Wednesday, November 2, 2016


"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the "unalienable rights" which the Declaration says have been given to all human beings by their Creator, and which governments are created to protect.

The above is from Wikipedia.  They are great, foundational words that guide our nation.  But what do they mean?  Take, for example, the very first word.  “Life.”  It is supposedly obviously inherent in our very being.  But to what does it refer?  Do we really all agree on it?


What gives it meaning is the understood context of the greater community.  

A person may have a right to live, but do we all agree what that means?  Is it simply living?  Do you have a right to a college education, a third kidney transplant, “gender reassigning”?  Does everybody have the same level of life’s advantages?  What if you are poor, an illegal alien, or of an enemy nation?  Is life universal?  What if you committed a particularly heinous crime, were of advanced age with a very expensive illness, or unlucky enough to be conceived to parents who do not want you because you do not meet their idea of normality or convenience?

So who gets to decide?

IMHO part of the problem of the Protestant movement (speaking in VERY large brush strokes) is that there are no failsafes to keep their teachings on track.  The Protestant world of today would be completely at odds with the Protestant Church of even 200 years ago.  

The advantage of being Catholic (again, IMHO) is that it does have a failsafe.  Tradition, Scripture, a pope, (and of course the Holy Spirit) make it virtually impossible for the universal Church to be swayed much by passing cultural storms.  A case in point is the definition of marriage.  Governments and many religions, unmoored from having to be consistent, can take a vote and decide truth now means “X.”  As one Protestant bishop said a number of years back, “Don’t throw Scripture at me.  You can make Scripture mean whatever you want.”

Unless it is moored.

And so “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Who gets to decide what it means?  There can be no neutral - universal position.  It must be based in something.  Right now the Christian influence is waning and we are experiencing the onset of the culture of death.  As G. K. Chesterton pointed out, say what you will about the ancient pagans, at least they were on the side of Life.  We are failing at that.  Where is there anchor to which we might tie our ship?

Very soon you will be asked to help steer the future of nation by voting.  We will get what we ask for and our course will be guided by our compromises.  The more we are willing to put our Catholicism aside in the voting booth, the less Christian our nation will become until we wake up one day and slowly discover we are no longer on the favored end of the definitions of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

1 comment:

lgreen515 said...

Re: the Protestant Movement--yes, exactly. One of the biggest reasons I am so happy being Catholic.