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Choosing Sides

February 22, 2012

Mitt Romney was widely quoted as saying he was “not concerned about the very poor,” since they already have a safety net.  The remark was roundly criticized, but betrayed a view many people hold, i.e. that the poor are somehow lacking in character or initiative.

Contrast that with a statement by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, “Every individual is worth more than the entire universe.”

This is the Christian view of life as sacred.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1: 26-27).

David wrote:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers…What is man that You are mindful of him…For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps. 8: 3-5).

Paul expanded on this still further:

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple and that God’s spirit lives in you?” (1 Cor. 2: 16).

Jesus, of course, gave His life for ours.

On this principle hang the dignity of man, the value of unborn life, and the opposition to euthanasia.  On this principle hang the freedom and equality we so treasure in this country or should, at any rate.

As Paul explained:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3: 28).

Which brings us to other low point in recent weeks: the Department of Health and Human Services requirement that employers provide health insurance for all FDA approved forms of birth control, including the morning after pill.

Initially, the religious exception to this regulation was so narrowly drawn that many faith-based social services groups would not have qualified, running the risk of exorbitant fines, if they did not comply.

Thankfully, a compromise was reached exempting Catholic institutions from directly subsidizing birth control measures (though requiring that their insurance companies cover this expense).

A laughable dialog then ensued on the issue, with self-interested politicians and commentators of every stripe falling over themselves in an attempt to score points with the public.

Secular liberals argued that there could be no question of conscience involved.  Ultra-conservatives took the opportunity to speak out against birth control of any kind.  The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment reproductive rights of women were pitted against the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

However much we may wish to avoid confrontation, the times are slowly but surely forcing us to choose sides, surfacing issues which cannot be ignored.  I am reminded of the growing antisemitism during the Weimar Republic.

May God direct our steps.


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