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Sunday, February 13, 2005

What is Freedom? Part II

Additional aspects of political liberty and what liberals call social justice.

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Yesterday’s posting covered three political aspects of liberty.  Ultimately more important are the religious and moral aspects.

The point was made in 1832 by Alexis de Tocqueville in his “Democracy in America”:

“[Christianity] contributed powerfully to the establishment of a republic and a democracy in public affairs; and from the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never [as of 1832] been dissolved.”

“The sects that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man?. all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God.”

“In the United States religion exercises but little influence upon the laws and upon the details of public opinion; but it directs the customs of the community, and, by regulating domestic life, it regulates the state?. Thus, while the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash and unjust. Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it.”

“When [people in France] attack religious opinions, they obey the dictates of their passions and not of their interests. Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot…....

“There is hardly any human action, however particular it may be, that does not originate in some very general idea men have conceived of the Deity, of his relation to mankind, of the nature of their own souls, and of their duties to their fellow creatures…..

“For my own part, I doubt whether man can ever support at the same time complete religious independence and entire political freedom. And I am inclined to think that if faith be wanting in him, he must be subject; and if he be free, he must believe.”

Liberal-socialists tar Christians and religious Jews with the brush of hypocrisy and ignorance, while presenting themselves as the true voice of benevolence toward the downtrodden.  If liberals merit any claim, it’s only as the voice; they talk a good game, but they have delivered, among other things, only fiscal insolvency, lifetime welfare dependency, inner city crime, drug abuse, soaring divorce rates, and the highest rates of illegitimate births and single-parent families in world history.

petesworld.org has a pertinent reference at self destruction of the liberal church, which links the reader to Peter Mullen vs. A. N. Wilson at the British website, The Social Affairs Unit.  The tenor of Mr. Mullen’s points is in the following quotation from the article:

“In fact traditional Christianity is thriving worldwide. It is strong in the USA of course where, to the chagrin of bien pensants like Wilson, Christians won a second term for a conservative Christian President. The faith is burgeoning in Central and South America too where Pentecostal Christianity and the conservative morality that goes with it is reclaiming millions of drug addicts, restoring decent community life and consequently improving the living standards of the population.

“African Christianity is now doing so well that it sends missionaries to Britain to preach the gospel to the generation of apostates and ideological liberals such as Wilson who have abandoned it. It was the traditional Catholics in Poland and other Soviet satellites who did much to throw off the dehumanising totalitarianism of the Communist evil empire. In short, Christianity is alive and well wherever it is being celebrated, preached and practised according to the traditional model. Catholics who use the Latin Mass and Anglicans who have stuck to The Book of Common Prayer and the King James Bible report well-attended services. The Orthodox, who have not much altered their liturgy since AD 1054, are thriving.

“In truth, Christianity everywhere is enjoying a big revival. It is only in northern Europe with its post-Enlightenment ragbag of liberalism, pluralism, secularism and political-correctness that the churches stand empty. In other words, it is precisely the modernising, debunking, snobbish and patronising attitudes of clever people like A.N.Wilson which has done so much to remove the historic faith from the cultural landscape of England.

“The modernisers among the bishops and in the General Synod have dominated the English church these last forty years and all but destroyed it. They have denied or distorted every cardinal doctrine of the faith. The Resurrection of Our Lord has been reduced to a subjective feeling of cheered-upness among the disciples. The Virgin Birth has been dismissed as a mistaken reading of the Book of Isaiah . They have swallowed whole the notion of secularisation and adopted as their keynote the words of the demythologising theologian Rudolf Bultmann:

“You can’t believe the miracles and the Resurrection in an age of electric light and the wireless”.

Why not?”