Thursday, April 7, 2011

Religious Freedom, Niemöller, and Muslims in America

The Catholic Church teaches that freedom of religion is important. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109)

That's religious freedom for everybody:
" 'Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits.'34 This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it 'continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it.'35"
(Catechism, 2106)

Why the Rights of Muslims Matter to This Catholic

I don't think that all Protestants are members of the Ku Klux Klan. Even though a burning cross was a sort of emblem for that organization. (January 22, 2010)

I also don't think that all Muslims are terrorists.

I've heard and read some fairly wild claims about 'those Muslims over there.' 'Satanic cult' claims remind me of what radio preachers and others were saying about 'those Catholics over there' in my youth. I've described how those vendors of malignant virtue indirectly encouraged me to become a Catholic. And that's almost another topic.

Although there are over a billion Catholics in today's world, here in America my faith makes me part of a religious minority. Simple self-interest dictates that I defend the rights of non-dominant folks to practice religion as they see fit. It's a point that's been made before:
"...A German pastor, Martin Niemöller, made the point I'm trying to make. Quite a few times, it seems.

"He's credited with writing a poem. Several, actually, all with the same general message. Here are a few:
"When Hitler attacked the Jews
I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics,
I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists,
I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church --
and there was nobody left to be concerned."
(Niemoller's address to the U.S. Congress (Congressional Record,
October 14, 1968, page 31636), Martin Niemoller poem and address on Hitler and the Nazis)
"Or maybe it was
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me."
(MARTIN NIEMÖLLER: "FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE SOCIALISTS...", United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me."
(Martin Niemöller's famous quotation: "First they came for the Communists"..., a page by Harold Marcuse, UC Santa Barbara)
"The version you ran into probably isn't there. Some are rather politically correct, some were edited from a more conservative point of view. Although I don't quite agree with the UC Santa Barbara professor's assumption that the guy from the Small Business Administration was subverting the pastor's message ('everybody knows' what those capitalists are like?), the professor's page is one of the best resources I've found online, for studying Niemöller's remarks.

"Between Islamic crazies and white supremacists, there's a whole lot of hate - concentrated in, I trust, 'a very few bad apples,' but dangerous nonetheless. 'My end of the boat isn't sinking' is not a prudent attitude...."
((September 8, 2010), Another War-on-Terror Blog (December 11, 2009))
Besides, protecting everybody's freedom to worship - or not - as they choose is the right thing to do.

Here's an excerpt from what got me started on this post:
" 'We remain firmly committed to the defense of religious liberty for all - not just for Catholics - because our commitment is to the dignity of each and every human person,' said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, testifying on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on 'Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims.'

" 'As a community that has been the target of religious discrimination, we understand the need today to bring attention to protecting the civil rights of our Muslim brothers and sisters,' Cardinal McCarrick said. 'We see religious freedom as an essential foundation for our life together in our own nation and across the globe.'..."
(USCCB News Release)
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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.