Griffith, with my commentary:
Any reader of U.S. history knows that religion and politics have mixed in a multitude of ways from the time of the nation’s founding. Motivated by the two-sided hope of protecting the state from religious incursions and religion from state regulation, our founders crafted documents that nonetheless acknowledged a modicum of inevitable exchange and mutual influence.
Our nation's founding document-- the Constitution acknowledges the Declaration as our founding document-- specifically attributes our unalienable rights to God. Hardly a "modicum" of exchange and influence between church and state.
Since then, the limits of religious influence on political governance have been debated countless times in legislative bodies and courts of law.
Religious influence was expected by the Founders, who were profoundly religiously-influenced elected leaders of a profoundly religious nation.
Neither the American populace nor our leaders can ever expect consensus on these profoundly contested questions; even today, we live amid a jumble of contradictions and compromising positions.The Constitutional issue is rather simple. The First Amendment prohibits a federal church, and guarantees free exercise of religion, which prohibits the government from interfering in religious practice in church or civic life.
Last Sunday, September 30, witnessed one of the most vivid and, to many, disturbing examples of this religion/politics paradox. On the day prior to the opening of the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court, six out of the nine current Supreme Court justices, along with members of President Obama’s cabinet, members of Congress, and members of the law profession attended the 60th annual Red Mass, a Catholic worship service held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl acted as principal celebrant, alongside several other Catholic leaders.
Actually, "many" were not disturbed by the Red Mass. A few atheists and leftie cranks were disturbed.
After all, what, pray tell, is "disturbing" about public officials gathering to worship?
In his address to the crowd, Timothy P. Broglio, archbishop for the U.S. military, called for people to become “instruments of a new evangelization” and stated, “The faith we hold in our hearts must motivate the decisions, the words, and the commitment of our everyday existence.”Unexceptional homily. Of course Catholics are asked by the Church to live their faith.
In these times, as Catholic leaders have increased their public speech on any number of political issues, from contraceptive coverage and abortion to gay marriage, these words are anything but impartial.
Why, for goodness sake, would Ms. Griffith expect a homily by a priest to be "impartial"?
This year, the subject of gay marriage will be particularly important as the Court considers the Defense of Marriage Act.I hope the archbishop made the Catholic position on gay marriage clear, and emphasized the obligations of Catholic public officials to carry out their duties in a manner consistent with Catholic moral teaching.
Catholic bishops are currently spending money to fight same-sex marriage. Timothy Dolan, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been an outspoken critic of legalizing same-sex marriage, saying it’s not about gay rights, and concluding in a press release, “You don’t redefine marriage—a given—just to accommodate people’s lifestyle.”
Cardinal Dolan is teaching what the Church teaches.
Elena Kagan’s presence at Sunday’s Red Mass, her first appearance, may seem the most surprising.
She's a pro-abortion Catholic. I'm relieved she didn't burst into flames.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a fellow Jewish member of the court who holds a similar stance on questions such as abortion, has been openly critical of the Red Mass, citing one sermon she heard there as “outrageously anti-abortion.”Catholic priests should get their homilies pre-approved by pro-abortion pro-eugenic Jews.
As she wrote later, “Even the Scalia’s—although they’re much of that persuasion—were embarrassed for me.”
"Scalia's"? The Associate Justice should have one of her law clerk's check her grammar.
Perhaps one day we will learn what Justice Kagan thought of Broglio’s message of living one’s Christianity in every part of one’s life. “We are instruments in the hands of the Lord, and so we pray to be ever open to his presence.”
Let's hope that Justice Kagan thinks a lot about it.
As Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, noted, “There is one purpose to have this. It is to make clear … just what the church hierarchy feels about some of the very issues that are to come before the court.” Those issues, of course, are the very ones on which some in the Catholic hierarchy have vociferously advocated.Ms. Griffith likes sermons from Rev. Barry Lynn. They're not "disturbing".
At Religion & Politics, we welcome all viewpoints, on the conviction that ‘tis better to air strong arguments openly and civilly than to foster likeminded cliques that echo and leave unchallenged one another’s biases.A homily in a Catholic Church certainly seems to be a fine place to air strong arguments openly and civilly...
Challenge me, do, but I must register deep discomfort with the cozy government-church embrace represented by the Red Mass in Washington D.C.The idea of elected/appointed government officials privately and voluntarily attending a worship service of their choice causes Ms. Griffith "discomfort".
However well intentioned, the attendance of 2/3 of the U.S. Supreme Court at a holy service that explicitly promotes the Catholic faith sends a bewildering message to citizens who hold other religious beliefs, and those with no religion at all.Why would the "intentions" of Mass attendees be a matter of concern for Ms. Griffith?
And what is "bewildering" about Catholic officials attending Mass?
Perhaps the real question to ask is why some Supreme Court justices who clearly disagree with current Catholic pronouncements on political matters that divide the court—or who disagree with any perceived religious interference whatsoever, despite their own beliefs—nonetheless, apparently, feel the need to attend the Red Mass.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are imperfect Catholics, like the rest of us Catholics, and they are trying to understand what God wants them to do?
Why?Why is any of Ms. Griffith's business why they are attending Mass? Perhaps they attend Mass because they (rightly) believe it is the sacramental re-presentation of the Lord's sacrifice for us? Same reason all the other folks in the cathedral are attending Mass.
In case it needs noting—and these days, who knows—let me note that it is not anti-Catholic to ask these kinds of questions.Yea. Ms. Griffith has no issues with the Catholic Church. Why, just yesterday she wrote an essay criticizing Jewish government officials from attending Temple services, and Muslim government officials from attending Mosque, and atheist government officials from attending Richard Dawkins book signings.
As President John F. Kennedy stated, “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”No one ever accused Kennedy of paying too much attention to Catholic moral teaching.
In other words, if any religious body—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or you-name-it—imposes upon political leaders some supposed necessity to attend its own worship service in order to be considered legitimate, beware.
How to say this, without being too blunt?
There is a thread of hate in Griffith's essay- 'intolerance' is too soft a word. What the Catholic Church, or any religious body, tells its parishioners is only the business of the Church and its parishioners. Of course, if Ms. Griffith disagrees with the Church (she obviously despises the Church), or if she disagrees with the actions of the government officials attending the Church, she need not attend the Church nor vote for or support the appointment of the government officials who have offended her.
Catholics have the same right to meet, worship, and express and advocate their views that any secularist has. Catholics being Catholics is no more or less "disturbing" than atheists being atheists or lesbian editors being lesbian editors (I just chose the example randomly).
Again, we see the cornerstone tactic of the Left. They scurry away from rational engagement of issues. Censorship, explicitly advocated or implicitly invoked and often leavened with anti-Christian bigotry, is their recourse when faced with truth.