Religious liberty rally post-mortem.

We were off Saturday in the pickemup truck, pickemupping a new used washer, and we had on a rebroadcast of Friday’s rally for religious freedom (Cleveland version), which I couldn’t go to without screwing Stephen. Most of what I heard was boilerplate, until I heard somebody talking about how the bishops had been working for “a fair and equitable health care system”, and I turned the radio off in disgust.

Here are my observations:
1. You don’t get to cite natural rights in defense of religious freedom and at the same time advocate the violation of the natural right of man to retain the fruit of his labor. You don’t get to choose between natural rights; you’re all-in, or you’re out, or as Ken Kesey would have put it, you’re on the bus or off the bus. You may disagree whether something is in fact a natural right, but you’d best have a good argument. One that I’ve heard about material wealth is that everything comes from God anyway. True, but irrelevant; if it’s OK for the armed mob called the State to take God’s stuff, then it’s OK for me too, 7th Commandment be damned. I have to support the bishops’ position in this, not only in unity with the Church, but because some liberty is better than no liberty, but the fact remains that a lot of the bishops were in support of “health care reform”, and they really need to apologize publicly for the extent to which they supported socialized medicine and called the Obamacare abortion into being (an act I don’t expect to happen any time before their particular judgement). The simple fact is that one does not merely have a religious right not to pay for sin; one has a right to not pay for anything. There is no moral obligation to provide health insurance, or to buy anything else. there’s a moral obligation to treat your employees right, which in this society could be stretched to include health care, but that’s an obligation between you and God, and the state has no place in it, unless you’re really a theocrat.

2. There were too few people, and I do feel some guilt for not being there. 1000 or so is not peanuts; it’s enough to get you noticed by the press. But it’s not enough to induce fear, which is the only language the government knows. These are the folks who can shrug off hundreds of thousands of pro-life marchers in DC. If all the ambulatory Catholics of Cleveland and half the committed Protestants filled Public Square, and that was repeated at each rally, the powers that be would get nervous.

3. Kresta complained that the press was getting the message of the rally wrong, saying it was about the HHS mandate instead of religious freedom. Reporters report what they see, and based on the signs and the speeches, they were exactly right in what they reported. I’m not sure the message could have been controlled, even by the most organized movement, without draining the blood from it; it’s this specific act that makes folks angry. Yes, the bigger principle has to be articulated (though as I pointed out above, there are big principles that the Church just isn’t going to touch). But abstractions don’t fill the streets.

Somebody invited Barnhardt, and they got what they expected.


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