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Thursday, October 13, 2011


Charles E Flynn

President Obama: Ex-Liberal, by Francis J. Beckwith.

Robert Miller

What has come into much clearer focus of late is the "free exercise" dimension of "freedom of religion".
Until recent decades, this side of the issue in the US was mainly of interest to snakehandlers, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons.
Today, however, we are face-to-face with the question of what happens when free exercise of Catholic faith, the foundational inspiration of Western civilization, collides with free exercise of anti-faith. This collision differs radically from any other faith/anti-faith collision, because all non-Catholic faiths share their distinctive formation with anti-faith (for, even in the case of the ancient Asian "great religions", all now have come into contact with and formed themselves in the faith/anti-faith dialectic). Only Judaism, arguably, has not.

It is marvelous to see how quickly the US bishops have grasped that free exercise of the Catholic faith is the central issue of the moment throughout the world, and that the US is the epicenter of its collision with free exercise of anti-faith.

John James

I am uncertain of the legislative regime in place in the United States, but here in Australia, and I think in much of Europe, what is beginning to emerge is a body of law which, while ostensibly seeking to ensure goods and services are not denied groups of individuals on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation, is being extended, in scope, to ensure there is no expression of opposition, in action or expression of opinion, to the beliefs of different groups within the community.
A campsite here in Australia, conducted by a Christian group, which declined to accept a reservation from a community group wanting to conduct a seminar promoting a homosexual lifestyle, was found guilty of discrimination against this group, on the basis of sexual orientation.
The directors of the campsite argued that their opposition was not based on the sexual orientation of the group, but on the ACTIVITIES the group were proposing to conduct.
The directors argued they would have taken a similar position had a heterosexual group wished to conduct such a seminar.
This defence was dismissed.
Effectively the law is being interpreted to mean that ACTIVITY based discrimination is identical to IDENTITY based discrimination.
So what is clearly emerging are laws that seek to regulate speech and opinion.
A body of law is emerging which simply states that it is enough for someone to take offence at what has been said for a crime to have been committed.
A medical colleague of mine was recently compelled to appear before a tribunal because a homosexual activist had complained about an article my colleague had written, defending the concept of traditional marriage.
Eventually the matter came to a conclusion, but only because the activist withdrew his complaint.
However, it cost my colleague much time, effort, and money, because he was compelled, under law, to appear before a tribunal, and with a busy medical practice, he was forced to rearrange his schedule, and appointments, with his patients.
So not only religious freedom, but even those alleged 'pillars of liberal society', freedom of expression and opinion, are increasingly under attack, from the 'liberals', the very ones who tell you that culture and civilisation commenced with the Enlightenment, when the Church's alleged 'hold' on civilisation was broken

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