Wednesday, August 15, 2012
on religious freedom
Excellent article, thought-provoking, by Charles Chaput, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia. Highlights...
Democracy is not an end in itself. Majority opinion does not determine what is good and true. Like every other form of social organization and power, democracy can become a form of repression and idolatry.
The right to pursue happiness does not include a right to excuse or ignore evil in ourselves or anyone else. When we divorce our politics from a grounding in virtue and truth, we transform our country from a living moral organism into a kind of Golem of legal machinery without a soul.
Critics often accuse faithful Christians of pursuing a “culture war” on issues such as abortion, sexuality, marriage and the family, and religious liberty. And in a sense, they’re right. We are fighting for what we believe. But of course, so are advocates on the other side of all these issues—and neither they nor we should feel uneasy about it. Democracy thrives on the struggle of competing ideas. We steal from ourselves and from everyone else if we try to avoid that struggle. In fact, two of the worst qualities in any human being are cowardice and acedia—and by acedia I mean the kind of moral sloth that masquerades as “tolerance” and leaves a human soul so empty of courage and character that even the devil Screwtape would spit it out.
To work as it was intended, America needs a special kind of citizenry; a mature, well-informed electorate of persons able to reason clearly and rule themselves prudently. If that’s true— and it is—then the greatest danger to American liberty in our day is not religious extremism. It’s something very different. It’s a culture of narcissism that cocoons us in dumbed-down, bigoted news, vulgarity, distraction, and noise, while methodically excluding God from the human imagination.
From "Building a Culture of Religious Freedom", found here on The Public Discourse.