Home / Andrew Ratelle / The Priority of Religious Liberty

 

“And There Shall Be None to Make Him Afraid”.

These days, the words of the prophet Micah would be an odd fit in a presidential address. With a large segment of society standing by with their slings and arrows of “establishment clause” and “separation of church and state” at the ready lest any politician or statesman appear too attached to his religious convictions, lines from the Bible can be difficult to get by within a setting apart from the pulpit on a Sunday morning.

But once upon a time, it wasn’t so difficult. At the very dawn of his administration, that icon of the American presidency, George Washington, addressed the Hebrews of Newport, Rhode Island, with such just words. “There shall be none to make him afraid,” the new president wrote, assuring that each man “shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree” and “continue to merit and enjoy the good will” of the citizens of a newly-founded nation.[1]

The letter, of course, was received by a people who had grown used to oppression and persecution, even in the New World. Under British control, the Jews of Rhode Island alone were denied both the vote and naturalization, while religious minorities like the Quakers, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics received similar treatment throughout much of colonial America.

But this was to be a new beginning. After an eight-year war and the deaths of many of his own men, Washington was eager to communicate to the newly-formed American public that this nation would strive to be free from the flaws of the old. The government of these new United States would be a body that “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance,” and require only “that they who live under its support demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”[2]

To put it another way, in this brave new reorganization of civil society, the state would be made for man, not man for the state. Rights and liberties were things the people enforced against the government as a way of describing its just limits, while it was the government’s duty in turn to defend and ensure the free exercise of those rights.

Foremost among these was the freedom to worship. It wasn’t by accident that Washington tried so hard to communicate the priority of religious liberty to the Jewish and other faith-based congregations of the new America. He himself admitted that it was the establishment of just such a liberty that “induced [him] onto the field of battle” in 1775.[3] The stakes of the American War for Independence were raised over more than just taxes and legislative representation. It was a war fought ultimately over rights—the ability of the people to put limits on the state in order to prevent the state putting limits on the people. Or so it was in the minds of a few.

But Washington wasn’t necessarily alone in his convictions. James Madison, the so-called “Father of the Constitution,” had similar leanings when it came to the centrality of religious liberty. He believed that man’s duty to God transcended his duty to the State, making him free by right to discharge that duty apart from force or coercion. Madison argued that “the Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.”[4]

Bold words from a future president. With language like this, it’s hard to imagine James Madison intended an individual’s freedom of religion to extend only to his freedom to go to church on Sundays. The “public/private sphere” distinction that’s tossed around by pundits these days as a kind of natural extension of the “separation of church and state” is nowhere to be found.

Rather, it is the inherent inalienability of these rights over the dictates of the government that is the focus of much of the concern. As what one owes to God supersedes what one owes to the State, it is apparent to Madison that religious duty “is precedent both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.”[5]

Penned by the hand of the Father of the Constitution himself, these lines may be the closest Jefferson’s notion of “separation of church and state” came to being written into the supreme law of the land. A much underplayed reality of this arrangement between church and state is that it was designed chiefly to protect the church from the state rather than the other way around. The duty to one existing beyond the grasp of the other, religion must “be exempt from the authority of the Society at large” (especially the lawmaking portion).[6] Madison notes that “the preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people.”[7]

This treatment of the issue leaves Jefferson’s concept of a “wall of separation” fairly well preserved, provided that its height, width, and shape aren’t determined by the government. Built to keep the state out and the rights of the people intact, it’s a barrier whose foundation rests on the belief that the government’s power can only extend so far. Separate because they are unequal (at least in the minds of the founders), church and state played two distinct roles in the maintenance of a liberal society, ensuring that the power that kept the people free from both foreign and domestic threats to their liberty would not turn into just as deadly a threat itself.

With this kind of a backdrop to the framing of the new constitution, Washington’s reassurance to the Jews of Newport comes off less like an attempt to court political favor and more like a promise he had every intention of keeping. Religious freedom and toleration would no longer be seen as a mere dispensation to be granted by the state “as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights,”[8] but as something the people held of their own accord for the protection of their own, hard-won liberties. Far more than the ability to freely bend one’s knee to whatever gods they recognize a handful of times a week, man’s freedom of religion is an everlasting sign that he is subject to more than a mere temporal power, functioning as both the first and last line of defense against the encroachment of an unjust government.


End Notes

[1]. George Washington, Letter to the Jews of Newport. August 18, 1790. Available at http://www.tourosynagogue.org/index.php/history-learning/gw-letter.

[2]. Ibid.

[3]. Michael and Jana Novak, Washington’s God. Basic Books, 2006.

[4]. Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, 1785. Available at http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/madison_m&r_1785.html.

[5]. Ibid.

[6]. Ibid.

[7]. Ibid.

[8]. Letter to the Jews of Newport.

 

About the author: Andrew J. Ratelle

 

Andrew Ratelle received his B.A. in English and Philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and is currently pursuing his J.D. at the same. His articles have appeared in Gilbert Magazine and The Art of Manliness.

 

Recent posts in Andrew Ratelle

 

14 Comments

  1. Pope Gregory XVI called it an “insanity” that “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society.” Bl. Pope Pius IX explains in Quanta Cura:

    For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of “naturalism,” as they call it, dare to teach that “the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.” And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that “that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.” From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an “insanity,” viz., that “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.” But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching “liberty of perdition;” and that “if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling.”

  2. Pingback: SUNDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  3. If the Founders truly believed “man’s duty to God transcended his duties to the State,” and “what one owes to God supersedes what one owes to the State” (and I think they did), why did they not state these convictions explicitly in the Constitution? Even if these ideas would have been explicitly stated, connecting them to the God of Christianity was certainly and intentionally avoided. Not connecting liberty to ultimate truth, I think, has proven fatal 200+ years later as we evolve into an ever-more secular atheistic nation — all the while, apparently, without ever literally violating our founding documents. An alien reading our Declaration would see Enlightenment-influenced 18th century deism, not Christianity, (not even Protestant Christianity from which deism originated). They’d hardly find even deism in the Constitution.

    Apparently, everything from abortion to a federal takeover of healthcare is perfectly Constitutional. Apparently, everything from prohibiting certain speech to prohibiting certain genuine religious expression is perfectly Constitutional. Apparently, controlling what one eats to controlling what one thinks is perfectly Constitutional. Are these just the consequences of living in a “free” society? Does liberty always leave open the potential for tyranny? Or does liberty need to be tied to something greater than itself to be enduring?

    A few more semi-rhetorical questions and I’ll leave you alone:

    Why, if America’s founding documents were so solidly based in real liberty, are Americans losing liberties on a daily basis?
    Why, if America’s founding documents were so solidly religious, are God-fearing, God-trusting, God-serving Americans living in an ever-more anti-religious, secular and atheistic nation?
    Why, if America’s founding documents were so solidly Christian, are Christian Americans and Christian institutions losing religious liberty?
    Why, if America’s founding documents were so solidly based in freedom and independence, are freedom-loving, 21st century Americans on the brink of needing a new Declaration of Independence?
    A very important Something, it seems, was intentionally eschewed in the writing of our Constitution.

  4. Mr.Rattelle
    I believe the founders did indeed allow for religious liberty, but only so long as it did not conflict with the common good. As MT stated there is no intrinsically Christian morality tied to the constitution. This has caused our society to devolve to the point where Christian morality is no longer considered by many, maybe even the majority, beneficial to the common good, and many christian doctrines are now being outlawed due to this. It is my belief that the fly in the constitutional ointment is the lack of proclaiming Christ the King.

  5. MT and Ken appear to misunderstand the nature and purpose of America’s original state documents. For example, MT states: “If the Founders truly believed “man’s duty to God transcended his duties to the State,” and “what one owes to God supersedes what one owes to the State” (and I think they did), why did they not state these convictions explicitly in the Constitution?” The answer to this question is that the Constitution is a technical document whose purpose is to define and limit the powers of the new federal government. For example, the federal government is prohibited from establishing a religion (such as an official state recognized and supported denomination as found in England). Nonetheless, the individual States were left free to establish a religion if they so chose. That fact is merely consistent with the tradition of the original colonies, which were sectarian.

    Ultimately, each State voted against an established church or denomination.

    The new federal government was created for a people who, for the most part, were moral and religious. As John Adams stated: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” By the same token, no legal document, even a constitution, can keep a people moral and religious. To expect otherwise is to misunderstand the nature and limits of civil government.

    Ken states that “there is no intrinsically Christian morality tied to the constitution.” This is not true. America’s founding document is the Declaration of Independence which espouses the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. Whatever Deistic views were held by the authors of the Declaration, the predominant interpretation of the Declaration during the Founding Era was along Christian lines. That is, Natural Law Jurisprudence was the jurisprudence of the time. Furthermore, the Bible was understood to contain all of Natural Law. Also, according to the prevailing legal practice for the next almost 100 years, under natural law jurisprudence, the Constitution was never to be interpreted apart from the Declaration of Independence. One only needs to confer to early American court cases for verification of the fact.

    However, once the interpretation of the Constitution was separated from the principles of the Declaration, and natural law jurisprudence replaced with the new philosophy of law called Legal Positivism, especially under the influence of jurist and legal philosopher, Hans Kelsen, things began to fall apart quickly. The federal government no longer restrained itself to its authorized limits in regard to powers. Neither did the federal government concern itself with original intent and meanings of the Constitution.

  6. Thank you Mr. Yonan for your response. I believe it is true the predominant interpretation of the Founding documents during the founding Era was along Christian lines. However, I believe it was intentionally left open ended. In the Federalist papers Madison explicitly states that the in order to preserve popular sovereignty faction must be increased. His belief was no transcendent truth should be imposed for he believed as Locke “that every man is orthodox to himself”. Madison did not want to rely on “Virtuous Statesmen” or “Ultimate Truth”, but on numerous factions keeping everything balanced. This line of thinking is most likely true of all the Deists among the founders. The First Amendment is meant to protect the state from religion, not religion from state.
    Without explicitly naming Jesus Christ, and instead calling on Natures God, Deism was allowed a foothold along with Christianity, or any other belief or non belief system. Things may have started disintegrating more rapidly after Keslen, though I believe stage was set for this at the beginning.

  7. @ Ken: You made a number of “assumptions” about American history. Assumptions are not evidence or proof. Your statement “I believe it was intentionally left open ended” is mere speculation lacking supporting evidence.

    Regarding James Madison, his views are scattered amongst a number of writings, and to understand him one must read the various sources rather than narrowly focus on a few statement. I can easily demonstrate the inaccuracy of your representation of Madison with numerous quotes from his works. For example, Madison desired that all public officials declare openly and publicly their Christian beliefs and testimony:

    “I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.” (Letter of Madison to William Bradford (September 25, 1773)

    Also, Madison was a member of the committee that authored the 1776 Virginia Bill of Rights and approved of its clause declaring that:

    “It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” (Madison on the Committee on May 16, 1776; the “Declaration of Rights” passed June 12, 1776)

    Next, you state “This line of thinking is most likely true of all the Deists among the founders” in reference to un-named Deists who supposedly “do not want to rely on “Virtuous Statesmen” or “Ultimate Truth””. Really? Where did you get that idea? Apparently, you have not read much from the relevant deists in the Founding Era. But I’ll leave this one for now and move on to what appears to be your most historically erroneous statement.

    That would be your statement “The First Amendment is meant to protect the state from religion, not religion from state.” No one who has studied the debated of the Constitutional Convention would make such a statement. Also, the real intent of Establishment Clause is further seen in Jefferson’s correspondence with the Danbury Baptists. From these two sources, and there are many more, one can see that you have flipped the intention of the First Amendment on its head just as did the 20th century Supreme Court.

    The purpose of the First Amendment was merely to prohibit the federal establishment of a particular denomination. We can see this fact from the work of your “friend” Madison. Madison’s proposed wording for the First Amendment demonstrates that he opposed only the establishment of a federal denomination, not public religious activities. Madison proposed,

    “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.”

    Though Madison was not responsible for the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, the sense of Madison’s proposal closely reflects the sense of the final wording that was adopted. It was the view of Founders and Framers of the Constitution that religion would and must influence public policy, while there would be no federal establishment of any particular denomination.

    Three more facts about Madison:

    (1) In 1789, Madison served on the Congressional committee which authorized, approved, and selected paid Congressional chaplains.

    (2) 1812, President Madison signed a federal bill which economically aided a Bible Society in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible.

    (3) Throughout his Presidency Madison endorsed public and official religious expressions by issuing several proclamations for national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving.

    Lastly, you state “Deism was allowed a foothold”, and you seem to think that it is specifically because of the wording “Nature’s God” in the Declaration. You are welcome to show cause and effect, i.e. from the words “Nature’s God” resulted such and such situation. Without evidence for cause and effect your statement smacks of mere assumption. Also, factor in that 29 of the Founding Fathers had divinity degrees.

    Certainly, there were Deists in early America along with Christians. And there were false ideas from the Enlightenment Era along with Christian ideas. But historical truth lies in proportion, seeing what are the significant causes, what are the effects, and “when” do significant events take place. Some people see evil Deists lurking under every other early American shrub. But I doubt the terrain was quite that infested. There was a rise of ambitious men, dangerous to the new Republic, soon after its founding, but for the most part they were not promoting Deism. Peace.
    Peace.

  8. I think I understand the nature and purpose of America’s original state documents. My point (while admittedly employing some very unfair Monday-morning quarterbacking), is that from a truly Christian (i.e. Catholic) perspective, those documents were flawed. Had I been a Founder, I think I’d have designed the nation as they did, and I had once thought their design to be the closest thing to perfection yet devised in a nation’s founding. But as I observe the present moral and political failings of our nation, I have begun to question the Founding, and I’m wondering if those flaws, (one major one in particular), are connected to our present, perilous fall from grace.

    I’ve never doubted that many, perhaps the majority, of our Founders were deeply and genuinely Christian, but I no longer believe, based on the evidence, that America was founded as a “Christian nation.” No matter what deeply-held Christian beliefs some Founders possessed or expressed in personal or political documents, and no matter when or who separated the Declaration from the Constitution, the fact remains that America is not based, literally, in Christian principles. This deliberate act of making the Constitution a secular document has resulted all manner of violations of Christian truth that prevail today.

    The 18th century Christianity of the Founders was a product of Enlightenment notions based in individualism and rationalism borne of the Reformation. The flawed Christianity of the intellectual ruling elite of 18th century America has evolved into the growing Godless secularism of the intellectual ruling elite of 21st century America. The deistic wording in the Declaration, while hitting on several Christian truths, cannot be called Christian while excluding Christ (let alone the Fullness of Christian Faith). 18th century deism was just one stage along the road from Reformation Protestantism to modern atheism. Yesterday’s ruling elite deists are today’s ruling elite atheists — and neither violate anything fundamentally, Constitutionally, American. America is evolving into atheistic secularism, and is enshrining as Constitutional numerous and varied metaphysical falsehoods, because the Enlightenment-influenced Christianity of our Founders disallowed mentioning Christ in our original state documents. Constitutional America is inevitably becoming ever-more Godless, because it is written in our country’s DNA.

    While every human endeavor has within it the seeds of its own destruction, (we are fallen beings, after all), we should learn from the flaws of our Founding. Perhaps a constitution along the lines of the new Hungarian constitution will prove a more permanent keeper of liberty. While the Founders were genuinely hoping for a lasting liberty, doing so apart from truth, the Truth that makes us free, has proven to be a fatal blow to real liberty. It’s at least one explanation for why America has “progressed” from a nation founded in liberty, to a nation that is losing liberties, questioning self-evident truths, and restricting unalienable rights each and every day.

  9. There is no need for a litany of our current evils, of which most of us are painfully aware. Furthermore, without sound historical evidence of cause and effect, to blame our current crisis on the founding documents is to commit the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    I do not maintain that the founding documents were perfect, as nothing man made can be. However, the authors of the Declaration did not merely “hit on several Christian truths”. The Founders disagreed on much, but were nearly unanimous concerning biblical morality. It is incorrect to characterize the Declaration as a Deistic document. I say this while being very well aware of the revolutionary doctrines of natural rights espoused by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Whatever influence they had, the traditional doctrine of Natural Law prevailed in the Founding Era.

    There was no need to make the Constitution, a technical document by purpose, into an overtly religious document. The idea that if the Founders had expressly articulated their Christian beliefs in the Constitution, then America would not be morally and politically corrupt today is at best naive.

    I think too many Catholics take cheap shots at the Declaration as being non-Christian and deistic, without ever having studied its drafts or the mountains of original documents proving America was specifically founded as a Christian nation.

    Many atheists have a predilection for arguing that America was not founded as a Christian nation. Their arguments are based on hand-picking select quotes. They love to selectively quote Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and a few others without understanding what import, if any, certain of their personal views had on American history. I have never found among the atheists or secular humanists, an historically justified argument. They espouse the weaker, sophistical argument.

    Still, just how America became what it is today, does notably involve the influence of false ideas from the Enlightenment Era, such as contrived theories of social contract, etc., but American history is more complex than many realize.

    The argument that blames America’s moral and political corruption on the alleged Deistic nature of the Declaration, or the secular nature of the Constitution, is not good “exegesis”. In my view, it smacks of “eisegesis”.

  10. Mr. Yonan,

    You’ve stated: “the Constitution was never meant to be read separate from the Declaration.” Can you provide proof of this? If you can, I must yet say I believe the declaration is purposefully Deist, penned by a man who I think you would agree was undisputedly so. It is also my belief that the Constitution is meant to be a morally neutral set of rules for the process of governance. Whether or no it is morally neutral is another matter. However, does it not follow then that interpreting the former in the light of the latter would not at least throw a shadow of deism on the reading given the claims of “deriving power from the consent of the governed”, and the mentioned rights being “ Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, or as Locke said “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Property”?
    One other thing I would like to ask concerning Mr. Madison’s writings to encourage the ratification of the Constitution. In Federalist #10 paragraph six we read:
    “As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.”
    Later we read:
    “It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.
    The inference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.”

    Is Madison not stating here that man’s fallen nature must be controlled by government and not led in virtue by it? Also, is he not stating that highest purpose of government to protect property rights, not to lead men in virtue? Isn’t this the Enlightenment “Social Contract Theory”?
    I sincerely welcome your response.
    Respectfully
    Ken

  11. “The Constitution is a dead letter” according to Orestes Brownson.

    Again, everyone here must read Orestes Brownson‘s “Catholicity Necessary to Sustain Popular Liberty.”

    It’s 100% related to this discussion.

  12. Alan,
    Thanks for the Brownson link. This was my first encounter with him. His conclusions can be taken one step farther. Protestantism, as observed by Catholics and secularists alike, ends in atheism. Christian principles are not fully viable when isolated from the Fullness of Faith — the Catholic Church. Only there do those principles find balance and proper ordering. When isolated from the whole of Christian truth, those principles, virtues and truths wander wildly and cause damage. The Reformation, which did shatter that balance of truth, set the Western world on the path of individualism, rationalism, deism, naturalism, scientism, relativism, secularism and atheism. Catholicism is the only bulwark against that fate.

    So many American Catholics have no notion how very Protestant their personal faith is. Individualism, more so than Liberty itself, is the American creed. It is individualism that turns liberty into license. That heresy has infected all things American, including American Catholicism. Only recently have I recognized that grave error in myself. It seems that a majority of American Catholics have accepted individualism as a universal truth. A liberty based in individualism gives license to personally define one’s faith. Once there, it’s easy to allow one’s politics to define, and ultimately trump, one’s faith. For them it is perfectly reasonable to choose whatever Catholic teaching they find acceptable, and reject whatever Catholic teaching teaching they find unacceptable. This pick-and-choose, cafeteria Catholicism, is the product of individualism which is borne of Protestantism. It elevates the individual and his “reason” above all, including the fundamental teachings of the One True Church. It is this first disordering of truth that begets all other disorder.

    Anyway, the Brownson article precedes by about 40 years another must-read book. If you haven’t read Liberalism Is A Sin (TAN books), you should. It makes Brownson’s points and more, showing that Liberalism is fundamentally based in a rejection of authority, which began on a wide scale at the Reformation. Liberalism in society, or Modernism in the Church, is, as Pope Pius X said, the synthesis of all heresies. Liberalism can endure for some time, but, since it rejects the fullness of the Truth that makes us free, it will fail to be a lasting protector of real liberty. And the Church will stand as the defender of real liberty, as attempt after attempt to replace her truth, crumbles. Or, as Chesterton said of the Church vs the heresies through history, “But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and, in my vision, the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.”

  13. I am so discouraged by this article. Religious liberty is as great a hoax as sexual liberty. It matters what God you worship. The shaman’s god likes the blood of albinos, the libertarian’s god says it’s okay to kill the unborn unwanted. No, no. There is one God, and if His Son is not at the center of the society, that society is not sustainable (Quas Primas). Don’t you realize that to have a distributist society, you must have the support of the sacraments? Or do you think we can possibly have the kind of discipline required for the majority of men of any nation to seek the common, rather than their personal, good, without the shared ethic of a religious state? No wonder my Catholic friends bristle at the mention of distributism, which otherwise ought to be our economic of choice! No wonder! You’re at the service of secularism, here in this article, and if you were successful, If you were to achieve a distributist goal, you would only strengthen this yahoo fascist state we’ve gotten for ourselves, you’d only hasten our demographic demise, our moral failure before the world, our suicidal rush toward social meltdown. We must have God, then we can fix the economics. Not the other way around. Doesn’t mean other faiths can’t find tolerance, very different from secularism. We must work for a Catholic state with distributist economics, not a fascist state with a couple of distributist projects.