by Fr Richard Heilman | March 31, 2022 2:21 AM
“Freedom from Secularism” by Fr. James Altman
Dear family, I’m not quite sure whether it was Fr. Heilman or Fr. Peckman who “assigned” the topics – but I am sure it was guided by the Holy Spirit! Consequently, I was blessed to have secularism among my topics. If you ever want to “push my buttons,” just bring it up! So we are clear on what button is getting pushed, the term “secularism” was first used by the British writer George Holyoake in 1851. He invented the term secularism to describe his views of promoting a social order separate from religion – like that ever would be a good idea – without actively dismissing or criticizing religious belief.
Obviously, given its date of creation, secularism, in word and in deed, was not a principle stated in the Constitution. For the record, what the Constitution does state in the Establishment Clause is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The unanimous understanding of this clause had to do solely with preventing the national government from creating – like Henry VIII – a religion enforceable through government police power. This truth is confirmed by the prohibition against prohibiting “the free exercise thereof.” Understand, dear family, that this applied only to the federal government, while states had the right to establish a particular religion. Few people know and understand that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which clearly prohibits the creation of a national church, did not eliminate established churches in those states where they still existed. Indeed, it would have encountered opposition in those states if it had sought to do so.
Too many people spout off a definition of secularism as “the principle of the separation of church and state.” Typically, those same people – like the godless “Freedom from Religion” fascists in Madison, Wisconsin – twist those words around to make it something it is not. They embody the words of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” A doctoral dissertation could not cover all the many problems with that pagan paean, but let it suffice to say that when Lennon wrote “Imagine no possessions,” he was living in a multi-million-dollar mansion, and the music video finds him playing his ridiculously expensive white Steinway piano that George Michael bought at auction for over two million dollars. Lennon wrote that it’s easy if we try to imagine no religion, even as he lived in a time when godless communists slaughtered a hundred million of their own citizens.
As President Reagan put it so perfectly: “The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying; it’s declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.” Yet the “Freedom from Religion” crowd throw a tantrum over such things as taxpayers’ children praying in taxpayer funded schools. Leftists get away with throwing their tantrums because too many people do not know the Constitution nor its historical precedents. Dear family, just wrap your minds around the fact that taxpayers’ children praying in taxpayer funded schools was, in fact, Constitutional for roughly the first 175 years of our Country. Then realize that the ramifications of the rapid shift from this truth to the big lie of “Freedom from Religion” has resulted in the downfall of our culture and society. As a brilliant meme put it so well, “Bibles aren’t allowed in schools anymore but are encouraged in prisons. If kids were allowed to read it at school, they might not end up in prison.”
How do we sin regarding secularism? Simple. We sin every time we support, in word or deed, the big lie of “separation of church and state” according to the secularist model. We sin through any kind of voting for godless agendas. We also commit sins of omission when we fail to make a reasonable effort to be aware of, and fight against, these dark forces which are prevailing in our times. The many, versus the few, sin constantly in their ignorant and uninformed support – even cowardly support – for the godless left-wing agenda. This would include disregarding the unchanged and unchangeable truth regarding the five non-negotiables of Catholic morality, including abortion and same-sex unions.
What are we to do in a culture that literally assaults us (in words and in deeds) just for being Catholic and standing up for the unchanged and unchangeable truth? Firstly, recognize that we cannot be surprised by the hatred of the godless world. Jesus warned us: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first … If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you … And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me” (John 15:18-21). No matter what hatred comes our way, we must stay attached to Jesus, who is the True Vine, lest we wither away. And we know what happens to those who choose to not stay attached to the vine: “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned” (John 15:6).
Dear family, buying into the big lie of secularism, and failure to intentionally let God’s grace and wisdom openly direct and guide our public life, is a grave sin. You don’t have to take my word for it. Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father” (Matthew 10:32-33). We also know that standing up for our faith will alienate us from the godless because Jesus said that too: “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three ….” (Luke 12:51-52).
Dear family, the left bludgeons anyone who brings faith into the public square, even priests, with the big lie of “separation of church and state.” But prior to Lyndon Johnson’s amendment and threat of taxation, faithful shepherds spoke up and spoke out against secular sin. Now, most everyone is a big coward, trembling in fear about being taxed. Please, dear family, honestly ask and answer two simple questions: Do we think the Father of Jesus Christ thinks it’s a good idea that we cower in a corner because of oppressive secularism? Do we think Our Father thinks we should not openly bring Him into the public square? The answers are obvious. So are the consequences for how we answer those questions.
When Jesus said, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s,” the corollary is “don’t give to Caesar what belongs to God.” As it was, as it is, as it always will be: God first, last and always. So, let us always acknowledge God before men, and let us always openly apply our lives of faith in the public square. (From “Let Freedom Ring“)
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