Sunday, August 22, 2010

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

In 1931, Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen wrote the following essay:

“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance-it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”

“Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory.

Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”


Tolerance, Equality, and Diversity: Good in themselves, but when wrongly applied it will lead to our demise

Fulton Sheen said that intolerance is the foundation of all stability. Although this is the height of political incorrectness, it is nevertheless true. Intolerance, rightly considered, is basic to human existence. The endurance of the human body, for instance, depends on its intolerance to harmful agents. A good bodily immune system is one that does not tolerate pathogens. To the extent it tolerates infectious agents, the body will breakdown.

The United States of America has an immune system too. Part of what makes our national immune system is the military, the CIA and UICE, just to name of few. Much can be said about how compromised our national intelligence community, national border security and the war on terror have become. But the causes of America’s problems are deeper and more fundamental than compromised federal agencies. As the soul is the form and animating principle of the body, as thought is the cause of action, so too America's problems are spiritual and moral in origin.

As for individuals, true love requires real intolerance and hate; never towards people but always to principles or falsehood. From the love we have for our family, for instance, there comes a corresponding hatred to all that threatens their well-being. What applies to loved ones, applies even more so to God. Hating sin, error or anything which dishonors God is the duty of every Christian.

Our Lord commended the church of Ephesus on their hatred in the book of Revelation. He said, "But you have this in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans." On other hand, to the church in Thyatira, he rebukes them for their misplaced tolerance: "Yet I hold this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, who teaches and misleads my servants to play the harlot and to eat food sacrificed to idols."

In the second half of the twentieth-century and in the early twenty-first century, Christians forgot what it means to hate ungodly ways. Persuaded by Secular-liberalism, such hatred and intolerance came to be seen as a contradiction to Christian love and compassion. But in the absence of hating that which offends God, the toleration of moral evil has become a social virtue in our public institutions; more than that, it has become a civic duty. The protocol in many sectors of society is to refrain from judgment or criticism on a host of social issues.

Take, for instance, the following examples: In the 1960’s and 1970’s, we were told to tolerate premarital sex and with that, out of wedlock pregnancy and abortion. During the same period, we were told to tolerate divorce, cohabitation and homosexuality. As a result, divorce and cohabitation have become normative with one unintended consequence: couples are marrying less today! Moreover, the legalization and growing acceptance of homosexual unions has challenged the very definition of marriage, which, by nature, is between a man and a woman. The importance of this issue cannot be overstated because the natural bond between a man and a woman is the very image of God; and it is through this image that children come to understand the world and God himself.

Indiscriminate tolerance of these social values has led to intolerance of authentic family values. Advocating for family values and the respect for life, as held by Christians, is considered hate speech by the Left. As long ago as 1948, Bishop Fulton Sheen said that if Christianity does not interfere with Secularism, Secularism will interfere with it.

We find this to be equally true with the public school system. In the early 1960’s, the US Supreme court imposed a neutrality with respect to religion in our public schools; this was in deference to the wishes of atheists and secularists. As such, prayer to God and the reading the bible was banned. We know now where this has led. Many public schools have demonstrated intolerance towards anything Christian. Neutrality towards Christ is always short-lived. As Our Lord said, "He that is not with me is against Me." There is no middle ground with our Lord. In many ways, eternity is but the reflection of our earthly existence; either heaven or hell will be our inheritence.

America is going down a road that Israel (of the Old Testament) once traveled. In Israel’s worst days she held her worship of Yahweh as being equal to the pagan religions. Indeed, Yahweh was put on equal footing with false gods. The Canaanite religion, which included the sacrificing of children, was one such religion that Israel accommodated itself to. Prophets, over and over again, railed against this apostasy. As a matter of fact, this was the reason why King Solomon fell from grace. Albeit he continued the worship the God of his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but he also permitted rival gods to enter into his heart; as such, he built pagan temples to them. This was the beginning of the Kingdom of Israel’s downfall. Tolerating the false beliefs and inhumane rites of pagan religions led to Israel’s defeat…by pagan nations.

Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord reminded the people of God, “I am God, there is no other; I am God, there is none like me.” Israel did not heed this truth. In the name of tolerating other religions and in the name of equality, Yahweh was considered to be just one more God among the pantheon of pagan gods. With this, the Lord sent the prophet Amos who said, “You alone have I favored, more than all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your crimes.”

Please read part III in the next blog