those who consistently post political propaganda (and let’s be honest, about 90-95% of it is propaganda) I present the following letter to everyone I know during this election. An excerpt:

As the election gets nearer, and the tempers get shorter, and the mud gets fling-ier, I want you to remember some things, please:

  • When you post on Facebook that someone is “Too stupid to breathe…” if they vote for X candidate–you could be talking about me.
  • When you write in your email that someone who votes for Y candidate is “UnAmerican”you could be talking about me.
  • When you say that someone who believes that Z candidate has better policies should “be taken out back and shot”you could be talking about me.
  • When you say that you hope everyone who votes for XYZ candidate “is rounded up” before the election–you could be talking about ME.
  • When you say/post/share ugly words, thoughts or pictures about people on the other side to support your political position–you could be talking about ME.

About ME, or someone like me that you know. Not just a random “them.” But someone you like, or love. Someone you may have known your whole life. Someone you may think is intelligent, articulate, well-spoken. Someone you may think is caring, kind, giving.

There is a PERSON behind the things you are saying. When you say that all liberals, or all conservatives…when you say that all Democrats or all Republicans…when you say that ALL of any group is/says/does/thinks/behaves/believes/hates/loves/etc., you are saying that about real people.  Honest to goodness, flesh and blood people. Not just ideologies. Not just platforms. Not just issues. Not just politicians. Your friends. Your family. Your neighbors. Your coworkers.

I recommend a reading of the entire piece by everywhere this election cycle, whether you use social media or not. Because as Ginger writes at the article’s conclusion

…when this political season is over, and the races have been decided, the non-stop political nonsense will die back down to a low boil. But you and I? We’ll still know each other. And I’ll know what you really think…of me.

And how can that not change how I think of you?

*****

I’ll wrap this up tomorrow in Part 4.

©2012 Jeff A Walker.

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