(A Fortnight for Freedom Series, For Greater Glory PLEDGE.) Megan Kelly on Fox News lectured Michael Reagan today, “but we have to follow the rule of law, this is the one thing that binds us together as a nation, the rule of law.”
The Fox News segment was about the recent call of the Catholic Bishops in opposition to the President’s cancellation of their first amendment rights announced in February as an HHS “mandate” requiring them to provide what they call “infanticide” services to employees at their hospitals and charities. Michael Reagan was not given time to really answer the “fair and balanced” reporter, actually “commentating” against the Catholic stand for conscience. So here goes.
First, about the rule of law. It is not an absolute. It does not stand alone, nor is it “uber alles” (over all). There are other laws. There are other “commandments” for that matter.
For example, it is possible to lay your life down knowingly – for example to save someone else’s life – and not call it suicide. It is possible for a soldier to shoot to kill, or someone to shoot an armed intruder who is threatening their life, and still be a good Christian.
When there was slavery in America, if you lived in a border state and you saw evidence that your neighbor was harboring fugitive slaves and was therefore part of the underground railroad, would you feel obligated to report him to the authorities so they could arrest him for violating the law?
If you lived in Holland in 1942 during the Nazi occupation of your country and you saw the Jewish family of Anne Franke hiding (as they did for two years) would you have reported them to the authorities? Would the now famous “Diary of Ann Franke” have been published with your name as the one who turned her in?
If you lived during Roman times would you have been one of the people in the crowd demanding that Barabbas be freed and Jesus crucified so you could “uphold the Rule of Law”?
How in other words, would you answer in the morally right way all of these questions but then say you are opposed to “amnesty for illegals” (ie. for liberal readers: respect the conscience of undocumented workers)?
In York, PA there is a group which opposed the reelection of moderately (or occasionally) conservative but very affable GOP Congressman Todd Platts. Their website, Facebook page and their meetings were full of attacks on him and in many instances, crossed the legal line from lobbying a public official, or criticizing his vote, to what the U.S. Supreme Court has called “express advocacy” where you are clearly acting as a “political action committee” and must therefore by law, register as such, including appropriate filings with the Federal Election Commission.
They never did. They don’t like the law. They did not register. They are not to be found in the state capital nor in the nation’s capital with any of the civil authorities, not as a non-profit, nor a not-for-profit, and not as a “political action committee.” No doubt, they are “following our conscience.”
How about the military draft during the Vietnam war, and “conscientious objectors” who claimed they hated war?
How about the 1960’s and 1970’s draft dodgers who fled to Canada rather than answer the draft call?
How about those instances in which nurses have refused to help a Doctor perform an abortion, and then been terminated from employment?
Conscience vs the Law
When is it “conscience” and OK to ignore or even defy the law?
When is it not OK to ignore the law?
When is it time to uphold the rule of law, and say no, I cannot obey this law, it violates my conscience?
Is it OK to abort your baby if you can sleep well at night, and your conscience doesn’t bother you?
What about the recent call of the U.S. Catholic Bishops to defy the law – the federal government “mandate” (ie. edict) under ObamaCare, announced in February, which requires that they must pay for and/or provide to employees at their hospitals and charities, what they call “infanticide services” including (but not limited to) contraceptives.
What about all those Catholics, including the Pope at that time, who helped hundreds of thousands of Jews escape concentration camps and death at the hands of the Nazis during World War II, violating both the laws of their state and international law of that time?
Is your conscience the final determinant of which laws you should obey, and which laws you should ignore?
Do you get a “get out of jail free” card, if you simply proclaim “but I am following my conscience” – and then the law does not apply to you?
This is a puzzling subject to many Americans, including both liberals and conservatives.
Let me try to offer some help on this topic, albeit a very catholic and apostolic view. And may I challenge you to offer an alternative, if you do not agree?
First, you may be a communist in which case the definition is easy: “conscience” (and for that matter all issues of right vs wrong including lying) is relative to what you wish to accomplish.
If following your “conscience” means protesting the Vietnam war then it is good. But if your conscience means displaying a confederate flag as a symbol of your heritage say in Georgia, then it is bad and you should be arrested, jailed, tortured, executed.
Keep in mind that the revulsion the liberal-left expresses towards those who would show a confederate flag is in no way different than how they feel towards anyone who would display a Tea Party flag or if you reside in the southwest, towards those who display an American flag on Cinco de Mayo (see Students Punished for Wearing American Flags on Cinco de Mayo).
This is “moral relativism” where moral right and moral wrong are all confused, often on purpose. In my view, it is by design that the word “conscience” is so confused in America today.
If you are a Catholic priest in Mexico in 1926 was it OK to arrest, jail, torture and execute you for your criticism of the secularization of the country by the civil authorities?
If you are a Catholic protesting Ronald Reagan’s defense budget of the 1980’s or participating in the shut down of a city with an “Occupy Wall Street” crowd was that OK, merely a form of free speech.
Is heckling and shouting down conservative speakers on college campuses – which is the norm – OK because it is the conscience of a few versus the wish of the people at the event to hear the speaker?
Relatively helps explain all of this and whether you admit to it or not, whether you are aware of it or not, this is what Saul Alinsky popularized, the techniques of communist organizers already being used prior to his book’s publication.
Today we call that “the tactics of Saul Alinsky.” They are the tactics of Marxist organizers who have no conscience and no belief in God. They appropriate the word “conscience” when it suits them. They are followers of the Father of Lies, whom Saul Alinsky dedicates his book to.
Lie. Switch. Use “conscience” as an argument when it benefits you, and demand “law enforcement” against those whose free speech (ie. they call it “hate speech”) offends you. These are the tactics recommended by Alinsky and used today against Christians and conservatives.
But what about the rest of us who are not committed Marxists and/or followers of Saul Alinsky?
When do we follow our “conscience” and when do we obey the law? What is right and wrong when it comes to conscience?
Again: this question does not apply to unknowing Marxist, ie. to those who ignorant that who they are really following, are Marxists who employ “situation ethics” reasoning, ie. the right or wrong all depends on the situation.
I am writing this for Christians, Catholics, conservatives and well-meaning liberals, and people who are open minded about the meaning of conscience and who may be open to the possibility of helping those standing up today to defend religious freedom in America.
What are the dictates of conscience?
What do you think about the Catholic bishops’ April 2012 call for Catholics to disobey an unjust law requiring us all to provide infanticide services?
The answer is really simple.
Part 1. Your INFORMED conscience should be your guide.
That means bad news for the narcissists and Marxists. It means if you are stupid, or uninformed, or you are lying, very bad news. You don’t have an “informed” conscience. Yours is malformed at worst, misinformed at best.
Ah the sheer arrogance of such a statement – can you sense the narcissists, marxists and the Christian-haters leaping to their pencils (ok your keyboard or for the thumb-typers out there your “smart phone”) to jump to the attack?
Wait a second.
How do you figure out, which conscience is informed, and which one is malformed or misinformed (or lying)?
Am I suggesting that the government, or a majority of society, or of your community, or perhaps your local priest or rabbi, or this writer, will tell you when your conscience’s dictate is OK and when it is not?
No, Part 2, is very simple, perhaps even simpler than Part 1.
Part 2. Accept the consequence of your civil disobedience.
If you understand what the founding fathers of America did, then you will I hope, agree that this makes sense: they declared civil disobedience against the existing civil authority. And they did so, in the extreme. They echoed the idea of John Locke, that those who govern us, do so only with our consent.
They said: do your best to stop us but we refuse to follow you any longer, and we accept that there may be consequences to us.
In Mexico, in 1926, the Cristeros said we will not comply.
I have urged you to watch Andy Garcia’s new independently produced film about the followers of Christ the King, who said we will not comply but instead took action For Greater Glory.
I look at those who helped escaping slaves before the American civil war, at the American revolutionaries, at those blessed Catholics who helped escaping Jews, all as people who had informed consciences which they were following.
I was not a fan of Martin Luther King but then, many today who claim to be, are not either: they don’t notice he said disobey a law peacefully and then, accept the consequences.
I was not around to be a fan of Mahatma Gandhi but I know many who claim to be today, did not understand that his intent was to clog the jails with those who followed him in peaceful civil disobedience.
In both cases, King and Ghandi, the intent was to change the law so that it would conform to their conscience, not the other way around. Their purpose was to appeal to others to follow them, even as they refused to comply with what they thought were unjust laws.
In both cases it was their intent to protest and to make a stand for conscience.
In both cases they accepted that their refusal to comply with unjust laws which violated their conscience, might result in their being arrested and prosecuted. Their sole defense was their claim, the law is unjust.
They did not argue that they should not be prosecuted but that the unjust law should be changed.
That is entirely different from someone who advocates lying to advance his cause which is, by self admission, the philosophy of the Occupy Wall Streets and the Saul Alinskyites.
That is entirely at odds with the leftist followers of Saul Alinsky who say they should not be prosecuted because anybody should be allowed to go ahead and disobey any law they don’t agree with.
The left and their followers (which includes some readers here) are advocating anarchy.
The Catholic Bishops are emissaries of the greatest force for order and tradition on earth, the Catholic Church, and they most certainly are not calling for anarchy as they protest President Obama’s abrogation of their First Amendment religious liberty rights.
The 1960’s leftist anti-war, anti-America protestors, just like their “descendants” of today’s anti-war, anti-America “Occupy Wall Street” movement, want to disobey the law and not accept the consequences.
They think their “conscience” is a “get out of jail free” card.
They think that if one doesn’t agree with a law, one should be free to ignore the law without any consequence.
That turns upside down, the entire point of an “informed conscience.”
Someone with an “informed conscience” knows that when there is a conflict between God’s law and man’s law it is God’s law which he must follow despite any penalty which the enforcers of man’s law may impose upon him.
So whether it is the Martyrs of the Church – including those who resisted in the Cristeros War in Mexico in 1926, or it is a Catholic nurse who refuses a direct order to help her Doctor abort a baby, these are heroes who we can admire, who realize that compliance with an unjust law is a sin. And that disobedience of an unjust law, is a virtuous act.
That is entirely different from someone who is simply a narcisist with the “philosophy” of a 7 year old, ie. “gimme gimme gimme” plus “mine, mine, mine.” God is not me. God is revealed.
Revelation says simply, God is revealed to, and hence outside of, man.
Revelation says, I must go outside of myself for truth, because God revealed Himself to man.
Whether it is Moses coming down from the Mountaintop with the 10 Commandmands, Saul’s burning bush, the voice of God to John the Baptist (“this is my beloved son…”) or the birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, people of faith understand what an “informed conscience” means.
Revelation and learning about it means you have an “informed conscience.” It doesn’t mean you become perfect, or become sinless.
Fools and atheists alike attack Christians all the time as sinners, betraying their clear ignorance of Christianity and of those who speak from and act upon an informed conscience.
Narcissism, whether it is disguised as a religion, a philosophy, a tactic or simply a kneejerk reaction against anyone telling you what to do, is not “following your conscience.”
Killing your baby is wrong. Helping someone else kill their baby is wrong. Standing by silently while someone else kills their baby is wrong. Standing by silently while they jail, arrest and torture our priests who act and teach moral, informed acts of conscience – as they did in Mexico in 1926 – is wrong.
Acquiescence in the face of injustice, is wrong.
Violating the law doesn’t mean violence.
Obeying the law, doesn’t by itself mean justice. Not if the law says blacks are slaves, Jews are to be executed, our priests in 1926 Mexico are to be tortured, our Catholic Charities and Hospitals in 2013 America, shut down for refusing to provide infanticide services.
Your informed conscience, is the highest law. Increasingly, people of faith are saying I will not comply with violence against my informed conscience and I will beg my friends to help me and help us who will not comply.
I am very excited about the stand of the Catholic Bishops and I raise my hand in salute to their stand, and to all who join me as part of the “Fortnight for Freedom” that they have called from June 21 through July 4. Why wait? Let us begin now.
If you can watch For Greater Glory on June 1 please do so.
Whether For Greater Glory plays in a nearby movie theater or as in my case, you don’t have a movie theater nearby (closest for me is 78 miles away) you can pledge to vote for religious freedom in 2012, vote for conscience, stand with us who resist an unjust war that does violence to the First Amendment and the very idea of restraint on government power embodied in the Bill of Rights.
Read my earlier article about For Greater Glory (if you haven’t already), pass it around. Pass this one around. Speak out!
You can go to Facebook and “sign” (ie. “like”) For Greater Glory PLEDGE and you can make use of the graphic that you will find there, on your facebook page.
Echo the call For Greater Glory.
We render onto Caesar, what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s, as His Son told us to do. That is action based upon informed conscience. That is not the narcissism of Saul Alinsky’s hero Satan but the meek and holy actions of the Saints of God, who we revere.
In York County, Pennsylvania, Catholic Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick Catholic Church (York City) has spoken out over and over again from the pulpit, in his Church bulletins, in defense of religious liberty. Now he has announced his intent to speak out for this new movie, to recommend it, and to invite his parishioners to join him in watching it as soon as it comes to York, PA.
Father Samuel Houser and the Catholic Bishops are joined in this stand by the Chairman of the York County Chapter of Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation (ACTION of PA/York County), Pastor Ken Gibson, who was responsible for bringing the independently made Christian oriented movie Courageous, to York County.
I can report that an emissary of Father Houser – also a member of ACTION of PA – and of Pastor Gibson, has already met with and delivered a letter requesting a local movie theater to show For Greater Glory. And there is now a firm commitment from the owner to do so as soon as the movie producers will allow it, after June 1 when the movie starts in larger metropolitan areas.
Whether you echo the call of the Cristero revolutionaries who resisted the attack on their Church in 1926 Mexico, please say and pray, VIVA CRISTO REY (long live Christ the King) or at the least, simply stand with us who do, please sign the PLEDGE to watch this movie, to vote in 2012 to defend religious liberty. Please. Do it today, pass the word, echo the call, pledge For Greater Glory.
2nd in “A Fortnight for Freedom Series,” see For Greater Glory PLEDGE; see earlier: For Greater Glory Movie Takes Aim at Government Suppression of People of Faith but May Not Come to a Theater Near You on June 1 Unless You Act.
HanoverHenry of RED STATE is Pat Henry on Facebook, and I’m on the lookout for new friends there. I maintain a 5x a week, weekdays writing schedule at RED STATE.
You can also communicate via private mail at Facebook, and I welcome new sources for my articles focusing on the conservative-Christian viewpoint in Pennsylvania. I appreciate your sharing this article elsewhere and only ask that you include this “disclaimer” in any reprints or sharing you do (if this is reprinted on any other website, that is). And I thank those whose information have helped me with some of my reports, including those who do not wish to be quoted by name.
Links to articles I wrote at RED STATE at my Facebook Notes section.