Saturday, February 11, 2012

Protestantism: No Moral Bark in the HHS Mandate Debate

Why the Protestant teaching of "Faith Alone" is Dangerous Ground.

Summary: Protestants can only argue the Constitutional side of the HHS Contraception Debate; they have no moral integrity to argue the moral side or what they have taught verbally, and practiced for decades

Here's the simple explanation of why Obama-Pelosi-Sebelius-and-Progressives (OPSP) think they are not violating Christian principles by mandating free contraception to all Americans.

They believe -- literally -- what Protestants have taught, that salvation is by FAITH ALONE (Sola Fide). While Protestants technically refer to Faith Alone in the concept of initial justification, it sounds to the ill-informed that it is the bedrock of Christian life -- that Christian principles are acts of the mind and not of the body.

Sola Fide became the banner cry of Protestants in objection to what they falsely believed was the teaching of Catholicism (that we are saved only through and by our works). Catholicism never taught that, but because of some misled bishops and at least one pope at the time of Luther and Calvin, the political emphasis was in the "works" direction. That caused Luther to rebel, something the Catholic Church does not fault him for. Calvin was a different sort. See footnote [1].

Now, most Protestants do not practice what they preach. They preach "Faith Alone" but they don't practice it. Out of their love for Christ they do good works. Plenty of them. They will argue that their "faith" informs their "life" or daily behavior.

This distinction between faith and works is an important distinction in the current political debate about OPSP's mandate for free contraception to all Americans.  The mandate's philosophy (and thus the philosophy of OPSP, is that Christianity is a "faith only" proposition. That is, it only exists in the mind. In other words, OPSP believe what Protestants have been saying out loud since the founding of the country: Our faith is what we do mentally, not what we do outwardly.

So, it is logical to OPSP that mandating a "work" should have no impact on the Christian "faith" -- because Christians are really just "faith alone" -- their religion is one of the mind -- it's just a psychological state -- a mental trick -- and it really has no effect on the physical realm -- or works.  To OPSP Christianity is a private matter -- what you do in your home or church -- and it should have no place in the physical, material realm. They ask, "Isn't that what faith alone means?"

But OPSP cannot say that to the "practicing" and "knowledgeable" Catholic [2], who have consistently taught that faith informs the works that we do. Catholicism has always taught that faith and works are inseparable -- two sides of the same coin. And that is why in the current debate it is Catholicism that leads the charge against the OPSP attack. Only the the Catholic Church has the moral integrity to do so. Protestants can only argue the Constitutional side of the issue; they have no moral integrity to argue the moral side or what they have taught verbally, and practiced for decades with regard to contraception, which leads logically to "faith alone" -- that religion is just a mental act (faith alone) and that contraception is morally okay.

See also my post on Humanae Vitae 17.

[Footnote 1] What upset Luther doesn't explain the other Protestant rebellions against the Church, e.g., Calvin's or Henry VIII's lust for power. Calvin's thirst was for spiritual control, Henry VIII's was for political control.

[Footnote 2] There are really very few "practicing" and "knowledgeable" American Catholics. Most have been Protestantized. Kathleen Sibelius, in fact, baptized a Catholic is now denied communion because of her political practice of supporting abortion and contraception. Catholic bloggers think Pelosi will soon be excommunicated since she has repeatedly fulfilled the canonical requirements of such an action over her support for abortion and contraception and other progressive, immoral policies. But, when the bishops get up the backbone to do what the Church requires, is another thing. 

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