Category Archives: Bible Thumpin'

Catholic Social Teaching and the 10th Amendment vs. ObamaCare

From the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of the lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

God has not willed to reserve to himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. This mode of governance ought to be followed in social life. The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence.

The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.

This is an unusual topic for me to blog about; I don’t normally cover religious topics for a variety of reasons. Still, as I have watched the debate over ObamaCare unfold, I have noted with interest that the Catholic bishops in the United States have opposed socialized medicine only insofar as it would expand federal funding to abortion coverage. Their single issue opposition to ObamaCare has led to the perception that its funding of abortion is the only way it contradicts Catholic social teaching.

But that’s not the case. Tea Party activists have opposed ObamaCare on the grounds that it violates the Tenth Amendment, which plainly says that the powers not reserved to the federal government or prohibited to the states should be reserved to the states or to the people. Catholic social teaching is similar in that it invokes the principle of subsidiarity, explained by the Catechism in the quote above. In essence, both the Tenth Amendment and the Catholic principle of subsidiarity are identical. Both make the case that a massive collectivist takeover of health care is not only unnecessary, but improper insofar as it “can threaten personal freedom and initiative.”

You’re reading that right: Both the United States Constitution and the Catechism of the Catholic Church repudiate collectivism and demand subsidiarity to preserve human freedom. On this issue, our founding fathers who wrote of our God-given liberty would be in lockstep with every pope since at least Pope Leo XIII.

Why point this out? It’s not just a “fun fact.” The bishops have opposed ObamaCare because it does, in fact, expand federal funding of abortion. But what if it hadn’t? Had the Stupak amendment been preserved, the U.S. bishops were prepared to support the bill — despite its clear violation of the principle of subsidiarity. Certainly the right to life and the preservation of human dignity are the paramount concerns, the very foundation, of Catholic social teaching. But the principle of subsidiarity has again and again been expounded upon by the papal teaching authority. It is no small matter.

The U.S. bishops were in a unique position, as both Americans and Catholic bishops, to connect the Catholic principle of subsidiarity to our constitutional principles. They had an opportunity to tell American Catholics that opposing ObamaCare is both a patriotic and religious duty. They utterly failed to do so. They missed an opportunity to boldly reaffirm a mostly forgotten principle of Catholic social teaching, to affirm the link between the Catholic and American commitments to human freedom, and to once again take up the Catholic Church’s historic leadership in the fight against global socialism.

Only the bishops can know why they have chosen not to take this opportunity. All we can do, as ordinary Catholics, is encourage them to elucidate this principle and its connection to American constitutional principles. In the meantime, as ordinary Catholics we can tell our fellow American Catholics, and all of our fellow Americans, what the Church teaches about God’s model of governance versus the collectivist model proposed by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid.

While You’re Sipping Eggnog…

While you’re celebrating Christmas with your family today, President Obama and his family are in Jakarta, Indonesia Hawaiiwhere he grew up, they say — “celebrating Christmas” as well. They will not be attending church, though. Apparently if it’s not Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his racist, communist ideology black liberation theology, the Obamas aren’t interested. And don’t forget all the Secret Service agents and others the Obamas are depriving of Christmas with their families because of their need to be in Hawaii.

Meanwhile, back at the White House, we wonder who is celebrating around a Christmas tree with ornaments that feature Mao, transvestite “Hedda Lettuce,” and Barack Obama’s face superimposed upon Mount Rushmore (see more commentary here, here, here, and here). Lest we forget, President Obama isn’t the first to toy with Christmas: Adolph Hitler did it, too (h/t Born Again Redneck).

As our president downplays and degrades one of our most treasured holidays, we remember how another president handled his first Christmas as our head of state (h/t GayPatriot, text at RedState):

More beneath the fold…

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“For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…”

But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zeb’ulun and the land of Naph’tali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.

Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Mid’ian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

- Isaiah 9:1-6

O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.

- Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

- Titus 2:11-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

- Luke 2:1-14

Merry Christmas!! May God bless you and yours in the New Year!!

Mary, Did You Know?

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
You’ve kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is Heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the great I AM.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

British soldiers celebrate Christmas in Afghanistan, 2004

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Iraqi children light Christmas candles, 2008

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Christmas in Bethlehem

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Christmas in China

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Christmas in Beirut, Lebanon

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the Law
In cloud, and majesty, and awe
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Christmas in Tehran, Iran, 2001

Christmas in Tehran, Iran, 2001

A Christmas Treat

Obviously, posting will be light today and tomorrow as yours truly will be celebrating Christmas with my family. But From the Rust Belt will be offering a bit of a Christmas treat. You’ll see lyrics to some of my favorite Christmas carols, accompanied by seasonal and Christmas-themed art and photography. Hope you enjoy!

Defeat is Only for the Defeated

Cloture. It’s a word that’s leading to despair in some circles, following the Senate vote last night in which all 60 Democrats voted for and all 40 Republicans voted against proceeding to a simple majority vote on ObamaCare. We’re doomed, some are saying. They’re saying that America, like Western Europe, is now destined for a permanent shift toward socialism — so that even conservatives will become pseudo-socialists who know that it is politically untenable to take on big government. The sky is falling, they say, and we have proven to Benjamin Franklin that we cannot keep a republic.

Well, Chicken Little, I’ve got just one thing to say to you: Defeat is only for the defeated. And I’m not defeated. Why are you?

Sure, the bill has now passed both chambers of Congress. It’s likely that it will eventually make it to the president’s desk for his signature, but it would be a serious mistake to give up now when there’s still work to be done in trying to kill the bill while the House and Senate are trying to reconcile it. But even if ObamaCare becomes law, Democrats have built their own defeat into the very fabric of the legislation. It will not take effect until 2014, which means that we still have time to repeal it.

There are others who agree with me that now is not the time for defeatism, like Allahpundit (Hot Air) and Dan Riehl (Riehl World View). The guys at Hillbuzz — Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton, remember — are reminding us that it should be our mission to get rid of all 60 of these senators, starting with the list provided by Moe Lane at RedState. And the guys at Hillbuzz are in a fighting mood, as is Far Right Democrat. So are Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. You should be too.

Unrepealable? Really, with 61% of the public on our side? I just can’t accept that. This is not a victory for Democrats, not really. As RedState and GayPatriot are pointing out, this is political suicide. They’ve given us the ammunition to fight them, and win, in the next two election cycles. If we play it smart and if we fight hard, we will win, and we will repeal this.

But I think it’s really The Anchoress who is striking the right note, by reminding us that the Democrats have chosen a truly inauspicious time to try to make opponents of this bill — 2/3 of Americans, remember — feel defeated.

We are now wrapping up the season of Advent, on the verge of celebrating Christmas. This is the time of year when we are reminded that faith and hope are not just nice sentiments, wishful thinking, or idealistic naivete. Faith and hope are gifts from our God, the God who made us to be free. Real hope, true change, is reserved to the Lord who is the Author of Hope, to the One who sent his angels to a few shepherds in a field thousands of years ago to declare that he was making all things new. He is still declaring it to us, here and now, millennia later, as we finish Advent and prepare for Christmas. Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

This is the time to fight, to pray fervently, and to trust that God had a plan when he led the founders of our nation to realize that he had created man for freedom. This is the time to hope, and to hope radically in the face of despair, that the Spirit of God will inspire us to boldly speak the truth about what is going on in America and to believe, with all of our hearts, that the truth will set us free. We believe. We hope.

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