Historically, people chose kings to rule over them, to lead them into battle, and to tell them what to do. And the people loved their kings, and wept over their death. On a smaller scale, families give children comfort and protection, and decide things for them --- but where families fall apart, children choose gangs to belong to. The talk show hosts said this desire to belong to a group, to have a leader who is responsible for them, seems a natural longing. And so many are choosing to have the government lead them, and to be responsible for them. They seem to fear freedom. (Unsaid was the Christian church’s teachings on freedom, a gift of God --- yet look what happened to Adam and Eve who acted in freedom!)
Of course, the Red Eye Radio show isn’t Christian radio, but they often speak of Christianity and God, and they said this fear of freedom was a natural thing. Myself, I would say some are choosing to trust the government, but if they must trust anyone, why not trust God? Look at how many governments have stated they wish to care for their people, and look how they’ve failed. People fled those countries for America, and they still do. Throughout Scripture are evidences of how God wishes to care for us --- if we let Him.
Freedom IS a scary thing. We grow into adults and take responsibility for our actions. And yes, if we choose wrongly, we can turn God away from us. But … unlike a government, God loves us. Unlike a government which may tell us what we’ll be, God lets us be all that we CAN be --- all He created us to be --- if we choose Him, in our freedom.
First Things points out a new liberal-leaning voting bloc in America, a bloc larger than the Evangelical vote: “20 percent of Americans now check “None” when asked about their religious affiliation --- the number was 3% in 1957.” One third of adults under thirty are Nones. It’s become more socially acceptable to be a None. The Pew study reports 72% of Nones support legalized abortions, and 73% same-sex marriage. “Their primary commitment is perhaps best understood as the freedom to define the meaning of life for oneself.” “They boasted and jeered when the party leadership forced through amendments to restore ‘God’ to the (Democratic) party platform.”
Especially among the young in America, there is a new definition of freedom and responsibility. “My freedom means YOU are responsible to give me what I want --- and if I am in power, I will make you do it.”
Scary times, and all the more reason for us to get up and take action. We are the ones who need “Hope and Change.” I heard Cardinal Dolan on the radio yesterday: “First things first. Get to confession.” Sounds like good advice.
“I’m in favor of many of those government social programs --- but, of course, not the wasteful ones. It’s not that many people want to be taken care of --- maybe they do --- but I think many people NEED to be taken care of. Look at the choices the people of the city of Detroit are making: broke government, crime, families disintegrated, and they say they still want to control their future. They’re not capable. The government should take care of them.” I reflected my Catholic teachings and the doctrine of subsidiarity: “Why the government? Isn’t the commandment for YOU to love your neighbor?” “I am,” he responded, “but this is a huge job that I can’t do myself, so I’m delegating it to the government, which I elect to act in my behalf.” “So, you’re delegating your moral responsibility.” I ask? “Sure, why not?” “Why not,” I responded, “has to do with why those commandments were given to you in the first place --- so that YOU might have eternal life. Do you really think that you can justify yourself to God by saying ‘Okay, I did all You told me to do; I delegated it to those guys, and if they screwed up, well, You know I tried. Will God accept this reasoning on your part, or will He just look at them as further support of His saying about how hard it is for a rich man to get into heaven --- he thinks he can buy his way in,” I quipped.
“I don’t think you can delegate your moral responsibility,” I challenged.
He paused. Then he said, “I can see that viewpoint, but I’ve got to get to work. See you.” And he left.
Conversations such as these, with family and friends, need to be completed, not walked out on.
But even Jesus fed the 4,000; He gave them a miracle to satisfy their immediate needs, address their sadness, and then He said: “Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s talk.” We too need to find a way to begin the conversation with the sad “needy” people of our country, of our culture, who can only think of the NOW, and of immediate satisfaction of their wants.
Alice speaks admiringly of her husband, Dietrich: “Even though he was raised in a family that took moral relativism for granted, the young Dietrich, age fourteen, challenged his oldest sister’s conviction that moral values depend upon time, place, and circumstances. Back home, she appealed to their father saying, ‘Imagine, he refuses to see that moral values are relative,’ to which the father said, ‘Don’t forget that he is only fourteen.’ The young Dietrich retorted, ‘Dad, if you have no better argument against my position than my age, your position certainly does not rest on solid ground.’” Their conversation related occurred in the late 1800’s, not yesterday. Relativism has been around a long time, and has many firm believers, and intelligent ones. Know your enemy.
Fortunately, there are intelligent people on the side of truth, also. When I said WE need to inform ourselves about the doctrines of our faith, it was so we could defend it, as young Dietrich (unknowingly) did. Dietrich believed man could know the truth, which is why he eventually became Catholic, and a great defender of the faith. He found Truth in the Catholic Church. We need to also, and have a similar depth of confidence, of trust, in it.
I caught part of Raymond Arroyo’s EWTN show yesterday. A guest of the show said he was invited to debate the leader of the “Nuns on a bus” group which toured the country proclaiming “Catholics for Obama.” Before the show, he said, he had a chance to meet the nun. “Let’s not talk about abortion,” she said. “I really am torn about that topic, and what my thoughts are.” He said: “She doesn’t know what to think about abortion, but she knows exactly what the minimum wage should be: $12.50/hour. Debate her? I didn’t know how to even begin to talk to her.”
So I guess some relativists DO think they can find absolute truths, like the correct amount of the minimum wage.