Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cardinal Dolan In Speech On Religious Freedom Talks President Lyndon Johnson ( Full Text )

Cardinal Dolan is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable Bishops on American history  and indeed American Catholic history in the United States.

 Last night in Washington D.C. he gave a talk to the John Carroll Society at the News Museum ( technically in Arlington VA ) on the subject of religious freedom. If you agree with the Cardinal or not , and I most certainly hope you do, it is a interesting talk to read . At his blog he has an excerpt and link to the full text here.

He mentioned this about LBJ

A man who understood this wish was a successor to our first bishop, John Carroll. His name was James Gibbons. Here’s how he bragged about freedom of religion, in a 1887 sermon preached in Rome:

“ . . . as a citizen of the United States, without closing my eyes to our defects as a nation, I proclaim, with a deep sense of pride and gratitude, in this great capitol of Christendom, that I belong to a country where the government holds over us the aegis of its protection, without interfering in the legitimate exercise of our sublime mission . . .”

Well said: protect our free exercise, then leave us alone.

President Lyndon Johnson comprehended this in a characteristically homey way. An advisor close to him related to me that, as the first Medicare Bill was being formulated, advisors and drafters suggested including coverage for things some religions considered contrary to their conscience.

“Stay away from that!” LBJ thundered. “Religion is like a beehive: look at it and protect it from a distance, and you’ll get good honey! Stick your hand inside of it, and you’ll get stung bad!”   Very true observation by a past President perhaps.

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