Amos on Goodness + Hobby Lobby

The prophet admonished the people: “Let justice prevail at the gate.” Which means: Let justice prevail in court. Because the elders among the Israelites heard cases for judgment at the city gates.

Hobby horseThen the prophet admonished them again. “Away with your noisy songs! …If you would offer me burnt offerings, then let justice surge like water and goodness like an unfailing stream.”

We want our land, these United States of America, to bud forth with growth. We want fertile soil. But, above all, we want this stream of human goodness coursing through our country. Our own goodness will “fertilize” this land, like nothing else will.

May it please God, let’s hope for a peaceful and pleasant Independence Day. Let’s hope for another 238 years of American stability, by following Amos’ admonition. Let’s do everything we can to be truly good, with the true goodness of God.

Re: “Hobby Lobby” Case.

The Bishops’ Conference has welcomed the decision. And they know much better than I do.

Nonetheless, I do not find myself at all overjoyed. To be honest, I think that certain terms are used in this case in an incoherent way.

I would define the terms differently.

Religion. Giving God His due: believing the truths He has revealed, worshiping Him with thanks and praise, doing penance for sin, seeking to do His will.

If ‘religion’ means: An intellectually inaccessible predilection that certain people have, for no apparent reason–which is how the word is used in this case–then I for one, would not want to have anything to do with religion.

Medicine/Health Care. Working to cure the maladies of mankind, using the scientific method.

Science. Applying the mind to reality in such a way as to insist on clear reasoning for all assertions. The systematic elimination of unfounded myths and compulsive/irrational actions.

It is a myth that artificial contraception serves the purpose of medicine. It is unscientific to accept supposed statements of truth without seeking clarity through rigorous questioning. The proposition that artificial contraception serves the purpose of medicine appears to have been accepted in this case without question. This is irrational and unscientific; the judges appear to be adjudicating cases with unproved myths as principles.

Also apparently accepted without question is this assertion: The money required for health care belongs to the business owner. In fact, the money that goes to provide healthcare actually belongs to the commonweal. It may be held in a business’ coffers for a period of time. But the business has an obligation to make the money available for healthcare. Because everyone has a right to the healthcare that the community can provide.

This court has found that a business owner must be protected from having to comply with evil acts, which are characterized as evil without any inquiry whatsoever as to why they are evil. The court also appears to accept without question the assertion that having a particular health plan for employees constitutes culpable co-operation with evil.

Plenty of people reject the conclusion of the court on these grounds: The owners of the business are not being forced to use abortifacients. So how is their freedom being infringed? The moral agency here belongs to the employee who chooses to apply poison to herself.

I, for one, do not have a convincing argument to that point. The money belongs to the commonweal. The moral culpability falls with whoever actually poisons the body with these so-called medicines. The business owner does not have any genuine moral agency in the evil.

Forgive me for not being a neo-conservative team player. But the conclusion of the court looks to me like utter, unprincipled gibberish. I cannot celebrate it as a victory, because it is a victory only for chaos. It is perfectly consistent, in its labile, surface-skimming approach, with the decisions that: found no natural basis for marriage, and that tolerate the daily killing of thousands of innocent and defenseless unborn children by abortion.

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Backyard-barbecue, Catholic American

If you would offer me burnt offerings, then let justice surge like water,

saith the Lord, through the prophet Amos. If you would barbecue your beef outdoors and make a pleasing aroma, then let justice surge like water.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us this admonition on our national barbecue day. We know that You love and bless the United States of America. You do not hesitate to address the words of Your prophet to us directly, to remind us that we must seek justice—if we would eat our hamburgers in peace, with untroubled souls.

The prophet Amos warned the Israelites against wishing that Judgment Day would come. He reminded them that the reckoning would prove more fierce and terrifying than they could imagine. Just do good and avoid evil. Live honestly. Eat your humble hamburger in peace, having wronged no man, and let God be God.

God has indeed done something in this 236-year-old country that hardly anyone could have anticipated. Even 75 years ago, I think, it would have been hard to imagine the peaceful middle-class life that most of us English-speaking American Catholics now enjoy. We love the Pope; we love the United States; we try hard to do our best by both. –The American Catholic, 2012, eating his hamburger—and maybe fanning himself with his church bulletin, because there’s a 15% chance he doesn’t have electricity, owing to the recent storms. He’s at peace on this soil.

Could Thomas Jefferson have imagined us easy-going Catholic Americans? Could King Henry VIII have imagined us? I don’t think so. God has accomplished an amazing thing.

So, having kept our Fortnight for Freedom, let’s eat our hamburgers and relax.

But hopefully, during this fortnight, we have learned something about how fragile this backyard-barbecue, Catholic-American peace really is. Without the daily struggle to do good and avoid evil, without the long, arduous pursuit of justice—without the virtues upon which our Church was founded, and the virtues upon which our nation was founded; without faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude; without these hard-won jewels of our spiritual treasury, we will not have peace.

Even with them, we may have a rough time. Can we reasonably doubt that we Catholic Americans have enemies? People who hate us, precisely because we stand for what we stand for. Because we love the Pope and his teachings, and we will do everything in our power not only to live by them, but also to teach them to others.

When you have courage and clarity, you have enemies—just like the Lord Jesus did. Which means you have the golden opportunity to love your enemies. To pray for them, listen to them, make sacrifices for them, and do every honorable thing to win them over as friends.

May God be pleased to keep us at peace—our little miracle of backyard-barbecue, easy-going Catholic America. May our children inherit this peace—if such be the divine will.

But may the Lord also be pleased to stoke our hearts with the fire of divine love. May that fire keep us humble, faithful, and true—through whatever battles may come.