Monday, August 23, 2010

The Hole in the Ground and the Mosque (Part III)

The Hole in the Ground and the Mosque continued:

Pope Leo XIII cautioned Catholics in the political world that neutrality towards Christ is at best, fleeting, and in a worst case scenario, something which devolves into an anti-Christian bigotry. He said, “To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. “ Indeed, if the Christian religion is put on the same level with other religions, given the same privileges as other religions, then, in the end, it will be rejected! As with Yahweh in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ, our High Priest and King, will tolerate no rivals. We pray as much during the Sunday liturgy during the Gloria. In this liturgical prayer we exclaim: “For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.” What is professed in the sanctuary must be communicated in the public square. The Bishop and Statesman, whose authority comes from God, are both called to give allegiance to God.

Leo XIII goes on to say that it is ludicrous to hold that the individual citizen is bound to obey God and all that He commanded, but not the State, which is composed of individuals. He goes on to say that “it is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety.” (Immortale Dei)

The State, therefore, must take a stand for Christ. At the time of the American Revolution, this was undoubtedly the case. We know there were State sponsored churches up until 1831. Philip Jenkins, author of the book, The Lost History of Christianity, said that throughout history religion fared much better when governments sponsored and favored it. Freedom of religion can coexist with a preferential treatment for Christianity. To a degree, the two exist in America today. Swearing on the bible in judicial courts and chaplains praying in Congress are but a few examples. Incentivizing and favoring Christianity, therefore, is perfectly consistent with the founding of this nation and the Constitution. Understandably, people are weary of too close a union between Church and State. But to radically separate the two as polar opposites is like separating a body from its soul; such a split is bound to result in the nation’s demise.

Secular-liberalism to Islam. If Christianity is put on equal footing with Islam, if the bible becomes interchangeable with the Koran; and chaplains are to be interchangeable with imam’s, then Islam will win and Christianity will lose its rights. To be sure, if Christianity is just another religion out of many, it will not survive long. The Christian religion is meant to be preeminent, exclusive and singular. The early Christians understood this well and for that reason they were deemed intolerant by the ancient pagans. However, the Gospel did spread throughout the world. As a matter of fact, early Christianity won souls to Christ by leaps and bounds precisely because it portrayed Christ and His Church as being exclusive and exceptional. The Savior was not preached as one God out of many; but as the only God. “I am God, there is no other; I am God, there is none like me.”

Dinesh D'Souza once said that many people believe that the reason for the Crusade in the Middle Ages was due to the ignorance Muslims and Christians had of each other. No, Dinesh said, they understood each other perfectly well. After all, they were the only two religions on earth applying for the same job. And what would that job be? Converting the whole world to their faith.

If Christians fail to do their job in carrying out the mandate of Christ, that is,
"to make disciples of all nations," I'm afraid we will get one of two things: The intolerance of Secular-liberalism or the intolerance of Islam. Neither of them are as freedom-friendly as Christianity. This is what The Hole in the Ground and the Mosque means for America.