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Five reasons why America’s moral consensus has collapsed

For five decades fundamental moral values have been sidelined by economics and politics

By on Friday, 27 January 2012

Michael Voris: The courts and the legal system reflect the views of secular liberals

Michael Voris: The courts and the legal system reflect the views of secular liberals

There is uproar in the US right now. Political blogger Sheila Liaugminas reports that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Obama administration has announced that it will be mandatory for all employers to provide their employees with health insurance policies for contraceptive services, including sterilisation and drugs that are abortifacient.

This means that hundreds of religious colleges, hospitals, school and charities will now be required to provide insurance coverage for their employees for practices they believe to be wrong and which are contrary to their beliefs.

The Obama administration refuses to exempt religious institutions from this mandate, only offering a one-year delay in some cases. It could have allowed the traditional exemption clause – a ‘conscience clause’ – for religious organisations but has refused to do so. Catholic relief services and charities alone employ 70,000 people. If Notre Dame University were to drop its insurance coverage for its 5,229 employees the penalty that the HHS would impose would amount to $10 million a year. As Liaugminas points out, the irony is that Kathleen Sebelius, secretary to the HHS, is a Catholic; so is Joe Biden, the Vice-President.

All this, albeit on a much bigger scale, sounds eerily familiar. Remember the fight the Catholic adoption agencies had in this country against same-sex adoption during Tony Blair’s premiership? The agencies either closed down or, more usually, caved in. So what is now happening in America does not come as a surprise. What is surprising though is the size and variety of the protests against the HHS mandate; it has united liberal and conservative Catholics, people of other faiths and people of no faith at all, as they realise that a fundamental tenet of the American constitution – freedom of conscience in religion – is being deliberately overthrown.

Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV.com offers an interesting commentary on this current battle in the US. He asks what has brought about the collapse of more than two hundred years of a Christian moral consensus and gives five reasons:

Conservative Americans have for decades been more concerned with politics and economics rather than with defending fundamental moral values.

From the 1960s onwards the entertainment media, rather than family, school, parish or church, became the arbiter and shaper of public views and attitudes.

The courts and the legal system have gradually reflected the views of the new liberal and secular electorate.

Conservatives tend to comply with the law rather than rebel against it; they obey rather than protest.

Finally, Voris notes, Christians of all denominations have gradually abandoned traditional moral teaching. Contraception has become completely acceptable in the Protestant churches and in the Catholic Church her wise warning about the separation of sex from procreation has been largely ignored by the Catholic faithful. In America we now see the result; what Christians chose to regard simply and casually as a matter of individual choice is now, in the workplace and in the relationship between employer and employee, being forced on them by law.

All this reminds one of an obvious truth: if we are not permanently vigilant in defence of our fundamental beliefs, they will be swept away from under our feet.

  • geoffreysmith1

    American Catholics should be made aware that, if they vote for Obama in the forthcoming presidential election, they are in effect excommunicating themselves.
    They cannot serve both God and mammon.

  • Peter

    They would be doing exactly the same thing, in your view, if they voted Republican.  Abstaining from voting would be all they can do?

  • GFFM

    The decline of the moral consensus amongst Catholics in the US has been presided over by a weak and conciliatory hierarchy and clergy. The failure on the part of the bishops to teach and promulgate Catholic sexual morality has lead us to this point. And they continue to lag behind. The laity cannot do it all alone. The frustration with the bishops on the part of faithful lay people in the US is at an all time high. The episcopate is behind the times almost on every front: contraception, abortion, the meaning of marriage, end of life issues, embryonic stem cells and on and on. However, what you will frequently see is statements from the USCCB on immigration, nuclear weapons. The latest intrusion into fundamental conscience rights by Health and Human Services has been coming for a long time. The USCCB has still said nothing in response. Individual bishops may have. Even Roger Mahoney has said in this blog that he couldn’t imagine a worse intrusion into one’s private conscience. State Catholic conferences working with the United State Catholic Conference needs to take this through the courts to the Supreme Court and the bishops should be at the forefront of fighting on this front. However, I am not going to hold my breath and neither should my fellow Catholics.

  • Anonymous

    That depends on who wins the Republican nomination from the primaries.
    If Gingrich wins, they should vote for him – or for Santorum, if he gets lucky in spite of the odds against him.  If Romney wins, or Paul, the Catholics should abstain en masse.

  • Larry Linn

    Social commentator and former alter-boy George Carlin sums it up, “Think
    about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man
    living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And
    the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.
    And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and
    smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and
    suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of
    time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs
    money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just
    can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes,
    and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bull*** story.
    Holy S***!”

  • Anonymous

    The State of Georgia is about to issue a ruling wherein Obama won’t be placed in ballot in the forthcoming presidential election because he has been found to be not a “natural  born citizen” according to the US Constitution.  (go to http://www.conservativeactionalerts.com/2012/01/georgia-judge-orders-obama-off-the-ballot/)

    There will be various States (hopefully all of the 50 States) who will follow the precedent, hopefully, because this is the most effective way to gety this pretender POTUS out of office.

    Geoffreysmith1 states it correctly that a vote for Obama sets oneself excommunicated (ipso facto/latae sententiaec– by the fact, automatically).

  • Alban

    Never mind Obama, whenever I hear or see messrs Gingrich, Romney or Santorum (all accompanied by their Barbie dolls) on radio or television I just wonder what American politics are coming to. They are all just sick, sick, sick.

  • Anonymous

    Who is George Carlin, as though I am in the least little bit interested in this drivel that you attribute to him?

  • Lefty048

    and you vote for gingrich and the three wives you are being a good catholic?

  • geoffreysmith1

    Gingrich has been received into the Catholic Church.  Presumably his marital disorder has now been resolved to the Church’s satisfaction.  You must not judge him on what is now history, but on how he practises – or fails to practise – his faith.

  • geoffreysmith1

    “They are all just sick, sick, sick.”

    Not much different from our lot, then!

  • Deesis

    Certainly American Catholics cannot vote for a Mormon who pillages companies, does ‘not pay a fair tax rate. They cannot vote for a public adulterer who is unable to control his desires. Also who decieves the electorate while being a highly paid lobbyist.
    The American electoral system is flawed. It is the party who should choose a leader. The system they have is expensive and slow.

  • Deesis

    Sounds like a Mormon!  

  • Anonymous

    Geoffrey-curious as to why you think a vote for Ron Paul would require Catholics to “abstain en masse”? What exactly is Ron Paul saying that is so contrary to the Catholic Faith? 

  • Anonymous

    We, as Catholics, are not obliged to vote for only Catholics. We are obliged to vote for who best defends the dignity of human life. We have only to look at the current administration (VP Biden, sec of HHS Sebillius) to see that a vote for a Catholic is certainly not always a vote for the good of society. 

  • theroadmaster

    It seems that now certain Catholic bishops have discovered a steeliness that is coming through in their speeches and written articles against recent legislation enacted by the Obama regime.  Let us hope that it is not too late for them to start a nationwide movement within the US to halt these serious breaches of the liberty for religions to worship as guaranteed with the articles of the American Constitution.  The creeping encroachment of a secular/atheistic inspired Statism  upon fundamental religious beliefs, is threatening to prevent members of all Faith communities from acting according to the very values upon which their lives have been based.  A professionally-run and focused campaign involving all religions is the necessary response to these very worrying developments

  • Larry Linn

    No, George Carlin was a realist.

  • Larry Linn

    If you do not know whom George Carlin is, you are pathetic.

  • geoffreysmith1

    On the principle that half a loaf is better than no bread at all, Catholic Republicans should vote for either Gingrich or Santorum.  Neither is perfect, but certainly an improvement on what Romney or Paul can offer us.

  • geoffreysmith1

    It is, of course, a moot point whether Biden and Sebelius can be considered to be Catholics.
    Sure, they call themselves Catholics, like JFK and his brothers, but actions speak louder than words, right?

  • geoffreysmith1

    Is he anyone important?  If not, why should we take any notice of him?  He sounds just like another bigot to me, even worse than that nutjob, Hitchens, and he was bad enough.

  • geoffreysmith1

    “The American electoral system is flawed. It is the party who should choose a leader.”

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t it only registered Republicans who can vote for the GOP candidates in the primaries?  Democrats are not allowed?
    In that sense, the party DOES choose its leader who will oppose the other candidates in the presidential election.

  • Anonymous

    Crackpot birther alert. 

  • Anonymous

    My five reasons:

    1. Desegregation

    2. The end of “Protestant America”

    3. Multiculturalism

    4. The flourishing of the sciences in the US

    5. The growth of  the media

    Also:
    the trauma of losing in Vietnam.
    Did I mention the end of earlier restraints on conduct ?
    The rise of Fundamentalist Christianity
    Tribalism
    The swing to the right in politics

    Christianity is a crisis-faith – it grew from a sense of impending crisis, and it flourishes best during crises. Prosperity rots its fibre & corrupts & enervates it; &, a totally God-centred faith is not likely to appeal to people who feel no need for God & don’t see why there has to be one.

    Was there a “moral consensus” in the first place ? STM it depend whose consensus is meant. There was not much consensus between different groups like the KKK & blacks before desegregation. THer was – and still is – lively hatred of Catholicism by Protestants, and little love for Protestants by Catholics.

    A good book on the reasons for the breakdown in US Catholicism (with many remarks relevant to the US as a whole) is this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Catholics+in+Crisis%3F%3A+The+Church+Confronts+Contemporary+Issues&x=10&y=17

  • Anonymous

    He was a very funny, very irreverent, often unfair (that’s to be expected) 
    stand-up comedian, with an often savage (and deadly accurate) sense of humour.

    Here’s a sample of him:

    On global warning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGOBm2J4tn0&feature=related

    On religion and God: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo

    The nearest the UK has to him is Pat Condell (he’s another ex-Catholic atheist).

    Carlin’s delivery is essential to the humour of what he said – the joke doesn’t come across if it has to be read. Equally, he won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

  • Anonymous

    Actions speak louder than words; but that has never been a principle of the CC’s understanding of Church membership. It makes the perpetuity & visibility of the Church depend on virtue – and that is a fatal error, as it reduces the Church to a “congregation of the pure” – the temptation of Donatism & other errors. It opens the way to the danger of prideful self-exaltation over “those sinful people over there” – and spiritual
    pride is the very worst sin of all.

    Biden & Sebelius & a host of others are Catholics unless & until they have been excommunicated. Whether one approves of their acts is irrelevant. Serial rapists, murderers and traitors, if baptised
    Catholics, remain Catholics, regardless of their conduct. Ethics matter in Catholicism – but not in *that* way. What complicates matters is that not all moral failures incur excommunication – even though all are (ultimately) sinful in nature, and therefore “come short of the glory of God”. To be a *perfectly* faithful Catholic is impossible; everyone fails to one degree or another & is to that extent not faithful. Our model is *not* the “faithful Catholics” we know of, but Christ, no one less. To make the standard of Communion in the Church the behaviour of our fellows, all of them sinners as truly as we are, is to secularise the Church by cutting it loose from Christ & making it a mere earthly club.

    ISTM that the self-description “devout Catholic” for people who are often no such thing – if their behaviour is any guide – has contributed to these confusions and errors; as has the moralisation of language. Catholics who claim to be devout, but whose conduct shows how lacking in holiness they really are, are certainly Catholics; but practicing Catholics – not devout ones. Devout people are the last to call themselves devout; it’s the scabby sheep in the flock, those of us who are no more Christlike than we should be, who are likely to be blind enough to imagine we are devout. As V2 points out, there are degrees of communion in the Church – that does not make the communion of the least edifying members *less real* than that of the Saints – the communion of *all members* is communion in Christ .

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SJBFWYQUMAMZ7J3FMM7YLUVHWI Maggie

    Let’s identify the players: 

    George Carlin was a fallen-away bitter Catholic who became an atheist, also a very talented comedian who made money selling his angry atheism Michael Voris is an Opus Dei Numerary who’s agenda is to create suspicion and disaffection among Catholics from their Diocesan Bishops…and make money doing it.The Republican and Democratic parties are two faces of the same behind-the-scenes operators who already decided who will be the next POTUS.  The “issues” are orchestrated distractions for the populace.  

  • Anonymous

    I mentioned them because, of the four candidates currently seeking the Republican nomination, you seem to think either Gingrich or Santorum are the only acceptable choices for a Catholic. 

    Both Gingrich and Santorum are Catholic, and I wondered what it is that makes Gingrich a better choice over Ron Paul?I can find nothing in Paul’s positions that would/should prevent Catholics from voting for him. I’m interested to hear what exactly it is about him that you think would do so? 

  • Anonymous

    Just saying.  The grossest and most shameless fraud ever perpetuated is what this bogus POTUS has done. PT Barnum couldn’t even have dreamed this himself but there’s a sucker born every minute, just like you.  And people like you are making him get away with it.  Take the log off your eyes and see the damage wrought in our beloved country, now to the point of bankruptcy, loss of face to the world (what POTUS bows to Saudi Kings or Japanese Emperors — they are not God).

  • Anonymous

    Actually, even excommunicated Catholics are still Catholics.  While their communion with the CHurch is gravely impaired, they are still obliged to attend Mass. They cannot, however, receive the Eucharist or have an active role in the liturgy until their excommunication is resolved.

  • Anonymous

    Gravely impaired – not destroyed: the theological reality odf communion with Christ cannot be destroyed by ecclesiastical sanctions. Otherwise, an unjust sentence would be valid before God. Which would mean that Joan of Arc was, as the trial of her found, a heretic. IOW – no Saint. 

  • Anonymous

    “…you seem to think either Gingrich or Santorum are the only acceptable choices for a Catholic”

    No, not acceptable; preferable. 

    Gingrich won SC by a vote of 40%.  Ron Paul?  Nowhere.  Even Santorum polled better, thanks to the Protestant majority in that state.  I think that should tell you something about Paul’s policies; they are unacceptable to Christians in general, not just Catholics.

  • Anonymous

    By that logic, we should prefer Obama since he polled better and won the elections. After all, many Catholics and Protestants voted for him, therefore this must tell us something about his policies being acceptable to Christians?

    Is this the sole basis of your reasoning that Paul’s policies are unacceptable to Catholics and other Christians? 

  • http://profiles.google.com/lordhowardhurts Lord Howard Hurts

    I have watched the display of Republican candidates, without a Moral Compass, over and over, to complete distastefulness, and yet few of our citizens see the folly and disgrace that they present. Only one candidate, thus dismissed, had shown any potential leadership ability and authority, but alas,Michele Bachmann quit. So I give to you, citizens of this great nation, the only words that I can summon in an attempt to rally the minds of Patriots:
    “La Pucelle”

    We stand on a precipice overlooking the valley of a dead Constitution. A Constitution predicated on the belief in Free Will and of Human Freedom……….. yet we make no sacrifice towards salvation. We rant and rave about soldiering up, but no leader comes forward. The pretenders beat their breast, and the vile spittle, endlessly, emits from their frothing mouths, but no muscle is exerted in the defense of this Constitution, and the greatest experiment in human Freedom that history has ever known. Where is our Joan of Arc? We have Harvard educated pretenders and cowards attending our leadership roles, but where is our simple little shepherd girl? Has the Divine turned it’s back on our plight? Are our cries only being heard by the passing winds? Surely, in the midst of all this corruption, and deception, that surrounds us, one virgin should be found……. to lead us from this dire darkness of social slavery that “sweet destiny” continues pushing us towards; Leading this once great nation into a “New Dark Age”.  The Men of this nation are cowards, so somewhere, yea, Joan of Arc, hear our calls on the winds; Seeking ears to hear; that will bring forth life to this nation. “La Pucelle”. Ride forth to take command of this decaying nation, and its shameful military. We will look for your banner……….”Jesus-Mary”;  And “La Pucelle,” we will follow.
    Lord Howard Hurts  freedomfiles.blogspot.com

  • geoffreysmith1

    We are talking about the Republican candidates, aren’t we?  If Obama polled better than 40%, that’s because most Democrat voters liked his policies.  Whether they still like them is very debatable.
    The fact remains, however, that Paul is doing badly in the GOP primaries and is showing no sign of recovery.  The Christians of SC rejected him in favour of Gingrich.

  • geoffreysmith1

    Just as I suspected. Nobody important.  Just a fool with a big opinion of himself.

  • Anonymous

    I was commenting on the logic  of your argument. 

    The fact that Christians vote for someone in one state and not another should not be the determining factor of whether not a candidate’s policies are truly Christian.

    My reference to Barack Obama was to point out the fact that he won 54 percent of the Catholic vote. Yes. Fifty-four percent!

    I believe you should look into Ron Paul and base your decision on his policies and not on what you feel other Christians think. It takes time, yes, but we have a responsibility to investigate the candidates personally rather than relying on such, franky, unreliable information such as the whims of voters. (Again, 54%! Can you believe it?) 

  • Anonymous

    Realistically, Paul will be announcing his ‘suspension’ of his campaign for the Republican nomination after the Florida primary.  Whether some Catholics find his policies acceptable or not will take second place to their ultimate choice, which I believe will be Gingrich. 

  • Therese

    Michael Voris is absolutely right.
    The Bishops for the last 40 years/ and the clergy following their lead- have been silent on the topics regarding sexual morality. During my life time- born in mid 1960s, weak, weak Catechisis heavy on ‘”social justice, peace, and tolerance, help the poor.”.. same the majority of the sermons from the pulpit.
    little  ever said about Abortion but at least a little on respect life sunday, even less said about contraception being a sin and thy WHY it is a sin, unilateral forcing Divorce upon your spouse in low conflict marriage just because one spouse decides they want to search for their “soul” mate so they make the selfish choice to abandon spouse and often children,  ,( no abuse, or danger to self  rare percent of cases ) according to Church teachings, to scripture- yes this is a grave sin, little to no talk of why co-habitating is sin ( and statisticly leads to a higher rate of divorce amoung couples who first co-habitate than those who don’t  before marriage.) Euthanasia – sin – it is murder.; nothing ever said about  sexually actively living a homosexual lifestyle is  described by the Catholic church as being  gravely disordered and a mortal sin. not to have the same sex attraction issue.  But to choose to  Act upon it sexually is.
    So now that Divorce is rampant amoung Catholics at a rate equal to the general non -believing public,
     where 90 somepercent of those calling themselves Catholic use contraception at some point in their life,   Where even in many Archdioscese there are so called- Catholic “gay support ministries” for those in the lifestyle as well as for the parents/siblings/family members- Groups that are actually HOSTILE  to actual Church teachings on the subject.
    In my Archdiocese of Los Angeles California- the largest in the United States – there is not one vatican approved support group – Encourage-for us parents of those who are currently in that homosexual lifestyle/or have that inclination.  only these other groups like “Fortunate Families, Always Our Children, Dignity”. all with nice inclusive accepting sounding names but which if you look at their websites your will see that they demand that the Church CHANGE and allow for so called same -sex marriage, and allow co-habitating long term gay couples to be able to receive the sacraments of eucharist just like as if they were not in a state of grave sin, which of course they are as long as they are sexually active outside of sacramental marriage.
    These problems did not happen overnight.
    the conservatives were used to complying with laws, but as laws regarding the  family changed no one spoke up and rebelled.
    Its time to rebel and fight for the Truth.

  • Kennyinliverpool

    Michael Voris is mostly crazy and doesn’t really understand Catholic moral philosophy — turning Catholicism into a legalistic religion sort of misses the point entirely. People leave Catholicism because they think it’s just a series of rules and regulations – and they rarely experience the person of Jesus Christ as a result – … which is obviously problematic for a church seeking to bring the Gospel to the world.
    - Of course lay people should engage in the media and bring the central beliefs to people – and most Catholic are lapsed – but who can afford to have 10 children these days? Especially when having 2 appears to be completely unaffordable … even my Catholic grandmother who went to Mass everyday and was one of 9 children only had 3 kids … because she grew up on the breadline and didn’t want to have to undergo the same traumatic experiences herself. I would struggle to call her a non-Catholic?
    Anyway – the Church often throws about idea that the beliefs of the faithful to some extent guides the development of doctrine – this argument is most notably used in the defence of Marian doctrines and purgatory and yet the same is not happening with contraception … which seems really inconsistent.
    The reality is that more and more people will leave the church is they are not allowed to control when they can have kids … maybe people want a ‘purer’ church … okay – well then be prepared to sell off 90% of the churches …. ?

  • geoffreysmith1

    “People leave Catholicism because they think it’s just a series of rules and regulations – …”

    Nonsense.  People leave the Catholic Church because they are seduced by the secular environment to accept behaviour that is degrading and immoral – such as abortion, contraception, cohabitation and ‘assisted suicide’.  Such people prefer to live like a species of animal rather than the redeemed who have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ.

  • geoffreysmith1

    “The grossest and most shameless fraud ever perpetuated is what this bogus POTUS has done.”

    We don’t seem to have heard any more about that ‘birth cerificate’ that was given to the media some months ago, ‘proving’ that Obama is an American citizen.  How did he manage to squirm his way out of what is transparently a complete and utter forgery?

  • Lefty048

    like playing the race card in the south carolina primary.  where are the bishops then?

  • Lefty048

    you need help . psychiatric help.  i hope you get it.

  • Anonymous

    Obama eligibility challenges spread to 6 states
    Decision in Georgia case expected soon, but ballot concerns going viral

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/01/obama-eligibility-challenges-spread-to-6-states/

  • Anonymous

     Changed your tack, I see!  You goofed with Gingrich’s marital adventures, so now you accuse him of “playing the race card”.  What next, I wonder?

  • Bart_0117

    Michael Voris firstly does not portray Catholicism as a legalistic religion; whilst his language is unadulterated to say the least, I am yet to see him supporting anything as heretical as contraception that you seem so keen on. The Church is not about being “pure”; the Church is about saving people. Clearly your catechist is the one to blame, not you.

  • Rosemary

    Excellent reply ForsythiaTheMariner!  Many thanks.

  • Grassbaron

    In the late 1980′s the San Francisco Chronicle chose to place an article about “America losing it’s moral consensus” well into the obscure part of it’s midweek issue of the newspaper. Had that choice been mine I would have given it front page headlining in large font print above the fold. The consistent trendline downward and away from morality in the U.S. was being measured by use of a survey initiated in the 1930′s by Harvard. The moral forces which welded America into it’s existence were in effect for epochal eras prior to 1776 – and, by 1989 – this was under the 50 percentile for the first time to become measurably demonstrated since. That was when I realized that a probable inevitability was afoot. This article is spot-on about this same cultural emanation and the sole avenue that might develop a long term reversal cannot be found anywhere other than from within the Christain church systems. This country was brought about by it’s prior eons of Christianity and it will take the same base repeated to return it to it’s former self – and that requires a comprehensive level of pro-activity hard to identify today. The only disagreement I have with this author is that we have to be “permanently vigilant in defence of our fundamental beliefs.” I would rather see that read as “permanently pro-actively offensive in a vigilance of spreading our fundamental beliefs.”
    No entity I know of can “sit and maintain” without accepting an erosion or a decay. This is a maxim of bottom-line truth in the business world and the same (to expect success) must be accepted by those concerned with the spritual and the ethical universe. Period.            .