When Pope Benedict XVI made his historic visit to the United States, he was welcomed by enormous and enthusiastic crowds. His Holiness reminded us all that faith can bring meaning and purpose to every life, and that God’s love knows no boundaries.
The United States Senate passed a resolution welcoming the Pope to America.? It was a lovely gesture.
But in the debate over the language of the welcome, the conflict between the two world views battling for dominance in American culture became evident. The original language of the resolution stated that the Pope has spoken approvingly of the vibrance of religious faith in the United States, a faith nourished by a constitutional commitment to religious liberty that neither attempts to strip our public spaces of religious expression nor denies the ultimate source of our rights and liberties."
The ultimate source of our rights and liberties, of course, is the Creator. The Pope and our Founding Fathers agree on that point.
And, since the source of our rights and liberties is the Creator, the ability to recognize that reality requires that we be able to include religious expression in our public spaces.? Again, the Pope and our Founding Fathers agree.
Unfortunately, members of the current United States Senates do not agree with these premises.? In a debate that lasted for three days, the dissenters argued over the resolution?s language, and eventually succeeded in stripping the resolution of any language that recognized that there was an authority higher than the state, that a citizen’s rights flow from that higher authority, and that citizens have the right to acknowledge that higher power in the public marketplace.
In the final language of the resolution, the above sentence ended with the words constitutional commitment to religious liberty. Any references to free expression or a higher power than the government were excised. It was a stunning display of the absolute antipathy to any recognition of the fact that an individual?s rights do not flow from the state, and therefore cannot be denied.
The resolution had no force of law, it was a statement of welcome to a visiting dignitary.? The Senate routinely passes resolutions recognizing visitors to this country.?? And yet, even in a resolution, the forces that seek to replace God with Government would not yield the point.
The saddest part of the exercise was that those who believed in God DID yield. Instead of defending the fundamental underlying principle of our American system the principle that our rights come from God and are therefore inalienable they surrendered to be accommodating.? They meant well, but they were mistaken.
There can be no accommodation on this point. If our rights do not flow from God, they are not inalienable.? If they are not inalienable, they can be taken from us if the taker has the power to do so. And if our rights can be taken from us through force, we no longer have a democratic republic, we have tyranny.
We had tyranny once before.? Americans did not accommodate it then. In fact, they explained why tyranny could not be accommodated in a document that began with the words, When in the course of human events…
In light of the Senate’s debate, would that document pass today