Monday, July 4, 2011

Oh, America

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. --John Adams

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. --Abraham Lincoln

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. --George Washington (from his Farewell Address)

And then there's this, from a Canadian commenter at the New York Times today, July 4, 2011:
This navel-gazing as to where same-sex marriage will lead society is confusing to this Canuck. You do realize that the US is not the first jurisdiction to recognize same-sex unions, right? Instead of ruminating on all the various scenarios that might ensue, why not simply look at how the societies of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden have changed because of it: the answer is not one iota.

Granted, the worst that these other countries had to fight is the scourge of Catholicism (Spain showed especial courage in this regard); the rest of us moved into the 21st century unmolested. Americans so have to deal with the evangelical erasure of the separation of church and state, with the ghastly remains of the Republican party now no more nor less than a right-wing theocratic movement. (Look at the parade of tent-revivalists and public 'Christians' lined up for the Republican presidential race). And we all know that no one is more interested in the sex other people are having than religious types. [Emphasis added: E.M.]
Many Catholic Americans can trace their ancestry back to people who fled their native lands for America because of religious persecution and hatred for their Catholic beliefs. On this Independence Day, I can only wonder how long it will be before our Catholic descendents will have to do the same--and whether there will still be on this Earth any nation that will welcome them.

O tempora, O mores! Oh, America.

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