Craig R. Kelso

Friday, December 13, 2013

Catholic Church, Constitution, Fundamentalists, Atheists, and Tradition

I was recently watching a discussion/debate between a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, and an atheist on Fox News.  They were discussing whether or not Satanic groups should be allowed to erect structures next to a display of the 10 Commandments at an Oklahoma City public building.  It appeared to me that the atheist was actually winning the argument because he had the Constitution on his side (First Amendment - separation of church and state, etc).

It occurred to me, that fundamentalist Christians (Protestants) and atheists have something in common: neither group takes tradition into account. Protestants believe the Bible alone is the only source of revelation or truth (sola scriptura). They deny Sacred Tradition, which is one of three sources of truth (Bible, Tradition, and Magisterium) in the Catholic faith. The Bible came out of Tradition, not the other way around. And, an individual interpretation of the Bible may be erroneous, so the Magisterium is necessary in order to avoid heresy (this is analogous to needing a Supreme Court that interprets the Constitution).

Atheists, and others, interpret the Constitution in much the same way; they deny that the Constitution came out of a Judeo-Christian tradition. For example, God/Creator is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence  (When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.).  Were the Founding Fathers referring to a good and just God or an evil god? Atheists believe that, since God is not mentioned in the Constitution,  Judeo-Christian tradition does not need to be considered when making public policy decisions.
The Founding Fathers may have made a mistake in not mentioning God in the Constitution, but it would have been hard for them to even imagine the sort of humanistic secularism that is becoming prevalent in the U. S. these days. Do we need to add an amendment to the Constitution that states that the Nation's laws are based on the morality that stems from a good and just God/Creator so that we can avoid the kind of foolishness that atheists support? Or, are the members of the Supreme Court going to get their heads out of their butts and acknowledge that the Nation's laws really do stem from the morality of a Judeo-Christian tradition and make decisions that reflect this truth?