The American Jesuit scholar Father John Courtney Murray once said that “Anyone who really believes in God must set God, and the truth of God, above all other considerations.”
Here’s what that means. Christian public officials who take God seriously cannot support laws that attack human dignity without lying to themselves, misleading others and abusing the faith of their fellow Christians. God will demand an accounting. Christian doctors who take God seriously cannot do procedures, prescribe drugs or support health policies that attack the sanctity of unborn children or the elderly; or that undermine the dignity of human sexuality and the family. God will demand an accounting. And Christian citizens who take God seriously cannot claim to love their Church, and then ignore her counsel on vital public issues that shape our nation’s life. God will demand an accounting. As individuals, we can claim to believe whatever we want. We can posture, and rationalize our choices, and make alibis with each other all day long — but no excuse for our lack of honesty and zeal will work with the God who made us. God knows our hearts better than we do. If we don’t conform our hearts and actions to the faith we claim to believe, we’re only fooling ourselves. . . .
Christians need to wake up from the illusion that the America we now live in – not the America of our nostalgia or imagination or best ideals, but the real America we live in here and now – is somehow friendly to our faith. What we’re watching emerge in this country is a new kind of paganism, an atheism with air-conditioning and digital TV. And it is neither tolerant nor morally neutral.
As the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb observed more than a decade ago, “What was once stigmatized as deviant behavior is now tolerated and even sanctioned; what was once regarded as abnormal has been normalized.” But even more importantly, she added, “As deviancy is normalized, so what was once normal becomes deviant. The kind of family that has been regarded for centuries as natural and moral – the ‘bourgeois’ family as it is invidiously called – is now seen as pathological” and exclusionary, concealing the worst forms of psychic and physical oppression.
My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.
I’ve quoted this before, but think in light of the New Mexico case, this deserved a stand alone piece. It is from Catholic Archbishop Chaput. All I’ve done is replaced the word “Catholic” with the word “Christian.”