HOW THE ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL DOCTRINE IS ADVANCING IN AMERICA
"HOW THE ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL DOCTRINE IS ADVANCING IN AMERICA"
The reader who has already perused the article "The Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church" has seen expounded a principle which tends to be little noticed, but which is very significant in the context of the alliance between the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Republican Party in the United States. The principle is called "Subsidiarity." It advocates that:
. . . Some things fall within the competence of the public organization (the government) of the political community-as, for example, making laws, administering justice, and providing for the common defense. Other matters belong to private individuals; for example, whatever pertains to the family.[The last sentence is profoundly hypocritical, since the Roman Catholic Church is lobbying hard for legislation encroaching on private matters of birth control within the family, and for that matter in society at large.]
In addition, there is a broad range of activities in which both sectors, public and private, interact because the subject matter pertains to both for example, the production and distribution of goods, the promotion of scientific research and of the arts. Here the principle of the primacy of private initiative is to be strictly applied. In substance, this principle states that such activities belong in the first place to the individual person since they constitute part of his natural end. Consequently, they are the means by which a person perfects himself and cooperates in the perfecting of others.
. . . . The mission, of the state is to encourage, to assist, and when necessary to supplement the initiatives of its citizens.
The most well-known formulation of this principle was given by Pius XI: "That most weighty principle, which cannot be set aside or changed, remains fixed and unshaken in social philosophy: Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the social body, and never destroy or absorb them" (QA 79).
Three other principles can be discerned within the principle of subsidiarity: First, persons and small communities must enjoy the autonomy necessary to attain the ends and to carry out the activities within their own competence. Second, larger communities must aid the initiatives of those who come under their authority, neither stifling nor absorbing them. Third, the larger society must supply the deficiencies of persons and smaller communities when they are unable by themselves to promote the common good, and for so long as the deficiency should last. (From "The Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church" under "Subsidiarity"))
The foregoing is a minimalist approach to central government, and appears to be the explanation for the cooperative political activism of the Church of Rome and the Republican Party. As astonishing as it may be that any Church would oppose national health coverage or social security, there are indications that in the United States at least the Roman Catholic hierarchy supports Republican opposition to social welfare programs administered by the central government. For example, there is a substantial consensus in the nation that Paul Ryan's budget passed by the House of Representatives seeks to undermine and perhaps ultimately eliminate such programs. (Cf. Paul Ryan gets boost from Catholic bishops; The Catholicity of Paul Ryan’s Budget; Congressman Paul Ryan: Social teaching and the federal budget: a Catholic politician's views; Paul Ryan’s Assault On Vulnerable Americans Inconsistent With His Faith - [But it really isn't, when the Roman Catholic Social Doctrine is examined carefully;] Cf. also, Reactionary Liberalism and Catholic Social Doctrine)
The principle of subsidiarity first captured the attention of Adventist Laymen's Foundation after the 2004 presidential election. In the web document Theocratic Dictatorship we quoted a statement by the late Paul Weyrich on his Free Congress Foundation website, dated March 13, 2001, and titled "Bush Understands Catholic Principle of Subsidiarity," as follows:
"Before I get to the business of why I've called you," I said to President Bush's political guru Karl Rove, "I would be grateful if you would give your President a message from me." Rove was most obliging. "Tell him that he has mastered the art of Catholic governance," I said. Rove replied: "That's pretty good for a Methodist."
Rove went on to say that President Bush understands the Catholic principle of subsidiarity. I am not the only one who believes this is the case. The American Society of Tradition Family and Property (TFP), a very traditionalist group, says privately that Bush is more Catholic than any Catholic President who is electable in this country. . .
The principle of subsidiarity requires that when you minister to someone in need you begin with the unit closest to home. Only if you cannot satisfy the need at that level do you move beyond to mediating structures. If those structures fail, you would move to government, but you would begin at the local level. And again, if local government can't satisfy needs, only then would it be permissible to turn to the next level of government and so on. The bias in this principle is in favor of the family as the basic unit of society. Beyond the family, private institutions have the next bias, if you will, and government is only favored when private institutions fail completely, and then the bias is in favor of government which is closest to the people. . .
Already this President has been misjudged and misunderstood. I suspect that unless his friends and critics alike begin to understand his Catholicity, George Bush will continue to confound people. The Washington press corps isn't much schooled in theology. Before this Presidency concludes they may have to be. (Underscored emphasis added.)
It is unlikely that a clearer definition of "subsidiarity" can be found than that of Paul Weyrich quoted above. Thus we find it stated by a knowledgeable Roman Catholic activist that George Bush was in the process of foisting "subsidiarity" on the nation of which he was President; however, the Roman Catholicization of the United States of America did not begin with the George Bush presidency. It has been progressing steadily since the latter part of the 19th century, as documented by the Seventh-day Adventist Author Christian Edwardson in his book Facts of Faith. (Cf. Making America Catholic; Americanism Versus Romanism.)
There were ominous developments which we did note in a special issue of Watchman, What of the Night? dated April, 2001, that was titled The Forming of the Image to the Beast Is It Now Accomplished? We noted the role of Roman Catholics in the coalition between them and the Protestant Christian Right, and President George Bush's promotion of "Compassionate Conservatism;" but the connection to "subsidiarity" and Roman Catholicism's "Natural Law" went unnoticed.
The presidencies of Bush the elder and younger were a progression from that of Ronald Reagan, who was first elected in 1980 amidst a flurry in the formation of new conservative organizations and religious right alliances. ( Cf. "The Forming of the Image to the Beast Is It Now Accomplished hyperlinked above.") The power and influence of these organizations and alliances have grown to astonishing dimensions, and they can be seen on close inspection to be tentacles of the Roman Catholic Church. Ronald Reagan himself formed a close alliance with the Vatican. In a Time cover story titled "The Holy Alliance," Carl Bernstein wrote:
The key Administration players were all devout Roman Catholics -- CIA chief William Casey, Allen, Clark, Haig, Walters and William Wilson, Reagan's first ambassador to the Vatican. They regarded the U.S.-Vatican relationship as a holy alliance: the moral force of the Pope and the teachings of their church combined with their fierce anticommunism and their notion of American democracy. Yet the mission would have been impossible without the full support of Reagan, who believed fervently in both the benefits and the practical applications of Washington's relationship with the Vatican. One of his earliest goals as President, Reagan says, was to recognize the Vatican as a state "and make them an ally."
The title of another article published online, Political Power of Roman Catholic Bishops speaks for itself. Collaboration between the Bishops and the Reagan administration figure largely in this report. (Cf. Panel Reflects on US-Vatican Relations.) A biographical article titled The Life and Times of Pope John Paul II, states that,"Through the 1980s, Pope John Paul II met regularly with the head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, William Casey, and participated in what former U.S. National Security Advisor Richard Allen calls “the greatest secret alliance in history” between the Vatican and the Reagan Administration." The pernicious nature of this alliance cannot be exaggerated. The Image to the Beast was beginning to form; the Roman Catholic Social Doctrine was visibly shaping the political landscape. On September 26, 1988, nearing the end of his presidency, Ronald Reagan made this statement in an address to the United Nations General Assembly:
And our own experience on this continent-the American experience—though brief, has had one unmistakable encounter, an insistence on the preservation of one sacred truth. It is a truth that our first President, our Founding Father, passed on in the first farewell address made to the American people. It is a truth that I hope now you'll permit me to mention in these remarks of farewell, a truth embodied in our Declaration of Independence: that the case for inalienable rights, that the idea of human dignity, that the notion of conscience above compulsion can be made only in the context of higher law, only in the context of what one of the founders of this organization, Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, has called devotion to something which is greater and higher than we are ourselves. This is the endless cycle, the final truth to which humankind seems always to return: that religion and morality, that faith in something higher, are prerequisites for freedom and that justice and peace within ourselves is the first step toward justice and peace in the world and for the ages. (Underscored emphasis added; Address to the 43d Session of the United Nations General Assembly.)
President Reagan was referring to Roman Catholicism's Natural Law. The Free Online Dictionary defines "higher law" as "a principle that takes preceden[ce] over the laws of society." Wikipedia the free encyclopedia states concerning "Rule according to higher law":
The rule according to a higher law means that no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice. . . Thus, the rule according to a higher law may serve as a practical legal criterion to qualify the instances of political or economical decision-making, when a government, even though acting in conformity with clearly defined and properly enacted legal rules, still produces results which many observers find unfair or unjust. . ."Higher law" can be interpreted in this context as the divine or natural law or basic legal values, established in the international law." (Emphasis added.)
It is astonishing to observe that there was not one reference to any "higher law" or principle of "higher law" in President George Washington's farewell address - not a single statement remotely bearing any similarity to what was claimed by Ronald Reagan. (Cf. WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL ADDRESS.) President Reagan's statement was a distortion of fact; but he had acted on his "higher law" convictions. His administration is correctly referred to as "the Reagan revolution. Changes made in the laws of the United States set the nation on an irreversible course towards the full implementation of the Roman Catholic social doctrine.
In The Reagan presidency and the governing of America, by Lester M. Salamon and Michael S. Lund, the authors describe the modus operandi and accomplishments of the Reagan Administration. Note the significance of the highlighted passages as follows:
In the first place, the Reagan administration appears to have succeeded significantly in shifting the terms of the national policy debate and in restoring, in the process, a considerable measure of public confidence in the presidency and in the workability of the political system. More than many of his predecessors, Ronald Reagan articulated a coherent new direction for national policy, sought public support for that new direction, and then got a substantial portion of it enacted and put into place.
In neither its general philosophy nor its theory of governance was the Reagan administration wholly consistent. As noted earlier. Reagan's world view combined traditional laissez-faire precepts with a more statist social philosophy that condoned the use of governmental authority to enforce discipline and control "immoral" social behavior. Furthermore, the administration's eagerness to reduce policy congestion at the center of the political system did not prevent it from centralizing control over executive branch policy development and political negotiation in the crucial areas of budgeting, program restructuring, and regulatory reform far more extensively than did previous administrations.
Despite these apparent contradictions, the Reagan administration did articulate a policy course for the nation that was reasonably clear, markedly different from what had gone before, and responsive to at least one facet of the popular mood. More than that, the administration put a significant portion of this new direction into operation. It did this most forcefully through passage of two landmark pieces of legislation: first, the 1981 Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act, which greatly expanded military spending, made significant cuts in a variety of domestic programs. and merged a number of categorical grant programs into block grants: and second, the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which reduced tax rates for both individuals and corporations and put a lid on further revenue growth by "indexing" tax rates beginning in 1975 so that rates decline when inflation increases.
Though the administration did not get everything it requested, these two pieces of legislation fundamentally changed the context of the national policy debate, and in the direction Reagan wanted. By reducing government revenue and clamping down on its future growth, the tax act in particular virtually guaranteed that new program initiatives would face extremely unfavorable odds and that key constituencies would have to battle mightily just to maintain existing benefits in the face of growing federal deficits. Moreover, through a series of administrative moves by its appointees, the administration limited the zealousness of enforcement in the social regulatory area and created a "hunker-down" atmosphere that placed the burden of proof back with the advocates of regulatory protection. The result has been a severe ratcheting down of expectations that has had ramifications throughout the political system.
Several factors seem to account for the Reagan administration's success in altering the terms of the national policy debate in this fashion. One was the apparent clarity and straightforwardness of the administration's basic philosophy, with its simple appeal to cut domestic spending. increase defense spending, and limit federal regulation. Equally important was the 1980 election. which, though hardly yielding a voter endorsement of the Reagan philosophy, nevertheless created a presumption that the electorate was eager for a change. A third factor was the speed with which the administration moved and the skill with which it took advantage of the reconciliation provisions of the Congressional Budget Act. The Reagan administration did not spend months analyzing possible alternative courses of action or endlessly reviewing the details of what it was proposing with myriad interest groups and congressional advocates. Rather, it assembled its proposals quickly on the basis of the warm afterglow of the election. thus catching its opponents thoroughly off guard.
Finally, the administration's success in changing the terms of the national policy debate resulted in no small part from the extraordinary political and communications skills of Ronald Reagan. By personalizing and humanizing the presidential office, Reagan managed to take the edge off what would otherwise have been perceived as insensitive policy directions. He did this by effortlessly projecting a basically ingenuous personality, by using anecdotes and homiletic appeals to widely felt values. and by conveying an unpretentious. friendly manner that avoided impersonal statistical argument, complex reasoning, and expressions of intense emotion such as bitterness or sarcasm. Reagan's operational style reinforced this image, leaving to White House aides and cabinet members much of the nitty-gritty detail of program content and political deal-cutting, white reserving for the president the high ground of general philosophy and public mobilization.
As a result of this style. the public dissociates its evaluation of the Reagan administration and its policies as a whole from its estimation of Reagan himself. Drawn to his attractive personality. large numbers of Americans have been willing to forgive Reagan or not hold him accountable for major failures of his administration. The political payoff for Reagan is that the positive feeling he instills toward himself helps to carry support for his policies, even though the policies per se are not being endorsed. Coupled with the strong performance of the economy, this contributed importantly to Reagan's overwhelming victory in the 1984 election. (Pp. 17-19; underscored and italic emphasis added.)
The last two paragraphs quoted above bring to mind a certain prophecy of Rev. 16. Elder Wm. H. Grotheer pointed out in relation to this prophecy that the amphibian used as a symbol in the prophecy catches its prey with its tongue. This is a metaphor for taking control over minds by deceptive speech. The highlighted passages in the preceding paragraphs reveal the degree of conformity of the Reagan Administration's policies with the principles of Roman Catholicism's "Natural Law." What Ronald Reagan began in 1981 is being completed by Roman Catholic ideologues who are exercising inordinate influence over American public policy, allied with a torrent of propaganda financed by Roman Catholic billionaire propagandists. What this has wrought is documented in an online essay titled "How Roman Catholic Neocons Peddle Natural Law into Debates about Life and Death," By Frank L. Cocozzelli. The essay displays learning as well as cogent reasoning. It must be noted that it is the more authoritative because the author is a Roman Catholic; however, it is also to be expected that his view of the Holy Bible does not accord with the true Protestant adherence to Sola Scriptura. Because this essay emanates from within the world of Roman Catholicism it offers a unique view of the "Natural Law" as it is influencing civil legislation in the United States, enacted and lobbied to be enacted. Also worthy of note is that the essay is authored by an advocate for stem cell research in defiance of the Roman Catholic hierarchy's opposition to this scientific work. It was written during the presidency of George Bush, the younger. The author states:
Roman Catholic* neoconservatives such as Richard John Neuhaus have President George W. Bush's ear, and have succeeded in thwarting vital research using stem cells, research that has shown such promise in developing treatments for many diseases . . .
. . . . .
Many neoconservatives hold a kind of nihilistic respect for nature, and most importantly, the naturally ordered inequalities, such as between the weak and the strong and the rich and the poor. Meddling is ill-advised and doomed to create catastrophes worse than the original problems they sought to address, from their point of view. It isn't difficult to discern within the arguments of both Catholic neocon Robert P. George and secular neocon Eric Cohen their distaste for what they see as the radical egalitarian effect science and technology have had on society, a state of affairs that must seem intolerably subversive of the “natural order.” Moreover, the Catholic neocons view natural law as the true basis for a national moral order of all Americans.
. . . . .
Neoconservatives are tiny in number, yet large in influence due to their prolific writing, thinking, and support from wealthy patrons that locate them close to the corridors of power. It is a small movement of intellectuals that emerged in earnest opposing political trends of the 1960s, without a mass base and with only the power of their ideas and connections to win influence. Their vigorous defense of the free market, capitalism, and a militarist foreign policy wins them powerful allies. Yet other currents run through their thought, including a defense of natural law and the championing of religion.
“Natural law,” meaning the rules God set into motion in the world and also instilled in our own natures, has been a central, animating philosophical idea in Christian thought for a thousand years. However it has taken some important turns along the way, and there are now what we might call several branches of thought about the definition of natural law.
One of these, the Classic view, is embraced and promoted by the leading thinkers of Catholic neoconservatives in the United States and their political allies in conservative Protestant evangelicalism. Roman Catholicism as a whole employs natural law principles as a means to rationally explain and interpret the morality of Scripture. However, many in the Vatican have recently pressed to superimpose their particular interpretations on the greater secular society. This is driven by the belief that natural law principles are so universal that even non-Catholics are subject to their tenets.
On the religious Right’s hot button issues of the culture war—feminism, birth control, abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research—natural law-based ethics are routinely employed by the Catholic wing to refute the progressive position. This is important for a very powerful reason: one of its guiding principles is that any law that violates natural law (or at least the way orthodox Catholicism interprets natural law) should be ignored as unjust. What's more, evangelical social conservatives have been increasingly adopting natural law arguments in support of their shared opposition to issues they view as assaults on traditional values.
. . . . .
Catholic neoconservatives, like most neocons, are elitists who see social inequality as a natural condition of society. As a result, they often stress the need to control knowledge in order to better instruct the general populace. But unlike neocons such as Irving Kristol who tend to be either atheists or not terribly religious, theocons are traditionalist-minded Catholics, many with ties to ultra-conservative organizations such as Opus Dei.
The essay provides detailed information about the background, ideology, and influence of individual leading Catholic neoconservatives that is worth exploring. It has this to say about Richard John Neuhaus (now deceased):
But perhaps the most influential of this group is Father Richard John Neuhaus, whose ideological and religious transformation is one of the more remarkable journeys in modern religious and political life. The one-time anti-Vietnam war Lutheran minister left behind radical left politics (as well as his Lutheranism) to become in 1990 a Roman Catholic priest and icon of the neoconservative movement. He promotes the civic power of religion as president of the Institute of Religion and Public Life, a neoconservative institute “whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public policy for the ordering of society."
Neuhaus has had the ear of President George W. Bush throughout his administration, as well as enjoying a direct line of communication with Pope Benedict XVI. Neuhaus, acting on directives from Rome, in 2004 pushed for the denial of the Sacrament of Communion to then-Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry for his prochoice, pro-embryonic stem cell research positions. But unlike Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who both opposed the 2003 Iraq War, Neuhaus (along with Novak and Weigel) openly argued for preemptive invasion. (Underscored emphasis added)
Note the direct line of communication between Pope Benedict XVI and Neuhaus.
There is much in the conclusion of the essay with which one can agree:
For those of us who come from Christian traditions, we need to learn to be confident that the history and doctrines in both Catholicism and Protestantism show that challenging conventional wisdom does not necessarily make one an enemy of the faith. If anything, mindless dogmatic resistance to new empirical evidence is an ongoing invitation to greater skepticism as we have certainly seen as American Catholics ignore and are openly contemptuous of the Vatican encyclical prohibiting artificial birth control. Indeed, we stand in a grand tradition of loyal dissent that stretches from Galileo to Father Charles Curran (and many more). It is the path that many of us who support embryonic stem cell research now take. For all of us, the debunking of theoconic notions of natural law is still a powerful argument; especially when combined with dismantling the bizarre Catholic forms of Christian nationalism; and fully embracing the broad Constitutional doctrines that guide and govern our society away from sectarian doctrines toward inclusive, secular ideas of the common good.
On the socio-economic scene drastic inequities have developed in the United States, which can be related back to the Reagan Revolution, as well as current neoconservatism, both of which are inspired by Roman Catholicism's Natural Law. This is revealed in a Congressional Budget Office report published during the writing of this essay (Top 1 percent has nearly quadrupled income since 1979). The CBO report found that income for the top 1 percent increased 275 percent since 1979, while it only increased 18 percent for other Americans. Apologists for the Roman Catholic Social Doctrine will argue that this has nothing to do with Natural Law. Indeed, they will point to principles declared by the Popes, such as the following:
The social doctrine of the Church has particularly stressed the social function of property, since this is so often forgotten. To the extent that private possessions surpass the owner's need for a decent standard of living, they must be disposed for the service of others; that is, for the common good. Otherwise, the owner is guilty of an unjust use of wealth. (From THE PRINCIPLES OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH; Cf. The Popes And Distribution of Wealth; US Catholics give mixed reaction to Vatican’s economy document.)
There are even serious suggestions that Pope Benedict XVI is a Liberal. (Cf. The Pope Is a Liberal. Who Knew?) The question is: why the discrepancy between the principles and the practice of the Roman Catholic Social Doctrine? Given the direct line of communication that existed between Benedict and the late Neuhaus, there may be an element of hypocrisy or deliberate obfuscation. It is also very likely that the very serious misreading of human nature is a major contributing factor:
The fundamental structure of society and the basic principles of human conduct arise from the eternal law, which is the divine reason as it governs the entire universe (L 6). The eternal law is called natural law or natural right (L 6) in view of man's participation in it, as it has been impressed upon the hearts of all men (Rom. 2:14-15). Natural right is engraved in human nature (PT 63); it contains the dictates of man's reason which command him to do what is by nature good for him and prohibit him from doing what is bad. Although the terms are often used synonymously, "natural right" is that part of natural law which refers to human relationships. (From THE PRINCIPLES OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH.)
Human nature is intrinsically good, although it has been corrupted by sin.
. . . . .
Catholics hold that humans have an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong, called natural law, written into the core of their being. Natural law transcends society and culture; social norms help humans understand what is acceptable in a given society, but natural law gives them a clear knowledge of good and evil. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, natural law allows humans to act in a moral manner, prompting them to choose the greater good of obedience to God rather than the lesser good of following their own desires. (Roman Catholicism Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence.)
However the problem may be analyzed by the human intellect, the Apostle Paul provides the final definitive word in 2 Thess. 2:3-12.
The Natural Law tree was planted a very long time ago. It has spread its roots wide and deep in the body politic of America. Now it has grown into a great tree with branches casting an ominously dark and brooding shadow over institutions and individuals alike in this nation; even those who want no part of it. There are articles hyperlinked above which document, and in some instances contain explicit acknowledgements (or perhaps more appropriately boasts,) that the Republican Party in the U.S. House of Representatives is in the proces of enacting Rome's Natural Law, or Social Doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church no longer deems it necessary to conceal her purpose. (NATURAL LAW.)
FROM SUBSIDIARITY - The Principle and Its Implementation:
"IN THE UNITED STATES"
The United States is an object lesson in the implementation of Subsidiarity by differing political ideologies. In Europe, as quoted in Christian Democracy, above, "In practice Christian democracy has been an essentially centrist political movement, splitting the difference between the twin evils of socialist collectivism and liberal individualism." The implementation of Subsidiarity was influenced accordingly. In the United States it does not seem to be a part of the vocabulary of the Democratic Party. Liberal Roman Catholic newspaper columnists do not mention it. Prominent Democratic Party leaders who are Roman Catholic: the current Vice-President; the former Speaker of the House, now Minority Leader; the Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate; the 2004 Presidential Candidate; all seem to ignore it. The following offers an explanation:
These numerous citations make clear that welfarism as understood and presented by many socially minded politicians, many now of the Democratic Party, is not compatible with Catholic social understandings, since it is heedless of the principle of subsidiarity. It holds out economic equality, distribution of wealth, without reference to the ability or willingness of most citizens to earn and take care of themselves and their families. It caters to those who think those of greater industry and wealth should take care of them.
A free market economy held sway in America from its beginning. It allowed for economic ups and downs, with the working of supply and demand to correct things, as was the case until 1929. Herbert Hoover, then president, instituted temporary relief programs, counting on a quick return of prosperity. But the gambling fever that helped bring the crash had deceived the whole culture into a spirit of abandon following World War I. The bubble that burst in Hoover's second year in office was too immense to allow for a normal working of the economic cycle. Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to replace Hoover, swept away free economics in favor of Keynesian economics, which inserted government regulation into every area of economic life. Hence the host of regulatory bodies established by Roosevelt — NRA (struck down by Supreme Court), PWA, TVA, and so on.
The Democratic Party has never recovered from the idea that governmental expertise is more reliable than natural free economics in providing opportunity to most Americans, despite the fact that the Great Depression was still ongoing when World War II brought on a burst of demand for labor and production, ending it.
Now, Keynesianism puts no stock in the principle of subsidiarity. To the contrary, it disputes the right and ability of most people to make their own economic way without undue interference. (Catholic Social Doctrine Begins with Subsidiarity.)
Subsidiarity has been embraced by modern Conservatism, which had its genesis in the person of William F. Buckley:
When William F. Buckley burst onto the national scene in 1955, conservatism was a dead letter in American politics.
"Lots of people thought that it was outdated, anachronistic, prehistoric, foolish, not very intelligent," Carl Bogus tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
Bogus is the author of a new biography, Buckley: William F. Buckley and the Rise of American Conservatism. He says that back in the 1950s and '60s, there really was an established liberal elite in America, which controlled both political parties.
Buckley set out to change that. As a recent Yale graduate, he published a book called God and Man at Yale, which took the university to task for failing to promote Christianity and free market economics.
"He collapsed in that book religion, economics and political ideology," Bogus says, producing the mix of ideas we recognize today as conservatism: free-market capitalism, support for American military actions, libertarianism and social conservatism.
It was Buckley who made that coalition. He held within him all ... of those beliefs. He was what we call today a neoconservative, a social conservative and a libertarian." (William F. Buckley, Father Of American Conservatism; underscored emphasis added.)
A National Catholic Register article titled "Buckley, Rehabilitated," is subtitled "William F. Buckley Shaped America’s Political Dialogue. The Catholic Faith Shaped William F. Buckley" Some critically important facts emerge in this article:
It’s common knowledge that William F. Buckley Jr., considered by many to be America’s most important public intellectual of the second half of the 20th century, was Catholic. What has remained uncertain for many is how faithful he was to the teachings of the Church. With the release of a new book, Buckley biographer Lee Edwards is seeking to clear up the confusion.
“He was a good Catholic all his life, not just at the end,” Edwards told the Register. “His faith was central to his life and career.” . . .
George Weigel, biographer of Pope John Paul II, calls Buckley one of the most publicly influential American Catholics of the 20th century. Yet, what’s apparent from Edwards’ biography is that Buckley held much back from his readers, keeping much close to the vest — keeping what was most common to him, literally day in and day out, private.
Who knew, for instance, that William F. Buckley Jr. prayed a Rosary every day of his life beginning as a teenager? Who knew that, later in life, he was a daily communicant? And that’s just for starters. . . .
In Edwards’ book, we see the influence of certain Catholic conservative intellectuals on Buckley, such as Willmoore Kendall, James Burnham and Russell Kirk, all the way to the impact of Catholic teachings like subsidiarity. As for the latter, subsidiarity was fundamental to Buckley’s brand of conservatism; it seems to explain certain policy positions better than laissez-faire or libertarian philosophy.
This is no small fact. It would mean that the Catholic faith has been influential in undergirding the domestic-economic thinking of the entire postwar conservative movement. Stated another way: Thanks to William F. Buckley, the Catholic faith played a far greater role in shaping America’s political dialogue than most Americans realize. (Buckley, Rehabilitated; underscored emphasis added.)
However, some argue that the Conservatives have got the implementation of Subsidiarity wrong:
With the ascension of George W. Bush to the presidency comes the public emergence of the subsidiarity principle, a doctrine previously familiar primarily to Catholic social theorists and observers of the European Union. Fundamentally and explicitly intertwined with Bush's "compassionate conservative" vision, subsidiarity calls for social problems to be addressed from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. Literally meaning "to 'seat' ('sid') a service down (sub') as close to the need for that service as is feasible,' subsidiarity holds that where families, neighborhoods, churches, or community groups can effectively address a given problem, they should. Where they cannot, municipal or state governments should intervene. Only when the lower bodies prove ineffective should the federal government become involved.
Subsidiarity has assumed a decidedly conservative gloss in today's public policy debates. Clung to by those seeking to shrink federal government programs and largely ignored by those who oppose them, subsidiarity appears to have become the exclusive property of one side of the political spectrum. This Article contends that the strictly conservative portrayal of subsidiarity misconstrues the nature of the Catholic social theory from which the principle arises. The conservative perspective also overlooks the affirmative government functions essential to subsidiarity's faithful implementation. Part I of the Article provides an overview of subsidiarity's expanding influence on debates over the role of government and its increasingly frequent equation with the concept of devolution. Part II traces the Catholic roots of subsidiarity and shows how the principle's origins transcend today's conservative and liberal dichotomy. Part III addresses subsidiarity's applicability to real-world governance, first looking to its role in the European Union and then to its more subtle but pervasive function as a principle of American federalism. In Part IV, the Article outlines several conceptual limitations on subsidiarity's devolutionary impetus, as seen in particular areas of law where an active federal role is essential to furthering the principle's objectives. That these areas are not federal priorities under current notions of compassionate conservatism underscores the fundamental misconceptions surrounding subsidiarity as a principle of governance. (Subsidiarity as a Principle of Governance - Beyond Devolution; underscored emphasis added.)
The above quotation is from the Introduction to "Subsidiarity as a Principle of Governance - Beyond Devolution," an article appearing in the Indiana Law Review. A further quotation from the Introduction is instructive of how much has been going on in plain sight, yet unnoticed and probably misunderstood in the context of enactment of the Roman Catholic Social Doctrine:
In the United States, subsidiarity underlies a wide variety of current legislative actions. "Subsidiarity conservatism" has been invoked by members of Congress who "have worked to codify such [an] approach into legislative policy, specifically as a means to end poverty," and has been relied on to justify the decentralization of environmental law, opposition to campaign finance reform, the privatization of urban land use regulations, and even an initiative to provide broadcast licenses to low-power radio stations. Subsidiarity is reflected, albeit implicitly, in the myriad federal statutes that "allow states to enact their own regulatory programs, provided they meet" minimum standards. The principle has also been looked to as the model for interpreting Supreme Court jurisprudence, including decisions upholding parents' authority over their children's education and limiting the Commerce Clause's scope.
In all of this, subsidiarity is treated as a strictly devolutionary principle compelling the reallocation of social functions from higher to lower government bodies, or from government to non-government entities. Rarely, if ever, is subsidiarity looked to as warranting a greater role for the federal government in combating a given social problem. Frequently, subsidiarity is expressly equated with devolution. Even where a broader definition is given, it invariably tracks devolutionary dogma. Given the unrelenting portrayal of subsidiarity as a doctrine of privatization and decentralization, it is no wonder that the principle is now identified almost exclusively with the tenets of the Republican Party. (Cf. Subsidiarity as a Principle of Governance - Beyond Devolution - Introduction; underscored emphasis added; and N.B. the copious documentation, and citation of a book by current Republican presidential candidate, Roman Catholic Rick Santorum.)
The contention of the Indiana Law Review article that the strictly conservative portrayal of subsidiarity misconstrues the nature of the Catholic social theory from which the principle arises is supported by the papal pronouncements on the principle. It is also supported by other well-documented writings on the subject. In fact, there is a debate raging within the United States community of Roman Catholics on the subject. This blog posting, Conspiracies, Subsidiarity, and Zombie Economics, and the hyperlinks within its text, are good examples of the strong conflicting opinions that exist within the community:
In other words, while there is a vast area where Catholics can reasonably differ on economics, they are prohibited from embracing either full-scale collectivism or full-scale individualism, which denies or minimizes the social and public character of the right of property. And modern American libertarianism – by attacking the role of the state in regulation or distribution and attacking the idea that property has a public character- falls outside the pale. To use the words of John Paul II said, it is represents the idolatry of the market.
Church teaching is crystal clear on this. As Pius XI said “the right ordering of economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces” and cannot “be considered and treated as altogether free from and independent of public authority”. Rather, economic life should be “subjected to and governed by a true and effective directing principle”. This is fundamental. We can have legitimate debates over the reach of this directing principle, but we cannot challenge its existence. . .
It certainly is possible that/[for] a public authority to provide “too much subsidy” (and think of subsidy as “help”, not just in monetary terms). It can create dependency. But it can also provide too little, ignoring a key requirement of justice – what Pope Benedict calls the institutional path of charity, no less important than the private path. But because they don’t understand the theory, the Catholic right does not understand that subsidiarity can also be violated in the private sector, and that it is the role of the government to create the conditions for each part of the social body to flourish. This is Pius XI’s ”true and effective directing principle”, whereby governments must always be “directing, watching, urging, restraining”, to make sure that subsidiary institutions can flourish. Or as John Paul II put it – while the principle of solidarity justifies a direct state role in economic affairs, the principle of subsidiarity justifies an indirect – but no less important - role, to create “favorable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity”.
So the public authority has a watchdog role that protects small groups from being dominated and swallowed up by larger and more powerful ones. This was indeed the theme of the recent Vatican document on financial regulation, calling for a supranational authority to reduce the “excess subsidy” given toward large and powerful financial institutions in our insufficiently regulated globalized world. In other words, the call for proper regulation springs directly from the principle of subsidiarity. (Underscored emphasis added; Cf. Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies - What is Subsidiarity?; AMERICA’S ECONOMY/ Two Principles for Reform: Limited State and Subsidiarity;
The Roman Catholics are debating among themselves about the meaning and implementation of Subsidiarity; but not for a majority Catholic nation. The debate is focused on the legislation of Subsidiarity in the United States, still nominally a Protestant nation. - nominally because of the ecumenical alliance with Rome. There is no consideration of whether the injection of Roman Catholic religious ideology into the public policy of this nation is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution; only whether Subsidiarity is being applied in accordance with the Catholic Social Doctrine.
There is another aspect of the debate about the proper way to enact Subsidiarity which cannot be ignored. The Indiana Law Review article describes Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Novak as "Catholic neoconservatives." These men are also known appropriately as theoconservatives, or "theocons.":
Damon Linker's book on the theocons uses a term that first appeared in Jacob Heilbrunn's 1996 New Republic article, "Neocon v. Theocon." The neoconservatives are mostly secular and Jewish, the theoconservatives mostly Catholic.
While both have supported using military force to promote democracy, the religiously motivated theocons have sought to build a coalition of conservative Catholics and evangelical Christians to challenge the secular mainstream's contention that religious convictions are essentially private and should not influence public policy.
Foremost among them are Richard John Neuhaus, Michael Novak and George Weigel. Mr. Linker knows them well; for three and a half years, he was an editor of the flagship theocon journal, Neuhaus' First Things. (Theocons on the warpath: radicals turned republicans clothed initiatives in Catholic moral language; underscored emphasis added.)
The Indiana Law Review article has this to say about Neuhaus and Novak:
Further, the principle is a centerpiece of Bush's embrace of the work of Catholic neoconservatives like Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Novak,' and Bush supporters invoked subsidiarity explicitly during the campaign in urging Catholics to vote for him. . . .
The equation of subsidiarity with devolution, at least in this country; originates primarily with neoconservatives like Novak and Neuhaus, who made subsidiarity one of the founding principles of their movement. Novak contends that in a welfare state, "the administrative state steadily swallows up most of the functions that used to be exercised by civil society.. [and] [t)hus, the principle of subsidiarity is continually violated, as the higher levels crush the lower."' Instead, according to Novak, "[w]hat the free world needs, rapidly, is a devolution of significant responsibilities from centralized bureaucracies to citizens, alone and in their multiple associations!'
Given this background, one might conclude that subsidiarity was created as a component of the Republican or Libertarian party platforms, not as a Catholic principle of social justice. That is not to suggest that all conservative applications of subsidiarity are unfaithful to the principle's origins or intended purpose. Certainly the intervention and expansion of government authority in many contexts runs counter to any reasonable reading of subsidiarity. But the devolutionary elements of subsidiarity are only half of the story. To engage the principle in its truest and fullest sense, one must engage the Catholic social theory from which it arises (Underscored emphasis added.)
Thus the writer of the article lays the responsibility for an unbalanced application of Subsidiarity squarely on the shoulders of Neuhaus and Novak. How then does one understand the relationship between these men and Popes John-Paul II and Benedict XVI?:
Catholic neoconservatives, like most neocons, are elitists who see social inequality as a natural condition of society. As a result, they often stress the need to control knowledge in order to better instruct the general populace. But unlike neocons such as Irving Kristol who tend to be either atheists or not terribly religious, theocons are traditionalist-minded Catholics, many with ties to ultra-conservative organizations such as Opus Dei. Theocons also share a history with the rest of the neoconservative movement—their leading lights moved from left to right in reaction to what they saw as the threat of the ‘60s cultural revolution and inattention to the true threat of communism.
This group is spearheaded by the triumvirate of Richard John Neuhaus, Michael Novak and George Weigel. They had a good friend in Pope John Paul II— but now have even better ones in Pope Benedict XVI and President George W. Bush. (How Roman Catholic Neocons Peddle Natural Law into Debates about Life and Death; underscored emphasis added.)
The papacy is inscrutable. It is naturally opaque in most of its public pronouncements. The statements made by the Popes suggest that those who argue that the neocons are going about the implementation Subsidiarity in the United States the wrong way are correct. Yet Popes John-Paul II and Benedict XVI are reported to be their good friends. Whatever the true position of the Popes on the neoconservative implementation of Subsidiarity, the fact is that what is being done is intended to advance that principle of the Roman Catholic Social Doctrine. Subsidiarity is being advanced by Roman Catholic political activism, and implemented by legislation at all levels of government. Rome is accomplishing her purpose.
The Forming of the Image to the Beast Is It Now Accomplished?
The Religious Right & Allies Take Over
The origins of the modem religious right can be traced back to the failed presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. Following Goldwater's defeat a conservative movement known as the New Right was formed with a declaration of war against communism and a perceived "movement" which they called "secular humanism." They believed that this "movement" was trying to steer the U.S. away from a God centered society to "atheistic socialism." Key leaders of the New Right were three men from the Goldwater campaign: Richard Viguerie, Howard Phillips and Paul Weyrich. By the early '70s they had laid the foundations for a conservative revolution in the United States. Viguerie built a fund-raising empire with the use of a list of Goldwater donors. Phillips founded the Conservative Caucus which promoted militarism. Weyrich obtained financial backing from Colorado beer magnate Joseph Coors to found the Heritage Foundation. This is a right-wing think tank that has exercised great influence on Republican presidential administrations since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980. He also brought into being the Free Congress Foundation for the purpose of building a right-wing political movement and electing sympathetic politicians to Congress. Although possessed of superb organizational skills, the three men did not have a popular base of support. To remedy this lack, they targeted Democratic working class voters with social and cultural issues. ("Historical Background of the Religious Right" - [no longer found online]).
The next phase of the campaign to rid the nation of "secular humanism" is noted in this ACLU report, under the caption - "Mobilizing a New Constituency":
In the mid-1970s Viguerie used his sophisticated direct mail fund-raising techniques to address another constituency: evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Viguerie sought to tap resentment toward Supreme Court decisions banning prayer in the public schools and establishing a woman's right to an abortion. His direct mail efforts not only brought money into the New Right's coffers; they disseminated a steady flow of appeals that encouraged evangelicals to become involved in politics. Other new activist organizations also played an important role in mobilizing this constituency. In 1974 and 1975 a group of key leaders, including Richard DeVos, president of Amway Corporation, and Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ convened a series of secret meetings to plan the development of the religious right. This group published a blueprint for Christians to win elections and a manual designed to persuade evangelical Christians to adopt conservative positions on a whole range of issues. Bill Bright subsequently sponsored the "I Found It," campaign, which used billboards, bumper stickers, and newspaper ads in a massive effort to expose every person in the United States to the gospel. Between 1976 and 1980 the campaign spent several hundred million dollars, much of it raised by Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt.Organizations arose to mobilize women by appealing to "family values" and anxieties about the emerging feminist movement. In 1972, Phyllis Schlafly founded the Eagle Forum to organize opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, which she saw as a threat to the traditional family. (Schlafly had authored a conspiratorial book titled A Choice Not An Echo, which had served as the slogan of Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign.) And in 1979, Beverly LaHaye founded what would become the most successful New Right women's organization, Concerned Women for America. Civil rights for gay people emerged as another flashpoint for the Right. ...
Although usually regarded as a fringe religious cult, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, or Moon Organization, played an important behind-the-scenes role in spurring the development of the New Right and religious right. Direct mail guru Richard Viguerie has raised money for various Moon Organization groups since 1965. The principle source of Moon's funding, however, is in Japan, where Moon has had close connections with the Japanese right wing and prominent members of the Liberal Democratic Party. Beginning in 1975, a conservatively estimated $80 million a year began flowing from the Japanese branch of the Unification Church to the United States. Much of this money went to various New Right organizations and to Moon's Washington Times, a daily newspaper that since 1982 has served as a sounding board for the New Right. Activists for the Moon Organization usually work with others on the right through an array of groups with patriotic-sounding names, such as the American Freedom Coalition and the anti communist CAUSA. Founded in 1987, the American Freedom Coalition brought together various elements of the right, including anti-Communist, anti-abortion, and "pro-family" groups.
The ACLU report describes the organization and work of Falwell's Moral Majority and its eclipse. Being –
Disappointed with their accomplishments through the Reagan Presidency, religious right leaders shifted their strategy and tactics to winning offices at the state and local level and gaining control of local Republican Party organizations. With the eclipse of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, Paul Weyrich and Pat Robertson worked as allies in both this shift in strategy and this power struggle.
Of enormous significance is the ideology driving the agenda of the religious right. It is an end-times ideology. The ACLU describes this ideology as 'To Rule and Reign:" The analysis reads:
If the religious right is, as many of its leaders say, fighting a war, then it is a war in which ideas are critical. Conservative evangelical leaders seek control of political institutions as a means to implement their theological ideas. And their theology can provide a powerful motivation for political activism. Awareness of these ideas is essential to understanding their political tactics and objectives. [IHowever], the religious right is by no means monolithic; it is divided on certain theological issues and organizational style. Yet despite these divisions, it has forged a working consensus on political ideology and strategy.
Further, the Evangelical concept of the "End Times" enters the picture. The report continues:
Belief in an evangelical religion does not automatically lead to involvement in public affairs. For much of this century, evangelicals have avoided direct involvement in politics and instead have focused on saving souls. Evangelicals' motivations for political activism depend, in part, on their beliefs about the "end times." Indeed, the most important divisions within the religious right revolve around beliefs on this issue. There are two main schools of thought.
In the larger school are the "premillenialists." They believe that Christians will be lifted into heaven en masse - in what is known as the rapture - before the battle of Armageddon, the final battle between good and evil. Afterwards, they will return to earth, where they will "rule and reign" with Christ. Since premillenialists believe that Christ's return will cause the world to be reformed, they have little incentive to become politically active and reform the world themselves. Instead, their primary obligation is to evangelize - to convert as many non-believers as possible before Christ's return. Overcoming this disinclination to political activism has been one of the greatest challenges confronting the leaders of the religious right. In the smaller theological camp are the "postmillenialists," who believe that Christ will not return until after Christians reign for a thousand years. Because they believe that they must literally prepare the way for Christ's return, their ranks include some of the most committed political activists on the religious right.
Involved in this picture are the "Christian Reconstructionists:"
The most militant postmillenialists are known as Christian Reconstructionists. Though a tiny minority on the religious right, their ideas have exerted an important influence. They stress a literal interpretation of the Bible and believe that society should be "reconstructed" to conform to Biblical laws. The most prominent Reconstructionist is Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, a former Orthodox Presbyterian minister and John Birch Society activist who has published numerous books and tracts through his think-tank, Chalcedon, headquartered in Vallecito, California. He and his son-in- law Gary North (now estranged) are largely responsible for developing and propagating Christian Reconstructionism's political program. Rushdoony and North seek to rebuild society according to a biblical blueprint. Their prescriptions include the death penalty for unrepentant homosexuality, abortion, and adultery; the abolition of the prison system; which would be made possible by imposing the death penalty on serious criminals and forcing less serious criminals to make restitution; the elimination of sexually explicit materials; schools run entirely by the churches; and the complete elimination of property taxes. Rushdoony's extreme views are shared by only a tiny minority of the religious right, but these views have had a major impact through what is loosely known as "Kingdom" or "Dominion" theology. According to these theologies, Christians are mandated by the Bible to take control of all secular institutions and build the Kingdom of God on earth. Kingdom theology gives evangelical organizers not only a powerful incentive to become politically active, but also a long-range social vision which has become the central, unifying ideology for the religious right.
It is not possible within the limits of this article to mention all of the arms of the religious right movement. Suffice it to say that all of the maior religious right leaders have united in a single political entity called the Council for National Policy. These include the three original founders of the New Right movement, all of the well-known names of the religious right leadership plus some not so well known, all of the multimillionaire funders of the religious right organizations, and a number of leaders of the Republican Congress
among them Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, and Trent Lott. The Council "is an extremely secretive organization that meets behind closed doors to strategize and co-ordinate its campaign." (See: http://www.geocities.com/alanjpakula/triple2.html [website no longer available]). Now President George W. Bush addressed this organization in a secret meeting in October, 1999, and his presidential campaign refused to allow the tape to be released. However, notes of persons in attendance reportedly indicate that his promises included restrictions on "special" civil rights, "Christian" prayer in schools which would be "Christian" or corporate only, that he would "work hard" to overturn Roe v. Wade, and appoint only anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court and the federal bench. He expressed his approval of revoking First Amendment guarantees of separation of Church and State and freedom of speech. In his view, Christianity is the only real religion.
There is another powerful right-wing organization, not directly connected with the religious right. It is the Federalist Society. Its origins are described by Jerry Landay in The Washington Monthly (March, 2000):
The Society's origins can be traced back to 1979 - the year before Ronald Reagan's victory - when a legal scholar named Michael Horowitz published a tract on the public-interest law movement, exhorting conservatives to overturn a half-century of liberal dominance of the legal establishment. This could be done, he wrote, by indoctrinating or winning over succeeding generations of law students, lawyers, and judges. By definition, the campaign had to be rooted in the fertile ground of law schools. To Horowitz's good fortune, Reagan was elected in 1980, and his administration set to work filling the sails of the Federalist movement.
Horowitz's concept was taken up with relish by senior members of the new Administration. They operated on two tracks - designed to insure that the Reagan Revolution would well outlast the Reagan Presidency. The first, to reclaim the Federal courts from liberals, swept an array of conservative scholars and judges from law schools and state courts onto the Federal bench: the likes of Robert Bork, Ralph Winter, Antonin Scalia, Richard Posner, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Anthony Kennedy.
The second track was even more forward looking and involved the apprenticing of a new generation of conservative lawyer-intellectual-under-30 to the Reagan apparat.
The Second track was laid with the establishment of the founding chapters of the Federalist Society at Yale under Robert Bork, and at the University of Chicago under Antonin Scalia. It has been fair sailing ever since.
When one looks for a connection between the Catholic Church and the religious right, it is not to be found primarily in institutional organization, but rather in a community of interests in specifically defined areas such as the anti-abortion movement, aid to parochial schools, and so on. However, in the establishment of the Federalist Society one can see the fingerprints of the Roman Catholics, whose modus operandi has ever been to capture the elite of society. Scalia is of course a Catholic. Bork is believed to be an agnostic, but clearly is subject to a powerful Catholic influence: his wife is a board member of the Catholic Campaign for America, which seeks to teach Catholics to bring Catholic values into public life:
With 25,000 members plus scores of close affiliates nation-wide - including Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, and University of Chicago brain-boxes Richard Epstein and Frank Easterbrook (also a federal appellate judge) - the Federalist Society is quite simply the best-organized, best-funded, and most effective legal network operating in this country. Its rank-and-file include conservative lawyers, law students, law professors, bureaucrats, activists, and judges. They meet at law schools and function rooms across the country to discuss and debate the finer points of legal theory and substance on panels that often include liberals - providing friction, stimulus, and the illusion of balance. What gets less attention, however, is that the Society is accomplishing in the courts what Republicans can't achieve politically. There is nothing like the Federalist Society on the left. (Ibid.: emphasis supplied.)
Starting with the New Right in the '70s, this is the pervasive, entrenched, sinister power that Satan has built up and put into place for this end time. The total force of all these movements has been concentrated on seizing the White House for George Bush.
The Selecting of a President with a Religious Mission
Many political commentators who are uncomfortable with the notion of religion in government indulge in the wishful thinking that George W. Bush learned from his father's problems with the evangelicals, and merely professes Christian faith to secure what has become the base of the Republican party. But Bush has talked freely about the "spiritual awakening" that he experienced from a single conversation with Billy Graham in 1985. does not describe himself as "born again" he says, because his faith deepened more gradually than that term implies. He made a startling statement in a Republican presidential primary debate that Jesus Christ was his favorite philosopher "because He changed my life." An article in the New York Times (January 23, 2000) reported that, far from mere political posturing his belief was "both a central pillar of his life and critical to his vision for the nation and the way he would govern." This information came from religious leaders, friends and Bush himself. The article went on:
As president, Mr. Bush says, he would “look first” to religious organizations of various faiths, rather than government or secular agencies, to attack poverty, homelessness and addiction. He has also said he would not require religious programs to censor their spiritual teachings to get government aid. He believes that God has a place in government, that religion has a place in society, and it is not to be marginalized and put on the periphery as though it is some sort of extra,” said the Rev. Tony Evans, an evangelist and senior pastor of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas who prays with Mr. Bush….
But behind the scenes, some of the nation's most prominent Christian conservatives are supporters, friends and advisers of Mr. Bush. They say they are confident he will promote their agenda on abortion and "family values," as well as church-state issues. (Emphasis supplied.)
We will probably never know what commitments Bush made to the Council for National Policy; but the above quotations are proof enough of his enmity against the separation of Church and State.
Bush had two direct masters in the recent presidential election campaign - the hierarchy of the Roman Church, and its offspring the New Right-Religious Right alliance. The Washington Post reported that about two years earlier meetings began between a small group of conservative Catholics and Carl Rove, Bush's top strategist, to plan a coalition based on an alliance of deeply religious, churchgoing Protestants and Catholics. The article stated:
Their goal was to secure the GOP as the political home of regular churchgoers. If successful, they would create a political party dominated by those seeking to advance an agenda of moral re-generation, with a core committed to ending legalized abortion, promoting premarital abstinence and attacking sexuality in the movies and on television. (Oct. 28, 2000)
Significantly, the coalition move coincided with a decision at the 1998 conclave of the National Conference of Bishops to make banning abortion the top political priority of the Roman Church. Flowing from this decision, the Catholic hierarchy "sharply ratcheted up its political activity during the 2000 elections," according to a report in Church & State (December, 2000). The report by the editor, Joseph L. Conn, stated that, "While the news media focused its attention on the partisan posture of the Christian Coalition and some African-American churches, the political activities of the Roman Catholic Church, the nation's largest religious denomination, went little noticed." Bush established close personal relationships with the Catholic hierarchy during the election campaign. Conn reported that on the final weekend of the campaign Bush met in private with Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, who is "one of the most right-wing partisan prelates in the country." It is not clear how successful the hierarchy was in its political activism on behalf of Bush. Gore won 50 per cent of the Catholic vote (down from 53 per cent for Clinton in 1996) to Bush's 47 per cent (compared to Bob Dole's 37 per cent in 1996.) Considering the report by Church & State of the intense pressure on the Catholic laity from pulpits across the nation, it is surprising that Bush failed to get the majority of their votes to win a clear victory. This can be credited in part to an independent streak in the Catholic laity of America. Perhaps it is also a reflection of the uneasy union between the Religious Right and the Catholic laity? Nevertheless the damage is done, and there has been a break-through of enormous magnitude. Can the tide of battle be turned for a little while before the end? Time will tell. . . .
The Scripture says, "Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast ..." Rev. 13:14 (part 2.) Amazingly George Bush was declaring it throughout his campaign, and somehow precisely what he was saying did not get through to millions of Americans, who would never have given him their vote if they had known. The term "compassionate conservatism" was not a promise to soften the harsh, laissez-faire policies of the Republicans which favors the affluent in our society. Only those who were familiar with the name Marvin Olasky, and his books, The Tragedy of American Compassion (1992) and Renewing Compassion (1996) could have had any idea what was involved. Only those who were aware of another Olasky book, Compassionate Conservatism. What It Is, What It Does, and How It Can Transform America,
for which George Bush wrote a foreword and an appendix could have had any inkling what the nation was in for if Bush was elected. Bush calls Olasky "compassionate conservatism's" leading thinker. He also says, "Compassion demands personal help and accountability, yet when delivered by big government it came to mean something very different" Bush further states in the Foreword:
Government can do certain things very well, but it cannot put hope in our hearts or a sense of purpose in our lives. That requires churches and synagogues and mosques and charities.
Not surprisingly, the ideology of Olasky's 1992 book was enthusiastically embraced by Newt Gingrich and his congressional allies to form the basis for "The Republican Revolution." They emphasized economics and smaller govemment; but "compassionate conservatism" is, above all, the blueprint of a plan to, "Tear down that wall of separation" between Church and State, Olasky's own phrase spoken in a lecture, "What Is Compassionate Conservatism and Can It Transform America?" delivered before the Heritage Foundation on July 11, 2000.
As alarming as current events are, there is cause for greater alarm because the opening wedge of "compassionate conservatism" has already been enacted by Congress as a part of the 1996 welfare reform legislation. It was sponsored by then U.S. Senator John Ashcroft, now George Bush's Attorney-General. This devout Pentecostal has a well documented hostility towards many of our cherished constitutional freedoms, most notably the wall of separation between Church and State. Charitable Choice frees religious organizations from the requirement that government subsidized services be provided in a secular manner, and usually through a separate legal entity. Sadly, even Al Gore stunned civil libertarians by endorsing Charitable Choice in May, 2000, stating that dispensing a little religion along with a hot meal or job training is a good idea, and government should support it. As reported by ABC News, Rev. James Dunn, executive director of the Joint Baptist Committee put it well:
We've got a whole lot of people who are going to take the money and try to win people to Jesus with it. They are going to take it and use it to undergird their overall mission. It's who we are today as a Christian people. We don't distinguish between our do-gooding and our good-talking. We can't separate them because we sincerely believe when you are feeding someone who is hungry, you should be telling him about Jesus, too. There is nothing evil about that. That's the way the contemporary Christian understands the gospel. But we had better not take tax dollars to do it because those tax dollars were not paid to help my church win converts or to proselytize. (Emphasis supplied.)
With non-Christians present at Bush's inaugural ceremony, his presidency started with the promotion of Christianity in the opening and closing prayers. Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell said in the closing benediction, "in the name that's above all names, Jesus the Christ. Let all who agree say amen," to the certain discomfort of many. Bush included in his speech a promise to give "Church and charity, synagogue and mosque ... an honored place in our plans and laws." (Emphasis supplied.) Then, within the first two hours of his presidency, he made a proclamation declaring January 21, 2001, a "National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving to God."
All of this has been followed during his first week in office by actions on abortion, and an education package sent to Congress with inclusion of voucher funding for religious and other private schools. (CONCERNING ABORTION, IT IS OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE THAT THE "RIGHT TO LIFE" MOVEMENT IS BASED ON THE CATHOLIC DOGMA OF THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL, AND THE CONDEMNATION OF THE UNBAPTIZED ABORTED FETUS TO AN ETERNITY IN LIMBO. [Editor Grotheer capitalized the sentence])
On January 29, Bush unveiled a new White House Office for promoting government aid to "faith-based" organizations (i.e. churches) as a part of a major "faith-based" social service initiative. This is a man with a purpose - and in a hurry! Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church & State declared:
Bush is throwing the massive weight of the federal government behind religious groups and religious conversions. The President appears to believe that the government should use religion to solve all the nations social problems. This approach strikes at the heart of the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. (See http:www.au.org/pr126O1.htm [no longer found online].)
The "wall of separation" between Church and State has been breached by Congress in the Charitable Choice legislaton and now by a broader executive order. The nation has been set inexorably on course towards the ultimate fulfilment of Revelation 13. Is the Image to the Beast now fully formed, or must the full force of the tyranny and persecution first be manifest? One must come to his own conclusions. There is one certainty - prophecy has and will continue to be fulfilled. Our Lord stated that these things "must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1). As this nation teeters on the brink of the extinction of democracy and the freedoms we have dearly cherished, we have only one hope of survival. We must place all our trust and confidence in Christ whose mighty arm will deliver His people out of their affliction.
ROMAN CATHOLIC BILLIONAIRE PROPAGANDISTS
Wherever visible the billionaire Koch brothers "fingerprints" are on the negative side of democratic values. They are Roman Catholics (Charles G. Koch; cf. David H. Koch) (NEWSCORP SCANDAL; cf. RUPERT MURDOCH AND ROMAN CATHOLICISM.)
2 Thess. 2:3-12:
3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.