Lent is about halfway through, and we draw nearer to the day when Our Lord gave His life to save us from our sins. Yet our society daily tempts us to draw closer and embrace those sins. In fact, it is doing almost everything in its power to discard morality and God, as evidenced in today's commentary.
Many analyses have been published following the oral arguments delivered last Tuesday to the United States Supreme Court on the two cases Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius.
The cases revolve around the fundamental question of whether or not a Christian company/business may or may not reflect Christian principles in its employment and other business practices. The particular subject of debate in this matter is the provision of contraceptive/abortion insurance coverage for employees when such coverage is a violation of the corporate principles of the company in question.
Can the government bully the Christian employer or not?
Apparently, Family Research Council's Cathy Ruse got the answer when she was in the Supreme Court gallery during the oral arguments. She tells of an exchange between Justice Anthony Kennedy and Obama's Solicitor General Donald Verrilli: "When Justice Kennedy asked the government's lawyer, 'So under your argument, corporations could be forced to pay for abortions, that there would be no religious claim against that on the part of the corporation. Is that right?' And the government's attorney said yes."
The government's position may be downright diabolical to many of us, but Jeffrey Mirus, Ph.D. explains it handily: "The old natural law tradition of the West - in which rational consistency and fairness were perhaps the most easily-grasped components - has given way to the sovereignty of the human will to remake reality according to whatever happens to be desired by those who have political, social, and cultural power."
And that's the rub, isn't it? The coalescing of such man-made power united behind the common goal of tossing God out and bringing the evils of sexual promiscuity in was bound to have results similar to the Obama contraceptive mandate. It's been building to this for years, after all.
During the same week as the oral arguments were heard, other signs of this political, social, and cultural power grab were evident in another part of the country.
The University of Michigan's Women's Studies Department and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender are sponsoring a spring exhibit entitled "4,000 Years of Choice: A Graphic Guide to Reproductive Justice."
Among messages the exhibit imparts to visiting students is that the act of aborting a child is "a life-sustaining act." Or to put it another way, the expectant mother who kills her child is enhancing and sustaining her own life, even if that goal costs another's life in the process.
This twisted perspective represents reinvented reality.
It would seem that the world has gone mad. And still the list of horrors grows. For instance, we read that in Great Britain, bodies of aborted babies are burned with the trash to heat modern hospitals, and in America, Planned Parenthood is poised to call abortion "miscarriage management" if and when abortion itself is ever outlawed.
But in the midst of the carnage, we can be buoyed by understanding the power of the human will to choose that which is rational and true rather than that which is self-serving and deceitful. Dr. Mirus puts it this way:
The will darkens the intellect by ordering it to cease its independent explorations in order to serve what the will desires. This is not something that we can expect to counteract naturally; it is in fact the mechanism which human nature uses to refuse cooperation with grace.
Yet paradoxically the pandemic loss of the recognition of reason, and even of nature itself, must be remedied by grace. And so, in the midst of growing suffering and sacrifice for Catholics, it is not only arguments and creativity that we need, but prayer.
The use of political power to deconstruct Christianity does have an antidote. Let us use it.