by Fr Richard Heilman | May 22, 2020 11:12 AM
By Fr. Bill Peckman …
I am prefacing this column with a disclaimer: The following column in no way advocates for foolhardy behavior, at-risk groups throwing caution to the wind, or ignoring common sense.
The new normal.
The new normal that the media keeps talking about isn’t a new normal at all. It is definitely a shift further down a road we already on. The new normal is a doubling down on an objective that progressives have worked on for the better part of a century.
This new normal is a continual shift from human rights as given by our Creator to human rights as given by the state. The former is applicable throughout the ages and expands by its nature as we tear down walls of prejudice and bias. Human rights as given by God are not subject to time, place, race, creed, gender, and so on. The same cannot be said for rights as afforded by the state. Rights given by the state can be allocated unevenly, dismissed by whim and or fiat. The state will hide behind the ‘common good’ as to how rights are given or suspended; in actuality, rights are given or suspended based by how those in power stand to benefit.
It is further down the socialism rabbit hole we are going. Any student of socialism/Marxism/ fascism knows that this shift on where human rights come from is integral to the state, in the amorphous name of the common good, to take upon itself the position of ultimate authority. The state has to have this ability to give and suspend human rights so as to further their agenda. When the people have ceded to the point that rights are given by the state and not by God, then great atrocities will follow. That is why true socialism is incredibly hostile to religion as a whole and to Christianity in particular. Christianity, building from its Jewish roots, sees human rights as derived from God that no one, including the state, can suspend.
We see this is how religion is treated in this crisis. Freedom of religion was already morphing into a mere freedom to worship. Now even that freedom was suspended in the name of the common good. While we were trying to ‘flatten the curve’ so as not to overwhelm our health care system, avoiding large groups of any kind was seen as a good. It was. Churches did their part with everyone else. But notice how the goal posts are being moved. First it was flatten the curve…then until there is a vaccine…in some places it is until a cure is found. Of course, our freedoms to worship continue to be diminished (as is most of the 1st Amendment Rights).
Some places are pushing back. The Catholic Bishops and Lutherans in Minnesota are pushing back at their governor and re-opening their churches (while maintaining physical distancing and hygiene). The feeling was that if malls, casinos, and abortion clinics can open, why are churches still to be closed? There are multiple states where the same closures are in effect. In New York, casinos are being opened while churches are to remain closed. I live in a state where the opposite is true; the churches are open and the casinos are closed. Where progressivism is in charge, religion, particularly Judeo-Christianity is seen as unimportant at best and as in the way at worst.
The new norm the media is pushing shoves religion more into the ash heap of history. That is the goal. They use a constant diet of worse case scenarios and fear to control our behavior. They want the state to dictate human rights. Religion stands in the way (as does the family, but that is a different column to be written). They are useful idiots. They know not their history. Freedom of the Press dissipates in socialist countries.
The question for each one of us is how many of our God-given human rights are we willing to cede for the illusion of safety? Are we willing to tracked? Are we willing to cede our faith? Are we willing to cede our free speech? Benjamin Franklin was famously quoted as to saying our government was “a republic if you can keep it.” In that republic we said our rights are given to us by our creator and not by the state. We fought a Civil war to extend those right to those who had been deemed to not be fully human. When we allow our rights to be ceded to the state, concentration camps, gulags, re-education camps, and a police state are not far behind. There are predators who ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’ and see in the Covid-19 crisis a fertile field for furthering their goals.
George Santayana remarked that those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it. Those who know their history are condemned to watch society repeat it. Don’t be fooled by the new normal.
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