Saturday, March 17, 2012
- Choosing Your Religion
One thing that's becoming perfectly clear to me in this debate about the health care mandate is that it's really a battle between two different sets of beliefs. The biggest difference is that the Catholic church doesn't have any interest in forcing you to do it their way, and the state has no tool for motivation except force. Support the church in their resistance and it will be up to you how to live your life. Support the government view, and your only choice will be to live your life as you're commanded.
The left doesn't seem to understand that the central tenant of Christianity is individual 'choice'. They call it "free will" but it means precisely the same thing. What you individually choose is what determines your status as a moral or immoral person. If you take away that choice then the central component of the question is changed from "Are you a good or bad person?" to "Are you an obedient slave or a disobedient one?" One can argue the virtues of obedience, but only an idiot would argue that it's the same thing.
The left will argue that this is about 'access to abortion' but it really isn't. It's really about access to a individual choice about abortion.
If you decide that abortion is a wonderful thing and want to get one, the Catholic church will tell you that you are a bad person. They may (although it's unlikely) tell you that you can no longer call yourself a Catholic. They may tell you that you need to regret your act and perform some penance before you can be welcomed back as a member of their community. But they won't command you to pay a fine. They won't send armed men to your house and throw you in jail for not paying it. All they will do is tell you that you've been bad, and leave it up to you to redeem yourself. That's how the Catholic church works.
But if you decide that killing a baby before it's born is the same thing as killing it afterward, and that you therefore don't want to participate in that killing... then it's a totally different story. Under the new mandate if you refuse the will of the state, then they will give you a new HUGE fine. If you refuse to pay that they will send armed men to your house and throw you in jail. And if at that point you continue to resist their commands, then you face the same violent consequences as any other criminal. That's how the state works. It is the arbiter of force. The 'command' is all it knows.
I've met a lot of people who disagree with Catholicism and many who disagree with Christianity as well. But I've met very few who don't broadly subscribe to the basic morality of the Judeo-Christian world. We all (virtually all) think that people should be guided by their conscience. If a Jew or Muslim owns a restaurant and refuses to serve pork, we don't object. We allow them to define how their acts can be kept within the limits of their conscience.
The Catholic church is only trying to do the same. They aren't arguing for a ban on abortion. They aren't saying no one should be allowed to get one. They have no commands for anyone else at all. All they have is the request that they not be forced to participate financially in something to which they object. And you don't have to agree with their objection to agree that it should be their option to act within their conscience and the teachings of their faith.
But the progressives that run our government take a very different religious view. For them, the State is the church, and there should be no authority for anyone that is higher than that. They believe the commands of the State should be adopted universally by every citizen, regardless of what their individual conscience tells them. That's what the word "mandate" means. Ordering, and if necessary physically forcing the citizenry to obey the commands of State is the central component of their beliefs. To them you not only have no choice, it would be immoral to give you one. Their contract with the citizen doesn't say "We'll tell you what we think and you do as your conscience dictates". When taken to its natural end their contract says says: "Anything which isn't mandatory is forbidden." This mandate is the beginning of the 'mandatory' part.
So you can choose your beliefs. If you believe that everyone should be given a choice in how to live their lives then you should support the Catholic view of the health care mandate, even if you disagree with the morality of the Catholic church and it's view of abortion.
But if you believe that it would be better to have a nation of orderly and obedient slaves than the disordered moral chaos of leaving so much up to each individual, then you should support the government view instead.