Today's must-read is Mark Steyn's excellent The Church of Big Government. A bit:
But once government starts (in Commissar Sebelius's phrase) "striking a balance," it never stops. What's next? How about a religious test for public office? In the old days, England's Test Acts required holders of office to forswear Catholic teaching on matters such as transubstantiation and the invocation of saints. Today in the European Union holders of office are required to forswear Catholic teaching on more pressing matters such as abortion and homosexuality. Rocco Buttiglione's views on these subjects would have been utterly unremarkable for an Italian Catholic of half a century ago. By 2004, they were enough to render him ineligible to serve as a European commissioner. To the college of Eurocardinals, a man such as Signor Buttiglione can have no place in public life. The Catholic hierarchy's fawning indulgence of the Beltway's abortion zealots and serial annullers is not reciprocated: The Church of Government punishes apostasy ever more zealously.There's a book's worth of stuff packed in there. Read the whole thing and try to get your young-adult types to read it, as well.
The state no longer criminalizes a belief in transubstantiation, mainly because most people have no idea what that is. But they know what sex is, and, if the price of Pierre Trudeau's assertion that "the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation" is that the state has to take an ever larger place in the churches and colleges and hospitals and insurance agencies and small businesses of the nation, they're cool with that. The developed world's massive expansion of sexual liberty has provided a useful cover for the shriveling of almost every other kind. Free speech, property rights, economic liberty, and the right to self-defense are under continuous assault by Big Government. In New York and California and many other places, sexual license is about the only thing you don't need a license for.
Even if you profoundly disagree with Pope Paul VI's predictions that artificial birth control would lead to "conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality," the objectification of women, and governments' "imposing upon their peoples" state-approved methods of contraception, or even if you think he was pretty much on the money but that the collective damage they have done does not outweigh the individual freedom they have brought to many, it ought to bother you that in the cause of delegitimizing two millennia of moral teaching the state is willing to intrude on core rights — rights to property, rights of association, even rights to private conversation. In 2009, David Booker was suspended from his job at a hostel for the homeless run by the Church of England's Society of St James after a late-night chit-chat with a colleague, Fiona Vardy, in which he chanced to mention that he did not believe that vicars should be allowed to wed their gay partners. Miss Vardy raised no objection at the time, but the following day mentioned the private conversation to her superiors. They recognized the gravity of the situation and acted immediately, suspending Mr. Booker from his job and announcing that "action has been taken to safeguard both residents and staff." If you let private citizens run around engaging in free exercise of religion in private conversation, there's no telling where it might end.
Perhaps Rick Santorum expressed it too graphically, but he was right to be sickened by JFK's promise to keep his faith in its place. And Matthew Archbold was right to ask, Can a Faithful Catholic Run for President? I think that ship has sailed and the answer is no. Witness the rabid efforts to distort the opposition to the HHS mandate. Those who object to being forced against conscience to pay for already easily accessible contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients, are widely represented as being in favor of banning them (though no one bothers to explain how this miracle might be effected).
And Rick Santorum's faith-based, but also fact-based, empirically obvious message that the decline of traditional morality has weakened the family, and thus the country, is spun as evidence of a secret penchant for theocracy, or at least of his "hatred for women." It doesn't matter that no one has presented an actual woman whom Santorum "hates"; he seems to love his own inordinately. By "hatred" the left merely means that he's politically and morally opposed to their feminist agenda, as he should be. Is there an "ism" out there that hates women more than does feminism? I can't think of one. Convincing women that destroying their own unborn children will "empower" them tells you all you need to know about that.
Anyway, go read yer Steyn and have a super Tuesday.
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