Imagine the Obama administration jailing Catholic Bishops for civil disobedience.
This, from Catholic.org:
"We're Catholics before we're Democrats. We're Catholics before we're Republicans. We're even Catholics before we're Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us.... and this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries"
This line from Archbishop Chaput's video interview with the Catholic News Service prompted one reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer to call a publicist to ask, "Has he EVER said this before?" The implication of the reporter's query, and his tone of voice, suggested that he was surprised and shocked that the Archbishop of Philadelphia would say such a thing.
Off the top of our heads, we wonder if the reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer -- yes, Philadelphia! -- remembered reading the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) as a schoolboy:
"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 quote the Declaration's first full paragraph not to be pedantic, but to remind the reporter, and anyone else who needs it, that the entire justification for the creation of the United States was based upon our prior relationship to God. In other words, before any identity we may have belonging to a nation or a political party, we are a creature of God, subject to His laws and the beneficiary of the inherent dignity and rights He bestowed upon us.
Was Archbishop Chaput predicting the future in the interview when he concluded, "This has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries"? We know it has crossed his mind: At Chester Springs, he said, but only half-jokingly, "I don't want to go to jail."
If the election affirms the Obama administration's HHS mandate, there is a 100 percent chance that there will be civil disobedience in the Catholic Church, led by its bishops. Whether jail will follow is anyone's guess.
This is not a new concept, nor one created by old white men in the republican party. It was in fact written by a young black man, Martin Luther King, Jr., while in the Birmingham jail:
"One may want to ask: 'How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?' The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"