There have been scads of opportunities for the current Administration to smooth over the concerns of folks regarding their moves athwart the First Amendment of late. Regarding rights of conscience, and religious liberty, in particular, though they try to argue that all is well, folks just aren’t buying it.
The reason is pretty simple. All the talking heads on the side of the POTUS keep trumpeting how “freedom of worship” (FOW) isn’t being hampered one bit. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that FOW isn’t the same thing as religious liberty. When I hear the term FOW, visions of little clusters of folks hiding within the four walls of brick & mortar buildings, or houses, singing and praying quietly pop into my head. And when the services are over? Turn it all off, because if you don’t, the thought police will be all over you.
Maybe it’s not that sinister. Regardless, “Freedom of Worship” is as far as east is from west when compared to the concept of “religious liberty.” Folks don’t have to be constitutional scholars to know that the First Amendment bars governments from deciding what is, and what isn’t “religious.” Folks are also pretty saavy in knowing that religion isn’t just a bauble they wear to make themselves look good once a week, or more. For if your religion doesn’t shape your world view, drive your decisions on how to live your life in a moral manner that is pleasing to God, and good for mankind, then what good is it?
If you’re fuzzy on all this, let me cut to the chase with a real world example. This past Saturday, we dropped my oldest son off at the parish so he and his peers could head out to do some good via the Catholic HEART Workcamps this week. Never heard of them? Here’s their Mission Statement,
CATHOLIC HEART WORKCAMP MISSION
Our Mission is Twofold…..
First: To share the love of Jesus and serve the neglected, brokenhearted and marginalized in any way needed. The Catholic HEART Workcamp mission is to revitalize communities and beautify homes for the elderly, disabled and those who cannot afford needed repairs. Our goal is to inspire participants to serve in their local communities.
Second: To empower participants to live as disciples of Christ through serving others. To foster the spiritual growth of each participant through the sacraments, Catholic faith sharing and prayer.
All good, right? But wait. This doesn’t sound like “worship” to me. This sounds like trying to live a faith life, fully, and in all dimensions. Helping folks “in any way needed” without regard to the faith life, or lack thereof, of the “neglected, brokenhearted, and marginalized.” Hmmm. That passes muster as religious liberty, but does it for “FOW?”
Clearly FOW does not mean what the government apologists think it means. Joe Six-Pack, and many like him, understand this pretty clearly. Water that was crystal clear has all of the sudden become quite muddy. And who is to blame for that? Who created this shibboleth?
UPDATE: Welcome, Slacktivist readers! FYI…Comments that begin with ad hominem attacks don’t fly ’round here. But since you’re here, you might find this interesting. Peace!