In C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, the demon Screwtape writes to the demon Wormwood about the man they want to get into hell:
“Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” of “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary”, “conventional” or “ruthless”. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. “
At the USCCB meeting in Atlanta, this week, John Garvey, an attorney, had this to say to their Eminences and Excellencies — my emphases and [comments]:
I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance – born of the notion that every individual should be free to believe whatever he wants about God –is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.
I’m just thinking out loud. But it might be that the argument for religious freedom lies farther back than we have put it. Preserving religious liberty may not be a job for lawyers like me. It may be a job for lawyers like Thomas More. Our society won’t care about religious freedom if it doesn’t care about God. That’s where reform is needed. We won’t have –and we probably won’t need – religious exemptions for nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers if no one is practicing their religion. The best way to protect religious freedom might be to remind people that they should love God. [Who IS Love and IS Truth] This is, after all, why we have a first amendment. And why in better times we have not needed to rely on the Constitution at all, because we could depend on our elected representatives to respect our liberty.
The tragedy of Thomas More was that he had to die because he loved God. He could not be both a good subject and a faithful Catholic. ["The King's good subject, but God's first"] Our tragedy is different, though it is no less about the protection of religious liberty. The mechanisms to preserve religious liberty only work when people care about their religion. Religious liberty will expand or contract accordingly. Saving religious liberty means reminding people that they should love God. Thomas More taught us that we need religious liberty. More importantly, he taught us that loving God is worth dying for. If that is so, then the freedom to love God is worth the fight. [Be martyrs. Die for the faith. And if you're going to do that, manifest that faith even now.] That’s the message we need to get across. I think that asking people to keep this cause in their prayers during the Fortnight for Freedom is precisely the right remedy for what ails us. /// June 13, 2012