Watching some of the coverage of Barack Obama’s edict issued to Catholic organizations, it’s become painfully clear to me that many so-called “journalists” don’t have the first clue why this is upsetting. They simply don’t understand it. In their thinking, this isn’t a religious issue at all. In their view, matters of conscience begin and end at the steps of the church, demonstrating that they not only believe in a separation of church and state, but church and life. What they admitted in their shocked confusion over the back-lash is what I have always known, and you have likely suspected too: To these people, religion is a belief system that is practiced behind the closed doors of a church, and the very notion that your beliefs extend to the rest of your life is foreign to them. While many in the media claim to be members of various churches, one clearly gets the sense that many are not all too serious about it, and this issue has revealed them as insincere.
After all, if you’re a committed and observant Catholic, you hold with the teachings of the Church that contraception (never mind abortion) contradicts God’s will. These people in media understand this about Catholics, but they are astonished when Catholics and others react badly against a governmental edict that requires them to support contraception through compulsory add-ons to insurance plans, or through tax dollars. For them, the issue is your private faith, to which they will agree you are entitled, versus your adherence to it in all facets of your life. In effect, what they suppose is that while you may rightly hold your own beliefs, that when you exit the church you must set aside your beliefs in all the rest of your daily life. In essence, they believe in a separation of your religious beliefs from practical life.
This is a telling revelation, and it correlates well with this class of bloody hypocrites, who may profess this religious belief or that, but seldom adhere to it in their own lives. To them, religion is about private professions of a belief in a crowd of like-minded people, assembled at best within the walls of a church, hidden from society and closed in from all the world. They cannot conceive of the notion that you might adhere to a given church, accept all its teachings, and extend their practice into your daily lives. You oppose abortion on the basis of religion? Fine, they will say, but if you’re a doctor, that doesn’t relieve you of the duty to perform one if a patient demands it. They demand doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacists, and everyone else to abandon their faith once they exit their homes or churches.
In their view, religion is something dispensable, like deciding whether it is too warm for a sweater, or too cool for shorts on the way to a picnic. They project their own loosely-defined, carelessly adopted choices of conscience onto every other man and woman in the culture, and expect that all others would so easily drop their beliefs at the command of a President, or any other dictatorial thug, just on his say-so. It is much like the attitude of Romney over Romneycare in the debate with Rick Santorum: “It’s not worth getting angry about.” This disconnect in their professed religious views from their daily lives is born of the fact that in the first instance, most of them are liars, and starting with the commandment to “not bear false witness,” they begin very early in their careers to do precisely that.
If you slant a story about a person to make his actions seem worse, or better, you’re bearing false witness. What has modern journalism become if not a perpetual parade of people trotted out before some camera, or interviewed and quoted in print who bears false witness against somebody else? When this becomes the touchstone of your profession, and the way to score the lead story, and the above-the-fold headline, you can bet the long-term affect will be to destroy one’s sense of what is a lie and what isn’t. Mad? Yes, of course we become angry! This should offend you nearly as badly as the story in this case, because it reveals something else too: It is reported that President Obama and some in his inner circle dismissed warnings from some others in the administration that there could be a back-lash, and that they are somewhat surprised now that the back-lash is well under way. In short, the media is surprised, but so is the President’s inner circle, and for exactly the same reason: Obama, despite his professions of a Christian faith and twenty years in Jeremiah Wright’s church, doesn’t take his faith all that seriously either. Like many liberals, it was all about appearances.
This also explains something else, if you’re observant: The same people who are shocked about this reveal why they hold such naive views about radical Islamists. Think of it: They don’t understand that Muslims motivated to terror by radical Imams might well actually believe every word they’ve been taught as they throw themselves into crowded streets with bombs strapped to their chests. In short, they are willing to act on the strength of their beliefs, whether you and I agree with those beliefs being a separate matter. In the worldview of the left, this is a confounding issue of politics gone haywire, and it is why they do not understand how the Arab Spring is rapidly undergoing a climate change of a different sort. In the main, this is either because they don’t hold religious convictions, or at least not firmly, or because they believe that political expedience trumps all other causes. Either way, what they fail to understand is that a Catholic doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology may have matters of conscience or faith that prohibit the performing of abortions.
To them, matters of faith are strictly personal, and should have no bearing on one’s dealings or relations with others. These people have no understanding of committed, observantly faithful practitioners of any religion. They think “free exercise” is a matter of speech at most, and even then should remain in church at its most public. Their perspective is that of a shallow faith, not made of actions tied to beliefs, but of words tied mainly to doubts or dis-beliefs. They cannot understand why one’s religious beliefs should matter at all in one’s performance in the workplace, or why they might affect the diligence with which one adheres to the vows of one’s marriage. In their view, these things are all superficial and transient, meaning that when they seem shocked and confused over how this could possibly be seen by Catholics, or Christians in general, as a matter of the interference by the state in the free exercise of religion, most are not faking it. They really don’t “get it,” and it’s because they have no idea that faith and religious instruction actually informs the views of many millions of Americans. They expect you to make professions of faith, but never to act upon it.
In short, they really are clueless. And besides, “it’s not worth getting angry about.”