I am tired of hearing the phrase, they have a right. I hear this said on television, radio, or among people in everyday life about a controversial subject that has caused a condemning reaction; such as flag burning. It’s not that it isn’t true that the law allows certain acts of free speech, it is that a person will blather on, accompanied by a serious facial expression, about how the law does allow it.
With this over-emphasis on the primacy of law, I doubt if there is a person in America that is not aware that they will not be stopped by the power of the State from saying and doing very foolish things. Often the obvious is repeated over and over for a longer time than the subsequent opinion of the act itself. During this long-winded assurance that the speaker is not against the rule of law, I am waiting for an opinion about the flag burning itself.
Law Determines Morality
On the other side of this issue are the persons who perform the foolish act. Their answer, when asked why they would do such a thing is, inevitably, and defensibly, to say; I have a right! The same answer a Hobby store owner gave me when I gave him my money at the cash register one day. My question to him was, “Why are you armed?” I was referring to the 45 holstered at his hip. This phrase has become an attempt to end the conversation with an overwhelming moral blow that appeals to our sense of law as the ultimate word in conflict resolution. Not physical conflict, but the conflict of ideas.
The reason for this unnecessary dwelling on the obvious is that man-made law has become our god replacing the real God. Human words replacing The Word. No matter whether you count ten or two Commandments, this replacement breaks the very first commandment from our God who is quoted in Exodus 20:2-5, “You shall have no other gods before me. ..you shall not bow down to them or serve them.” Or, from Jesus himself in Matthew 22:36-38, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Speaking this way, as so many do, reveals an overly worried person who wants to make sure that they exhibit no hint of disobedience towards the law. I call this fear, in the sense we ordinarily use it, “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous.” In other words; primitive servile fear. Fear of varying intensity, depending on the person, expressed unknowingly.
Is this fear of the State, the listener, or both?
Are We Likewise Afraid of the Lord?
As Catholics, we can gain an understanding of fear. Christians at baptism, receive the fear of the Lord as part of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that are listed in Isaiah 11:1-2. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
Even at this point, we are already way ahead of merely being afraid in a primal way. We have leapt high as without gravity, into the spiritual realm. We have left behind the dance of conflict with others, where we repeat phrases of obedience over and over until we perceive the chance for opposition subside.
This gift of fear of the Lord is described by St. Thomas Aquinas:
Accordingly if a man turn to God and adhere to Him, through fear of punishment, it will be servile fear; but if it be on account of fear of committing a fault, it will be filial fear, for it becomes a child to fear offending its father. (Sum I-II.2.3)
Small Signs and Big Changes
Our American (and world) society is changing at a rapid rate in the new millennium. With the introduction of a liberal government in 2008, there has been an open and coerced movement towards the ideals of a modern One World Government. One which marginalizes religion as a major goal, as did the Communists of a prior age according to their founder Karl Marx. Marx believed that God was a human invention.
This modern version of Marx has assumed that business and production will profitably continue in order to fuel heavy taxation and has along with the low-level worker, included those without work (or citizenship) but who are able to vote. It’s just that the low-level worker has been left out of Liberal’s plans this election as the hubris of thinking that they were already the ruling class took over.
Scant reference to God is evident in the last election’s (2016) losing Liberal party’s national platform. I see this loss as a setback but not a permanent blow to this godless progress of denial that our rights come from God, as stated in our founding document; the Declaration of Independence.
I am always looking towards the future, even now when my future is significantly shorter than it used to be. There is a progressive move to replace any outward view when understanding of life, with the inward contemplation of emotional self-centered material desires. From this we get gender confusion, sexual desire reduced to instinctual animal conquest, the dismembering of the unborn, and marriage and love taught as feelings that must satisfy the moment to be relevant.
In short, I don’t see any progress of humanity from our humble beginnings in the garden to now. The leadership that told us that we could be as God, is telling us the same thing now, except it is speaking from political power or star power in print, television, and movies.
There is one question no one asks, at least out loud, when they are enthusiastically cheering the potential ruling class towards the utopia of Liberalism. That question is; after they take ultimate power, what will become of me.