Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/22/2013 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

because I love this Nation, I spoke at the Awakening Conference and I will stand with the Freedom Federation

As a Nation we have lost our moral compass. As a direct result, we are losing genuine freedom. The idea that we can separate moral issues from fiscal or international issues is wrong. There is a moral basis to every political and social concern - that includes economics and foreign policy. 

Freedom

Freedom

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/22/2013 (11 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Freedom, Liberty, The Awakening, Pro-Life, Right to Life, Religious Freedom, morality, Deacon Keith Fournier


ORLANDO, FL (Catholic Online) - I arrived in Orlando Thursaday night and was greeted by the woman at the front desk of the hotel with the question, "Are you with the Liberty Group?" My answer came, without even a moment of reflection. "Yes I am!"

My friend, a man I admire, constitutional lawyer Matt Staver, invited me to speak at this conference. Matt is the Vice President of Liberty University. He is the Dean and a Professor of Law of Liberty University School of Law.

Matt is also the Founder, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel and the Director of the Liberty Center for Law and Policy. But most importantly, this evangelical Christian leader recognizes the urgency of the hour - and shares with me a conviction of our obligation to stand together. So, he invited this Catholic Deacon and Lawyer to speak at this conference being held at a Baptist Church.

It is a familiar role for me. I have worked alongside of evangelical Protestants for decades. Almost twenty five years ago, before it was as acceptable as it is now, I actually, you could say, "wrote the book on it". Then, several years later,I wrote another one

Now, after years of being in the trenches and the classroom, hopefully having learned a thing or two, I am writing a new book on the subject. I am inspired by our evangelical Catholic Pope Francis to undertake the project

The conference was entitled "The Awakening: Fighting for the Soul of America" It was sponsored by the Freedom Federation. I was a  founding member of the Freedom Federation when Matt sought to call a new generation of Christians together again, organizationally, to stand for up for moral values. You can find out more about the effort here.

The Awakening 2013 brings Christians together - from across the confessional spectrum - to work together on behalf of the Nation we love. We all know that the only way to stop the slide occasioned by the moral relativism of our age, and to reverse the resulting decay of authentic freedom, is to reassert the foundational moral values of a free society

After all, that really is the task we face. The theme of the conference was "Fighting for the Soul of America." It was held at the First Baptist Church in Oviedo, Florida on April 19 - 20 2013 - Friday 6:30 - 9:00 pm & Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

I joined many national religious and political speakers who bring their formidable experience and sincere dedication to this conference. We have many differing theological positions on vital and important issues. However, we share a common commitment to the truth which alone can set men, women and nations free.

We also know that when a society declines into embracing the idea that there is nothing objectively true - which can be known by all and form the basis of our common life - there is no basis for true freedom.

Freedom can neither be realized, nor can it flourish, unless it is exercised in reference to choosing what is true and what is good. Our choices not only affect the world around us, they change us, individually and as a people.

As a Nation we have lost our moral compass. As a direct result, we are losing genuine freedom. The idea that we can separate moral issues from fiscal or international issues is wrong. There is a moral basis to every political and social concern - that includes economics and foreign policy.

Making this kind of claim is not reserved to religious people. Such a claim acknowledges a Natural Moral Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason. That Natural Moral Law is the ground upon which every great civilization has been built.

The Natural Moral Law gives us norms needed to build just societies and govern ourselves.  It must inform the positive law of a Nation or it becomes lawless and devolves into anarchy. We need men and women in to run for office and govern who are unafraid to acknowledge this fact.

They need to be strong enough to withstand the incessant effort to caricature, label and disparage them because they openly espouse such views. Truth does not change, people and cultures do; sometimes for good and sometimes for evil.

There is also a hierarchy of rights, which begins with Life. When there is no recognition of a preeminent right to life, there follows an erosion of the entire structure of all human rights. Human rights do not exist in a vacuum; they are goods of the human person.

Without the freedom to be born, all of the talk about compassion for the poor as well as the promise of economic freedom is hollow. Our failure as a Nation to recognize that our first neighbors in the womb have a right to be born and live a full life in our community is a foundational failure in our obligation in solidarity.

When a society fails to recognize that persons are more important than things, when it loses sight of the primacy of the inviolable dignity of every single human person at every age, every stage and of every size, it embraces a form of practical materialism, worshipping a new golden calf.

It is also an open rejection of the entire ethic of being our brothers (and sisters) keeper and its societal implications. There can be no enduring lasting solidarity upon which to build a secure future in a culture that kills its own children and actually calls it a right.

In addition to insisting upon the recognition by the State of the fundamental Human Right to Life we must also defend authentic marriage. Marriage is the first society into which children are to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities.

We can only be fully human - and experience human flourishing and freedom - in relationship with one another. We are by nature - and by grace - social creatures. 

The effort to redefine marriage out of existence threatens our future as a free, virtuous and healthy people. Marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation and relation. In the words of the first book of the Bible we read,  "it is not good for man to be alone". It all begins with the family. We can only be fully human - and experience human flourishing and freedom - in relationship with one another. We are by nature - and by grace - social creatures. 

Children have a right to a mother and a father. Of course we must care about the single parent family and the many broken homes. However, their existence does not change the norm necessary for grounding a stable and healthy society. In tact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order.

The growing idea that there can be a division between social thought and economic application is also a false dichotomy. The market was made for man and not man for the market. Only a moral people can ensure that a market economy remains free.

Freedom is much more than a freedom from - it is a freedom for responsible and virtuous living. The early founders of the United States of America spoke of the pursuit of happiness with reference to just such an understanding of virtue as a key to living a happy life.

Freedom brings with it obligations to do what is right and to care for others. We have an obligation in solidarity to one another and, in particular, to the poor. We are our brother/sister´s keeper. The division between social thought and economic application is a false dichotomy. The market was made for man and not man for the market. Only a moral people can ensure that a market economy remains free.

However, we need to apply the social ordering principle of subsidiarity in implementing this obligation -  in both governing structures and the economic order. This principle insists that governance should be exercised at the lowest practicable level - first - beginning with the family.

Larger governing entities must never usurp the rightful role of families and the mediating structures of society such as religious institutions, associations, charities and small self governing structures between the family and the institutions of civil government.

Statism never works, whether of the rightist or the leftist version. It squelches freedom, creativity, initiative and genuine human compassion. Not because government is somehow intrinsically evil, but because collectivism is simply not good government; it is tyranny.

The question we should ask is whether the government being exercised is good, including whether it is efficient and effective as well as healthy. That can best be assessed by considering who does the governing, where it happens and whether such governing reflects truly moral values.

We insist upon the moral foundation of freedom itself. We may be free to choose, but some choices are always and everywhere wrong. We know this is true because it is written on the human heart. It does not require religion to reveal it or to make it obligatory. It is a part of our common morality.

For example, the shared knowledge of what is right is the basis for our criminal justice system. We all know it is always wrong to kill an innocent neighbor. This is true even if that neighbor lives in the first home of the whole human race, their mother's womb. We hide voluntary abortion behind Orwellian language such as choice and abortion rights in an attempt to make it sound noble, but it is barbarism. It does not free us; it enslaves us. Abortions have no rights, human persons do, like the human person in the womb.

We need men and women to run for public office who can champion authentic freedom - in a way that inspires people to sacrifice for it. We need candidates who promote an authentic vision of human freedom; not a libertinism masquerading as liberty or a selfish individualism rejecting our obligation to one another. They will also need thick skin because they will face the brunt of the intolerant secularists along with the derision of some within their own political circles. 

The secularist censors want to relegate our truth claims concerning the dignity of every human life and our defense of marriage and the family founded upon it by claiming they are just religious positions. They then insist that these positions are not an appropriate subject for public policy or political discourse. They want truth claims to be confined within our Church Walls. They now try to use the Police power of the State to silence us.

This is not freedom it is tyranny. There is a difference between a secular state, a state which welcomes all religious expressions or none at all, and "secularism", an oppressive anti-religious regime which seeks to censor out of the public forum the wonderful contributions of the Church, people of faith, and the great ideas informed by faith which have shaped the West.

There is a Cultural Revolution underway in the West. There are two conflicting visions of the human person, human freedom, human flourishing and marriage and the family founded upon it as the first cell of a truly just society contending for the future. These visions are incompatible with one another. Only one will triumph.

The American founders carried a vision of authentic freedom into the experiment in ordered liberty called the United States of America. However, they did not come up with this ennobling and enabling vision on their own. They received it from the treasury of Western civilization which was found in Christendom.
 
It is the Jewish and Christian vision of the human person, the primacy of marriage and the family founded upon it, and the acknowledgement of the existence of normative, fundamental moral truths, which guarantees the future of Western civilization. Recovering their priamry role is the path to true progress.

These truths, revealed by the Natural Law, these rights, endowed upon us by our Creator, have fueled our determined efforts to build a truly free society. They have ensured our survival against totalitarianism of every ilk and every political persuasion. 

When embraced and welcomed, they can properly govern our life together and keep the flame of freedom burning in the torch of Lady Liberty. When rejected, we will succumb to the various forms of tyranny which pretend to liberate but only lead to slavery.

Because I believe all of this, and because I love this Nation, I spoke at the Awakening Conference and I will stand with the Freedom Federation.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More U.S.

The Birth of Catholic Evangelism Watch

Image of I recently interviewed Jeff Cavins  for my weekly show  on Ave Maria Radio.  Jeff, who is nationally known for his study guides to the Bible, has just taken a job as Director of Evangelism at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  It's a significant point in this nation's Church history that an apologist/educator with EWTN origins has taken a significant job inside an archdiocese.

By Deal W. Hudson

In spite of being ignored, and in some cases blacklisted, several of the hosts of EWTN radio and TV shows grew ministries of their own in the evangelistic Catholic style of Mother Angelica's still-prospering network. Jeff Cavins is one of the most successful of ... continue reading


Good Friday: Behold the Wood of the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This is Good Friday. This is the day when the whole world stands still. We recall the great Sacrifice offered on the second tree on Golgotha's Hill. There, the one St. Paul calls the New Adam (1 Cor.15), in the perfect obedience of love, did for us  what we ... continue reading


Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


Ron Paul warns Feds may stage 'Waco styled' raid Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy has been fighting with the Bureau of Land Management for 20 years over his cattle and grazing rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Cliven Bundy, his family, their supporters, and myriad militiamen forced federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management to back off of the Bundy's Nevada ranch and release hundreds of captured cattle, one politician warns that the feds could be planning ... continue reading


What does this say about America? More people getting food stamps than women working full-time Watch

Image of There were only 15,678,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 1969.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a distressing figure that shines a most unflattering light on affairs here in the United States. According to recent statistics, those  participating in the food stamp program, or SNAP outnumbered the number of women who worked full-time, year-round ... continue reading


Palm/Passion Sunday: Will We Make This Week Holy By Encountering Jesus Christ? Watch

Image of Holy Week invites us to let go of self and embrace the Lord Jesus anew through saying Yes to the invitation to continuing conversion. How desperately we all need to hear the Good news that we can begin again!

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Palm/ Passion Sunday: Make This Holy Week a Deep Encounter With Jesus Christ!During this week called Holy, the Lord Jesus is extending His saving Hand to each one of us anew. The timeless one has broken into time and now transforms it from within. The question is ... continue reading


Living Among the Pharisees Watch

Image of Christ Before the High Priest

By Deal W. Hudson

I will not quote directly from the article - there is no need to infect readers with the Phariseeism pervading Ruse's psychological/spiritual analysis of Thomas Williams. The readers can judge for themselves. I've been the target of similar, and worse, ... continue reading


Time for a Movement Rooted in the Real Social Doctrine of the Church Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Christian social teaching challenges any notion of human freedom which begins and ends with the isolated, atomistic, person as the measure of its application. We are by nature and grace called to relationship. Only in communion can we become fully human and find ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 52:13--53:12
13 Look, my servant will prosper, will grow great, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
2 turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a ... Read More

Gospel, John 18:1--19:42
1 After he had said all this, Jesus left with his ... Read More

Reading 2, Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
14 Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 18th, 2014 Image

St. Apollonius the Apologist
April 18: Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter