Posted by: Peadar Ban | December 2, 2009

Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor

Get ready:

“We believe in law and the rule of law. We recognize an obligation to comply with laws, whether we like them or not. That obligation is defeasible, however. Gravely unjust laws, and especially laws that seek to compel people to do things that are unjust, do not bind in conscience. Certainly, one must never perform a gravely unjust act, even when “following orders” or compelled by law. Christians believe — and they are far from alone in this — that one must be prepared to pay a price, sometimes a very high price indeed, for refusing to do what one’s conscience tells one is wrong. Socrates, as presented by his disciple Plato, stunned his interlocutors by saying that if one is faced with the options of doing a wrong or suffering one, it is better to suffer a wrong. That’s the teaching of Christianity, too. So if legislation is enacted that compels obstetricians and gynecologists to participate in abortions or refer for them, Christians and other pro-life men and women who practice in those fields of medicine will find themselves faced with the options of doing what they judge in conscience to be gravely unjust or abandoning their careers. Their obligation will be to abandon their careers. By the same token, if legislation is enacted to compel Catholic hospitals and clinics, for example, to provide abortion services or refer for abortions, those institutions could face the options of doing what the Church teaches is profoundly wrong or going out of business. Their obligation will be to go out of business. Of course, this would be a tragedy, especially since these institutions do such wonderful work in providing health care to the poor. But the legal imposition will leave them no choice”

Here’s the thing.  The guy who said that also helped to write something called The Manhattan Declaration.  His name is Robert George and he’s a professor of law and something called jurisprudence, I think, at Princeton University.  Another guy named Peter Singer is also a professor down there at Princeton.  He teaches young people that killing human beings is not only good, but necessary for them and us on some occasions, even if all they are doing is living…or trying to…especially if they are trying to start living or just continue living.

Tenure.  Go figure.

Not too long ago we called such folks Nazis, or Stalinists, or Maoists.  Now we call them utilitarians.  Peter Singer is a utilitarian philosopher.  That’s someone who figures that what works, works, and what doesn’t work, or probably won’t,  isn’t worth keeping; things, people, what have you.  Get rid of it and them, whether or not”them” wants to be gotten rid of.  Some utilitarians are also ethicists.  An ethicist is a new thing, really.  They started to come around when we got rid of the Natural Law, any sense of right or wrong and morals.

Now we have ethicists to tell us that it’s really OK to do whatever we want; as long as we do it in the right way.  So, it’s ethical to marry your neighbor’s turtle, or George if your name is Henry, and it’s ethical to kill your kids if you decide they won’t have a happy life, and it’s ethical to do the same thing to Mommy when all of her stuff stops working…and she can’t work either.  Not only is that ethical, it’s utilitarian, as in Professor Singer type utilitarian.

But, it’s not ethical to tell someone that some stuff they think is right or fun to do is wrong or nasty.  And, it’s very not ethical to go, “EEEEEWWWW, that’s disgusting!”  That could make someone feel sad when everyone is supposed to feel happy about being ethical and fulfilled.

Peter Singer, incidentally, did not follow his own advice when his Mommy got old and feeble, and most of her parts stopped working.  He didn’t think she would be better off after the Kool Aid, and so, Mom got to live.  Sometimes, utilitarians like Professor Singer, display remarkably human-like sentiments.  One might be fooled into thinking they had souls.  Which, of course, they do.  But don’t tell that to a “Utili”.  That might not be ethical.

I digress.  But, I like digressions.  It’s not ethical.  Nor, is it tolerant.

Back to the quote and the Manhattan Declaration.  You should read it, and maybe sign the thing.  It’s worth reading, and certainly worth signing.  You’d have company, you know.  About 200,000 folks have done so already, and the number is growing.  They are folks who think three things.

First, they think that human life is a big deal, something to be protected and honored and, not to put too fine a point on it, something that is sacred.  That means that the rest of us don’t have the right either to tell anyone they can’t keep on living, or won’t get to live, nor to do anything to prevent someone from living…certain Congressmen/women and Senators notwithstanding.

Second, they think that marriage is something that only one man and one woman can undertake, not various arrangements currently in vogue, or anticipated, between/among members of the same sex, or different species.  Again, certain Congressmen/women and Senators notwithstanding.

Third, they think that every one of us has the right..and the duty…to be guided by a well formed conscience in matters which will affect someone’s living well and happily, getting to live that way, or continuing to live that way.  So that, if you work in a place that decides it’s just fine to “put down” Aunt Sarah, and wants you to help hold the pillow over her face, you don’t have to if you don’t think that’s “ethical” or “tolerant”; if you’re conscientiously opposed to “offing” old ladies.

The other side of this coin is the kick back.  Because, you know, there will be one.  Folks who have been getting away with murder, literally, don’t like other folks pointing this out to them, is what’s behind Dr. George’s little statement above.  Folks who, deep down, know in their guts that what they are saying is just fine and dandy is in fact terribly wrong, and what they are doing is what everyone should be allowed to do is inteinsically evil, don’t take kindly to other folks saying, “No, thank you, Dave.  I think you and Marris the Cat aren’t ever going to make good adoptive parents.  It’s not only wrong, it’s damnably wrong.”

They’re going to, well, throw a fit.  Dare I call it a hissy fit?  And they’re going to want to get even, and more than even.  For instance number one: Look at what’s happening in California, especially San Francisco after the folks there voted down same sex marriage in passing Proposition 8.  The Mormons got trashed and now, in San Francisco, the city wants to ding the Catholic Church for about $16 million in a phony real estate transfer tax scam.

In St. Louis, there will be demonstrations every Sunday outside the Carhedral by “Gay marriage” groups who object to thearch diocese contributing $10,000.00 to the campaign to defeat a gay marriage law in Maine.

Over here, in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, alla the Democratic candidates for the seat vacated by The Lion of the Senate’s untimely death (Wonder what Dr. Singer would have to say about that.) are playing “Can You Top This”  in their rush to condemn the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, RI, for telling Congressman Patrick Kennedy he is quite simply wrong and ought to learn what being a Catholic means.

It’ll get worse, you know.  But time has come, I think, to get into the ring, to as the saying goes, “Cowboy up.”

Other folks put it more stylishly two hundred and some years ago as I mention in the title of this piece.

A useful paraphrase might be…  It is time pledge your eternal life, your soul and your sacred faith.  Can I get a witness?

Try googling “The Manhattan Declaration” and becoming one.

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