Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Culture of Death Is A Wave.

Oh dear. Where to begin. From Catholic Culture, an article by Dr. Jeff Mirus, who has apparently taken his language from last century, titled "A Barren Beach," so poorly framed and informed I'll take it on paragraph by paragraph:

I confess it: I just don’t see how it is possible for a good Catholic to favor the Federal takeover of health care. This is so obvious that we shouldn’t even have to be debating it. Completely apart from funding for abortion, each bishop in the United States should see the problem with a clarity so pure and crystalline as to hurt his eyes. (For just a few of the reasons, see Phil Lawler’s The Catholic case against health-care reform.)

Government regulation of patients' rights to affordable healthcare is hardly a take over. And particularly now that the health care bill has been stripped of any regulatory benefits that will effect meaningful change on the preying medical industry. The bishops have an agenda which exacts religious ideology over all patients - and as the second largest provider, after Veterans Affairs, of health care, they've been flexing their muscle to prevent any government intrusion whatsoever, theological claims to care for the "least of these" be damned.

Look: Anyone who understands the secularist trajectories of contemporary American polity, the increasing tendency in the West toward totalitarianism, the violation of human freedom and dignity which necessarily follows the abandonment of subsidiarity, and the dramatic push toward a culture of death by Western culture in general, and by the American courts and Democratic Party over the last generation in particular—well, anybody with even an inkling of the factors in play, if he has significant Christian values at all, should be running as far away from Federally-controlled health care as possible

Subsidiarity, one tenet of Catholic social teaching, does not prevent enforcement of plurality of belief nor protection of rights. It simply states that what can be done fairly at the local level should be. Unfortunately, those who adhere to a "free market" for health care have failed to acknowledge the discrimination, subjugation, and lack of access that the current system has imposed on society. There's no loss of freedom, liberty, dignity, or any other glorious democratic objective by requiring that health care providers meet the needs of their consumers. Other industries have experienced such regulation - no toys with lead, for instance - without collapsing. And that we should all have Christian values is a blatant denial of the necessary separation of church and state. We're not all Christian, by fact, and nor will requiring that we all adhere to a "Christian" (as conceived by the bishops or anyone else) bring about religious freedom.

The new world that anyone with eyes should see coming is a world in which genuinely religious people, who take Revelation seriously rather than making it all up as they go along, will be increasingly marginalized; where extreme moral evils will not only be permitted but protected by law, and not only protected by law but required; where the bulk of those evils are bioethical and therefore inescapably medical; and where those who object to such evils must either participate in them or lose the right to practice their profession, to remain at liberty, or even to remain alive.

There is no marginalization of Christians demanded by society and nor is there any going on. This is the expression of a persecution complex that feeds Christian justification for imposition of doctrine through social services like health care, education, and aid. Because missionizing is built into the faith, and because that missionizing is best exacted on the suffering, I understand Catholic and evangelical disagreement with removal of that robust market by government regulation. But play it if you must, Doctor, to explain your declining congregations and the growing social acceptance of actions and lifestyles that lie beyond your draconian and antiquated line of acceptable "morals."

We have been through wave after wave of this sort of thing since faith and reason were divorced in the eighteenth century: first the French Revolution and the Terror, then the rise of Communism and Nazism, and now the increasingly ideological progressions of the European Union and the American judicial system. Every one of these manifestations of the secular rationalist state has been greeted as beneficial to mankind by a significant number of citizens, who have fervently blessed slavery as freedom, and called black white.

What is referred to here is decline of the dominance of one faith over society. Enslavement according to race was finally and belatedly determined discrimination, a violation of rights on a minority population, just as society is slowly waking to the discrimination exacted on other segments of society by government in the name of "morals" and religion.

If the effort to put health care fully under Federal control is not, under contemporary circumstances, a major step along this path, then I am incapable of analytical thought. Does anyone seriously believe this will not amplify and multiply the full range of horrendous bioethical evils which afflict our dying culture? Does anyone really believe it will not strengthen the culture of death, ultimately punishing those who oppose it? How is any other interpretation possible? Whence comes a realistic hope that the result could be something other than this? Where are the historical trends to support such a vanity?

I'll let that first sentence answer itself. There is no culture of death, just as there wasn't one 50 years ago when the first heart transplant was proclaimed "playing god." There is scientific and technological advancement that continues to roll back death from disease and lengthen lives. Refusing to acknowledge that advancement comes has kept the church in the dark, employing advancement where it wishes and denying it elsewhere according to small-minded and unscientific fears. With regard to medicine, allowing one woman to have an abortion in no way diminishes another's faith; it only acknowledges that we live in a pluralistic society where all have rights, not just a favored some. The last sentence I will let stand for itself as well.

And what infuriates me is that so many, including many who claim the Catholic name, still purport not to see this; still claim they can support it with complete consistency as Christians; still dissemble; or, at best, still convince themselves that by riding this new wave of power they can escape the ultimate

drowning of their own souls.

Take that up with your church which has failed to adjust its policies to eradicate discrimination, has denied science, and has consistently and detrimentally exerted its own power for its own sake.

Ah! See them riding that monstrous wave, boasting as if seizing a higher and firmer ground! Observe the teeming insignificance of so much life swept below! Pause to watch the mighty water as it arches and froths, and hear presently their exultant shouts turn to terror as the wave curls and crashes, spilling even the mightiest into its shimmering maw. Listen at last to the diminishing roar as the wave recedes, revealed only now as the ebb tide of history, leaving its dead upon the barren beach.

Flowery but quite removed from reality.

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