Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
E. J. Montini in his column today has a quote he attributes to the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. Bishop is confusing hospital with church :
"These revisions to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate do not respect the religious liberty and moral convictions of all stakeholders in the health coverage transaction. Religious freedom is given to us by God, not conceded to us by the State."
Really? This is a derivative of the Divine Right of Kings theory, which asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people. (Hence the Bishop believes he is exempt from having to comply with the "earthly authority" of state and federal laws to which he objects on religious and moral grounds).
The American Revolution was fought in direct opposition to the despotism of the Divine Right of Kings theory. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence expressly states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ..."
The "consent of the governed" is synonymous with a political theory wherein a government's legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and legal when derived from the people or society over which that political power is exercised.
In America, those rights are derived from our Constitution, not a Divine Right:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Religious liberty is secured by the First Amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
The reason for securing religious liberty in the Constitution was to prevent the sectarian religious wars that had raged in Europe for centuries from occurring in America. It appears that some would have us come full circle.
I know that Tea-Publicans want to repeal the 20th Century and much of the 19th Century, but really, the entire American experience?
UPDATE: Gary Wills is the author of a series of books about Christianity, Catholicism, the Founders and U.S. politics, including the book What the Gospels Meant. Wills has weighed in on the subject at the New York Review of Books’ blog. Contraception Con-Men. He describes the whole issue and its framing as a test of religious freedom as “phony.” Like I said, it is a manufactured "controversy" for political purposes.