What is at stake in the 2012 presidential election for the United States? In particular, what is at stake for the millions of Americans who have identified themselves as Catholics? And, how is the fate of the nation to be impacted by changes that may take place in the lives of American Catholics as a result of what happens at the polls in November?
James V. Schall, S.J., professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University, writing in CatholicWorld Report of last week paints an alarming picture. If the Obama administration’s HHS mandate is not overturned in the courts (which seems unlikely in light of recent district court decisions) or at the ballot box, America will soon face a situation in which the Catholic citizenry must choose between its faith and its previously comfortable place in our society, indeed, perhaps between the faith and their livelihood. What will America look like when these good citizens are banned from the public square and economic marketplace?
Schall references the Rev. GeorgeW. Rutler ‘s July 13 essay in Crisis magazine:
The laws will now be framed in such a way that anyone who does not follow government health-care policies, which will control the whole economy, will not find jobs that he can accept with clear conscience. “Catholics will not be suitable for public charities, medicine, education, journalism, or in the legal profession.” All of this elimination is in the name of “non-discrimination.” These are the normal areas in which Catholics, especially educated Catholics, have found their livelihood and place in civil society. Our institutions of higher learning, law schools, nursing schools, medical schools, and even business schools, to survive, will, in their minds, have to accept the law to survive.
The Church’s moral positions will be seen to violate “civil rights.” Our lack of attention to the philosophic roots of “natural rights” is coming home to haunt us. “Rights” theory can justify anything. All of this control of the Church is being proposed in the name of natural and civil “rights.” In this atmosphere, Catholics will be something like their counterparts in Muslim lands. Their choice will be to escape to another land, to convert to Islam, or to be a tiny, tightly controlled minority with no opening to the public order.
Both the Schall and Rutler essays are highly recommended reading.