Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Brilliant Australian Piece On Threats To U.S. Religious Liberty Via The HHS Mandate

This piece is one of the best I have seen on the threats to religious liberty we see now in the USA such as to the HHS mandate  and what viewpoint is behind it. It also shows why these threats will continue . I suggest wide circulation of it.

See What kind of religion is free in the public square?

I am going to try to apply this part to another situation we see developing late.

I want to consider a troubling possibility: that Western societies today safeguard true freedom in the public square for only a certain kind of religion - namely, a heavily privatized religion - and that this narrowing of religious liberty weakens the social order which serves and supports all citizens.

It is fitting to begin with a quote from Lord Acton, the nineteenth-century English Catholic historian and politician for whom this lecture is named. While Regius Professor of History at Cambridge, Lord Acton warned of a particular danger to liberty:

"The modern theory ... is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority ... Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied."

Lord Acton wrote this warning in the 1860s, yet it foreshadowed several important trends that have taken hold in the West today: the severing of the notions of freedom and authority; freedom protected for the individual more so than for institutions; and the threat of expansive State power weakening the authority of other social institutions, including religious ones.

Read it all.

No comments: