01 December, 2009

My more feeble attempt to argue,.. "a la Neuhaus"

Published not in the august pages of the Economist or First Things, but in the pages of the Pembroke Daily Observer.

Editor:

The European Union courts have ordered the removal of the crucifix from all Italian schools.

Although I freely admit that the governing authority of any school should be able to either choose or not to represent this symbol of Christian/Catholic faith, it is entirely another thing to deny the right to express their faith/convictions/belief in the public square. The principle that is expressed as "separation of church and state" also implicitly includes the freedom to express those values that we believe are the path which leads to the betterment of all humanity.

Read the story, and ask yourself whether the secular argument that leads to this European suppression of the freedom of speech of believers is any different from the agenda that mark the direction of North American society today.

This story is proof positive of the price of failing to argue in defence of the principles which are the accumulated human reasoning that stretches back to the earliest days of recorded history. Whether the moral principles of our modern civilization evolved as the refinement of simply human wisdom, or whether it is a still imperfect vision of God's will, they have brought western civilization to the point it is at today. The "rights" that are now so suddenly being tossed aside in the last 25 years are the foundations upon which the right itself is rooted. The poisoned fruit of the civilization tree, now endangers the root from which it sprang.

Freedom of expression of faith in the public square must be respected; it is the essential corollary of the freedoms of thought and speech. I pray that leaders of our faith would look to the European (or Quebec for that matter) social experiment and heed from it the need to "teach," in every forum possible, the wisdom and teaching of our Church; to educate those raised in the "sex, drugs and rock & roll" generation (the first generation of essentially uncatechisized 'C&E'* Catholics who now have moved into society's corridors of power) of the wisdom of these principles before they use the levers of power to shape the debate.

Freedom of life... Freedom of belief... Freedom of speech. The Bishops menu of first principles to defend in full. Let's pray they fashion a tasty salad of arguments no matter how appealing the dessert table secularism seems to offer.

Society needs strong bones to grow and prosper. We eat of the poisoned fruit at our own peril.

I appeal to those who share my concern to speak in forums, virtual and real, and make the argument for faith.

*'Christmas and Easter'

Father Tim Moyle

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