His talk primarily addressed the HHS mandate but not from the usual standpoint of how it is an attack on religious liberty. He stated forthright that he did not consider the Church's existence at risk and that She had faced far greater problems in the past. She will survive this one.
What he focused on primarily was a subject also very close to my heart, which is that the government, by these types of mandates and associated laws, seeks to annihilate or at least greatly reduce, if not render obsolete, the authority legitimately claimed by subsidiary, pre-political entities such as the family.
When my child can get sterilized, receive contraception, and have an abortion without my consent, I have lost authority over my child in a very real way. Many additional examples have made it to the press recently, such as children being prevented from working on family farms and parents being prevented from circumcising their infants. These trends point to the establishment of greater and greater authority assumed by the government over purview which legitimately belongs to the family.
One comment I made was that it is reasonable to assume that transmitting a religious faith to our children may be deemed unethical and made illegal in the not-too-distant future. Given what is already able to happen without parental consent, it is almost surprising that I still have the freedom to "indoctrinate" or "brainwash" my child into a set of beliefs and practices amounting to "my notions" of religious belief, especially since they do include issues regarding sexuality.
In Germany, it is now illegal to homeschool or to circumcise one's child. Canadian homeschoolers can no longer teach their children that homosexual acts are wrong.
Fr. Sweeney emphasized that we, the laity, need to reframe the conversation in this country to remind
I hope I am summarizing his points adequately. It reminded me of an article I found very explanatory by Yuval Levin, "The Hollow Republic". In it, he considers,
The Left’s disdain for civil society is thus driven above all not by a desire to empower the state without limit, but by a deeply held concern that the mediating institutions in society — emphatically including the family, the church, and private enterprise — are instruments of prejudice, selfishness, backwardness, and resistance to change, and that in order to establish our national life on more rational grounds, the government needs to weaken and counteract them.
The Right’s high regard for civil society, meanwhile, is driven above all not by a disdain for government but by a deeply held belief in the importance of our diverse and evolved societal forms, without which we could not hope to secure our liberty. Conservatives seek mechanisms and institutions to bring implicit social knowledge to bear on our troubles, while progressives seek the authority and power to bring explicit technical knowledge to bear on them.
Yesterday afternoon, I sent my kids outside to rake the backyard. About halfway through, they began whining and complaining; they had had the day off school and spent most of it vegetating on their rear ends. I probably would have had more sympathy if they had been in school all day.
My husband opened the back door and yelled out to them to keep working and finish up the yard, his voice almost drowned out in the sea of their complaints. I actually felt my stomach churn that some well-meaning neighbor would take issue with the situation and inform the authorities that we were forcing our children to do physical labor past the point of their comfort, and this on a school night.
Maybe that sounds paranoid. What about you? How much do you worry about the state interfering in your parenting or preventing you from transmitting your culture and faith to your children? Was I being paranoid about the raking incident?