Stand with the Catholics on this one

The Saline Courier Weekend - - OPINION - JIM HAR­RIS

When the United States Con­sti­tu­tion was writ­ten, some of the orig­i­nal 13 states op­posed it because it did not con­tain pro­tec­tion of in­di­vid­ual rights.

The first 10 amend­ments — known as the Bill of Rights — were added to ad­dress these con­cerns. Once that was done, the Con­sti­tu­tion was rat­i­fied by 13 of the orig­i­nal 13 states.

The rights the Found­ing Fa­thers found most im­por­tant were placed in the First Amend­ment.

It says: “Congress shall make no law re­spect­ing an es­tab­lish­ment of religion, or pro­hibit­ing the free ex­er­cise thereof; or abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the peo­ple peace­ably to as­sem­ble, and to pe­ti­tion the Gov­ern­ment for a re­dress of griev­ances.”

Thomas Jef­fer­son, who served as the third Pres­i­dent of the United States, said the First Amend­ment “clause against es­tab­lish­ment of religion by law was in­tended to erect ‘a wall of sep­a­ra­tion be­tween church and State’ . . . That wall must be kept high and im­preg­nable. We could not approve the slight­est breach.”

This is where the “wall be­tween church and state” comes from. It is not in the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Jef­fer­son hit the nail on the head when he said “We should not approve the slight­est breach.”

I am a Bap­tist so my religion does not in­clude con­fess­ing my sins to a priest.

How­ever, when I learned of a lib­eral Demo­crat try­ing to pierce that wall be­tween church and state, I thought of the words of Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pas­tor in Ger­many. He was an out­spo­ken pub­lic foe of Adolf Hitler.

He said: “First they came for the So­cial­ists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a So­cial­ist.

“Then they came for the trade union­ists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade union­ist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

While there are some ma­jor dif­fer­ences be­tween what Bap­tists and Catholics be­lieve, if the gov­ern­ment is al­lowed to de­stroy a part of one faith, it is an at­tack on all Chris­tian faiths.

Sooner or later, lib­er­als, who want to re­place the Father, Son and Holy Ghost with fed­eral, state and local gov­ern­ment, will get around to at­tack­ing my religion. I don’t want there to be no one left to speak up for me.

Cal­i­for­nia State Sen­a­tor Jerry Hill used the old line “do it for the chil­dren.” Lots of politi­cians have used this line. Hitler was one of those politi­cians.

“The law should ap­ply equally to all pro­fes­sion­als who have been des­ig­nated as man­dated re­porters of these crimes — with no ex­cep­tions, pe­riod. The ex­emp­tion for clergy only pro­tects the abuser and places chil­dren at fur­ther risk,” Hill said.

Friar Pius Pi­etrzyk, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of canon law at St. Pa­trick Sem­i­nary in Menlo Park, Calif., wrote in a re­cent op-ed piece say­ing “If this bill passes, no religion is safe.” Pi­etrzyk be­lieves Hill’s bill is “noth­ing less than an at­tempt to jail in­no­cent priests.”

“Although the priest acts as an in­stru­ment, con­fes­sion is fun­da­men­tally about the en­counter of the pen­i­tent Chris­tian with God. He ad­mits his sins to God and through the priest re­ceives God’s ab­so­lu­tion. It is a priv­i­leged mo­ment in which a per­son re­veals the deep­est part of his con­science to God,” Pi­etrzyk wrote. “There is ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve the elim­i­na­tion of the priv­i­lege would mean that per­pe­tra­tors would sim­ply not bring it to con­fes­sion.”

Hill’s anti-catholic bill would force a priest who hears in the con­fes­sional about sins re­gard­ing sex­ual abuse to make a dif­fi­cult choice.

The priest would face pos­si­ble im­pris­on­ment or vi­o­late his con­science and the laws of the Catholic Church.

Catholic teach­ings say the “seal of con­fes­sion” is in­vi­o­lable and can­not be changed by hu­man au­thor­ity. The au­thor­ity of God is higher than the au­thor­ity of man. A priest who in­ten­tion­ally vi­o­lates the seal to sub­mit to the au­thor­ity of man com­mits a mor­tal sin and in­curs an au­to­matic ex­com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Hill’s bill seeks to show the au­thor­ity of man is higher than the au­thor­ity of God.

Chris­tians of any de­nom­i­na­tion need to stand with Catholics on this is­sue because once religion-hat­ing lib­er­als poke one hole in the wall be­tween church and state, they will be back to en­large that hole to hurt all Christ-based faiths.

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