Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Father Richard Rohr ' s Unfortunate Comments on Fortnight For Freedom and Religious Liberty

Last week like many people I watching live on various social media the opinions of the United States Supreme Court being delivered.

Everyone was on pins and needles because of the possibility of the health care law opinions coming down. Well that did not happen. I then  recall a couple of news folks on the twitter announcing  the court had"no big cases" today.

Well I suppose that is a matter of point of view. If one was worried about   citizens rights in a criminal proceeding as to the Confrontation clause well it was a very important day in the  MAJOR case of Williams v. Illinois.

Which brings us to this rather unfortunate piece by Fr. Richard Rohr , OFM regarding  his views on the Fortnight of Freedom  and religious liberty concerns .

Father Rohr was a pretty big deal l and I recall reading his books. See his background here.

Now not for the first time have I thought about the battle to protect people's rights in the the broad criminal related arena  and how it is  much like the fight for religious liberty. Father Rohr 's tone brings that home to me.

The analogy I have used that threats to religious liberty are akin to coastal erosion can be used as to other rights. That is it not just one flaming oil well or hurricane that causes the problems of coastal erosion but many slow various eroding factors. The BP oil spill or a Hurricane Katrina just weaken or overwhelm a system that has beed damaged.

Basically no one really thinks about the protections against our Government ( and often the public when they are in a certain mood)  till they are  personally affected.

The average citizen is pretty much not paying attention to the legal precedents as to :

-the ability to confront the witnesses against you,

-the rights not to have your home and property searched without probable cause,

-the ability not to be harrassed by a police officer and held for hours on the side of the road,  , etc

until something happens to them.

When they discover that perhaps some rights we had in this department are but a shallow shell of what they once were THEN THEY GET OUTRAGED.  Well then it is a tad too late.

The problem is the people whose job is partly  to look out  and advocate for these rights are often not well liked people. Those include defense bar folks, the dreaded ACLU, and some  Libertarians . In fact the American public is often quite willing for various short sighted gains to even run rough shod over these rights for some goals.

Religious Liberty is often in the same boat and in fact I would say is in a worse postion.

 The press and the important media folks at the very least are far likely going to take less pot shots at the ACLU than say the American Bishops. The defense bar gets a much more fairer hearing than lets say some "Fundamentalist" group as to religious liberty concerns.

Father Rohr 's  article does not help matters. This is not about what he calls "entitlement".

In my post yesterday I noted some very big problems that we have just as to the HHS Birth control mandate alone . See my links here. Father Rohr in his piece does not engage those issues , but just proclaims that people are "crying wolf".

The fact that the Fortnight for Freedom comes in a time when are seeing religious liberty attacked in the states , by both the right and left I might add, does not seem to be on Father Rohr's radar.

We see the next battle is really starting to heat up as to religious liberty concerns as to the granting of professional licenses.

It is true Father Rohr is a cleric and getting up there in age some. So I have no doubt he can sit back with some ease and tell us all to MAN UP and be like Sts. Perpetua and Felicity of Roman Times. I mean how invested is he in if a Catholic Pharmacist just coming out of school  has to give out the morning after pill by law.

He ends by saying "Our dear bishops are beginning to look like “the Republican party at prayer” more than men of the Gospel of Jesus."

That is rather unfortunate. I would urge Father Rohr to think past this election and down the road to see how these precedents might be used against causes he feels strongly about as a part of the Christian misson. If he did I am not sure he would be so flippant.

Religious Liberty has worked very well for us in this diverse society. In fact I do believe that religious liberty is a prime reason why these melting pot can coexist together all so well. It would be a shame to lose that .


Anonymous said...

Great presenter. Heard him speak twice and it was life-changing.

Does have a habit of tweaking the higher-ups in the Church however.

He is the straw that can stir the drink and he makes the faith interesting for sure!

James H said...

It been a while since I read him I have to admit. I am going to look up some of the stuff as to the books on his bio

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