By Glenn Beck
I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but today, I call myself a Catholic. Why? Because the state is telling the Catholic Church to violate its principles and teachings. So if you are a person of faith, you must call yourself a Catholic.
Today, the Catholic Church is defending a historic American freedom. We tend to forget that many of America’s earliest European settlers were religious refugees. Europe was not a kind place to the faithful if the state didn’t approve: Jews in Spain, Puritans in England, Protestants in France and so on. You were cast out, or worse.
Our Founding Fathers remembered this. They knew if you can’t serve God as you choose, you are not free. And so they enshrined that right in the First Amendment of the Constitution: The state “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
This is why Americans are offended by the ruling from the White House that would force church-run institutions to pay for birth control and morning-after pills, which are tantamount to abortion. The so-called compromise is no compromise – under government-approved health insurance plans that the church pays for, abortifacients would be covered. Sin by proxy – that’s the compromise.
This isn’t a fight over abortion or birth control. This is about whether the state can force someone to pay to have their religious beliefs violated.
Many people – including those who use contraception and abortion – respect those whose faith teaches them that God wants them to do or not do certain things. They recognize such faith in themselves. Some people don’t drink alcohol. Some don’t eat pork. Some people wear a hijab. Some work in soup kitchens. Some tithe 10 percent of their income. All because God tells them to.
That is what a conscience is – a belief in a higher power, greater than the state, greater than any man. That makes religious people a danger to the state – and a powerful force for change. Religious people stood against slavery. They stood against injustice. And today, they stand against a culture of death and a culture of hatred. On July 28, in Dallas, I will convene a meeting of the faithful – all faithful – to celebrate life and restore love.
Because when the state comes against the Catholics, or the Jews, or the Muslims, or the Pentecostals, or the Mormons or those of any other faith – exotic or familiar – we must all stand up as one: We are all Catholics now.
This is a broad struggle. I have met many Catholic friends, including high-ranking church leaders last weekend at the Vatican. I told them this struggle is similar to the fight against anti-Semitism. They understand, and they agree. To them, this fight is everything. And there will be no compromise.
Perhaps this is a hard line. But when it comes to the separation of church and state, we need absolutes. The state needs to be free from the church, and the church from the state. The state has no right to say how much religion any American can practice. It’s our right, and it is the first one our Founding Fathers protected.
By 10:55 PM ET, 02/19/2012|