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Lowman S. Henry

Lowman S. Henry

Chairman & CEO
Lincoln Institute
of Public Opinion Research

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Town Hall Commentary

Weakening Religious Foundations Goal of American Left

by Lowman S. Henry
 

It is a typical tactic of the Left and its allies in the establishment news media to prey upon a problem that may develop in the core institutions of our society, magnifying the problem with the goal of destroying or diminishing that institution.

Their current target: Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic Church. There is no doubt that the Catholic Church has an institutional problem with clergy who have abused children. It is also true the church has been slow to acknowledge and deal with the problem, although it has made great strides in that direction in recent years.

Recent revelations of abuse by clergy in Germany and Ireland have reignited the controversy. Pope Benedict XVI, who served as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in Germany and then later in the Vatican as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where abuse cases were handled, has come under unusually harsh scrutiny.

The church has admitted to having difficulty in dealing with abuse issues. But it also has been working hard to both prevent abuse and to remove pedophile priests. Church leaders understand the fact this scandal has greatly undermined its moral authority, and are seeking to highlight their efforts to deal with it. Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, speaking during Holy Week, talked about then-Cardinal Ratzinger's performance in the Vatican saying he "had a very clear line of not covering up, but clearing up" abuse cases.

It is, of course, easy years later to look back on a series of actions and pick one or two where the steps taken failed to adequately address the problem. Such Monday morning quarterbacking can, and does, occur all the time in governmental settings.

And that is precisely what we see happening here with the church. The media, particularly in America but now worldwide, loves to fixate on a scandal with the ultimate goal being to destroy the institution and/or the leader of the institution involved. Given that the Roman Catholic Church stands rock solid for moral values which many in the media find unappealing, the opportunity to "bring down" a Pope is alluring.

The real issue here is not the sex abuse scandal. The real issue is a desire by many in the media and their political allies on the Left to demonize and destroy religious institutions. The drive to turn America into a western version of a European socialist state requires this nation's strong reliance on faith to be weakened and dependence on government strengthened. Since the overwhelming majority of Americans are Christian, and millions Catholic, those seeking to strengthen government must seize any opportunity to shake the foundations of the church.

It is not lost on those in this country working to turn America into a European-style socialist society that Europe is the part of the world where the Catholic Church has seen its biggest erosion in membership. That is because socialism and religion do not mix, and as Europe became more socialist it became less religious.

President Barack Obama, who is leading this push to transform our nation into a secular socialist state, said it himself during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when referring to Pennsylvania voters, he claimed we are "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion." By clinging to faith and our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, we pose a significant roadblock to Obama's ultimate goal: government control of every facet of our lives.

The good news is that Catholics around the world have rallied to the defense of Pope Benedict XVI. They view the political attacks upon the pope as an attack upon their religion. They our right, but it is more — much more — than that, the media feeding frenzy that has developed is not only an attack upon the Catholic Church, it is an attack upon the entire Christian religion. And it is by extension an attack on our American way of life, which is built on the pillar of Christianity.

It is part of a bigger picture that seeks to change our way of life. Already the federal government has dramatically extended its influence over our health care system, our education system, our financial system and even taken control of our nation's biggest automaker. Next up is more control over the manufacturing sector via cap and trade legislation.

We are well on our way toward becoming a European-style socialist country, and the last big step is to destroy our historical reliance on the Christian religion. Thus the outcome of this battle affects not only Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church; it will dramatically affect each and every one of us.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.