Catholics Against Freedom of Religion (again!). The Politics of Religion – NYTimes.com
Why am I surprised ? I shouldn’t be surprised that today’s New York Times has the following editiorial:
One of the world’s biggest companies is at it again. They’re using a trick they’ve used since their inception: The Perversion of Language. In the birth-control debacle they are asserting their freedom of religion to take away the freedom of religion of women. It goes something like this: The Catholic Church is free to ignore the constitutional rights and freedoms of American citizens and impose their dogma on society. They want the freedom of religion to take away your freedom of religion.
Early Christian writers, around the time of St. Augustine, forged the concept beautifully with (entirely illogical) statements like: “Unless you accept Christ you are not free.” With the passing of time the world has had the opportunity to see the Catholic Church meant this quite literally.
Jews had to learn this lesson first hand and repeatedly. Here are some pearls of Catholic/Jewish history:
- Jews and Saracens [Muslims] are not to be allowed to have christian servants in their houses.
The evidence of Christians is to be accepted against Jews in every case, since Jews employ their own witnesses against Christians, and that those who prefer Jews to Christians in this matter are to lie under anathema, since Jews ought to be subject to Christians and to be supported by them on grounds of humanity alone.
1179 A.D., Third Lateran Council
- Jews shall be compelled to make satisfaction to churches for tithes and offerings due to the churches, which the churches were accustomed to receive from Christians for houses and other possessions, before they passed by whatever title to the Jews.
A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens [Muslims] from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress.
They [Jews and Saracens] shall not appear in public at all on the days of lamentation and on passion Sunday.
It would be too absurd for a blasphemer of Christto exercise power over Christians. We therefore renew in this canon, on account of the boldness of the offenders, what the council of Toledo providently decreed in this matter: we forbid Jews to be appointed to public offices, since under cover of them they are very hostile to Christians.
1215 A.D., Fourth Lateran Council
…Oh yes, then there was slavery…
- You have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring them to the Catholic faith.
Papal Bull, Alexander VI, 1493, Inter Caetera
- Extended to the Catholic nations of Europe dominion over discovered lands during the Age of Discovery. Along with sanctifying the seizure of non-Christian lands, it encouraged theenslavement of native, non-Christian peoples in Africa and the New World.
- “To invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens [Muslims] and paganswhatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons toperpetual slavery.”
Papal bull, Pope Nicholas V, 1455, Romanus Pontifex
- …Authorised Alfonso V of Portugal to reduce any “Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and any other unbelievers” to perpetual slavery. This facilitated the Portuguese slave trade from West Africa.
Papal bull, Pope Nicholas V, 1452, Dum Diversas
Then we have Pope Pius IX incredible rant written in 1864. It’s called Syllabus of Errors and in it the Pope goes on to enumerate the world’s many errors.
Here are a few amusing ones:
15. [It is an error to say that] Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.
23. [It is an error to say that] Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals.
24. [It is an error to say that] The Church has not the power of using force, nor has she any temporal power, direct or indirect.
38. [It is an error to say that] The Roman pontiffshave, by their too arbitrary conduct, contributed to the division of the Church into Eastern and Western.
55. [It is an error to say that] The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.
77. [It is an error to say that] In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.
78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship.
Pope Pius IX, 1864, Syllabus of Errors
Oh but all of that is old news… it’s history. Or is it? Apparently not. Various Catholic groups in America have commenced legal action to oppose the inclusion of birth control in basic health coverage. The Catholic Church feels they have a right to force you to follow their religion. How about that as religious freedom?