I usually take this time to present Mr Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address or one of several patriotic songs in my collection which commemorate the service of our military members where, as one current song reminds us, all gave some while some gave all. Memorial day for me is not a picnic – it is a day of remembrance and gratitude to those whose service to our country gives meaning and substance to our freedoms.
But this year is different and while my gratitude to our men and women in military service is as strong as ever, I want to take this moment to talk about our country and our obligations to our freedoms and to our Constitution. We have several major policies of the Obama Administration being challenged before the Supreme Court and, in my opinion, there will be more challenges coming. The focus of the legal actions of our Justice Department have been beyond my comprehension. The Arizona immigration case before the Supreme Court is an example. The refusal of the federal government to defend the international borders as required by the Constitution has been compounded by their actually filing suit against the State of Arizona to prevent their taking legal action to protect their citizens.
In addition, there have been many actions that in my view threaten the role of religious institutions in this country. It must be remembered that perhaps the most important motivation for European immigration to this land even when we were English, French and Spanish colonies was the allure of religious freedom and tolerance in the New World. The Constitution is supposed to be a system of limitations put in place by the Founders of our Nation to protect us all from the Federal government created by the the same Constitution. The First Amendment was supposed to be a guarantee that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Many church groups have protested the actions of the Administration that requires church charities and institutions to provide services that conflict with church doctrine, values and basic beliefs. A current example is the requirement that church hospitals and charities provide abortion and contraception services or insurance to employees offering such services. It seems that the government would define religious organizations so narrowly that the church building where religious observances are provided only to the members of the church may be protected from government intrusion. Since charitable and faith based services may be offered to those in need without limitation or requirement of church membership and since the church charity or hospital may employ persons who may not be members of the church, the government is arguing that the church charity or hospital must provide services favored by the government but contrary to church teaching or beliefs.
Although many people argue for a “separation of Church and State”, I understand that those words do not appear in our Constitution – only the words quoted above from the First Amendment actually appear in the Constitution. (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) It is important to realize that the First Amendment does not exist to protect our government from the actions of the churches – but to protect the churches and the people from the actions of the government. So serious is the intrusion of government on these issues that multiple entities of the Catholic Church have sought the protection of the courts to prevent these policies from being enforced against the Catholic Church, Catholic charities and Catholic hospitals. (43 entities acting in 12 separate law suits filed against the government)
So on this Memorial Day, in addition to honoring the sacrifices of our military services in the defense of our Country and our freedoms, I hope you will all consider the freedoms that seem to be under attack by our own government. The current topics being discussed in Court filings by the Catholic Church have also been the subject of a video production so extraordinary that I will present it here for your consideration. I hope that you will agree to me that we have an obligation to defend our freedoms within our legal, governmental and election systems. We must express our opinions to influence legislative and administrative actions that may be contrary to our Constitution and basic freedoms. Finally we must elect candidates for office that are committed to defense of our liberties. What better way to honor our veterans and military services that give up so much to defend our freedoms.
Have a safe holiday.
By the way - you can click on the You-Tube logo in the lower right corner to view the video in You-Tube where you can expand the video player to full-screen. Enjoy and consider the presentation.