By David Beilstein
YESTERDAY, the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, offered numerous opportunities for viewers to witness the consequence of progressive ideology within American media.
U.S. mainstream media in large measure did their best fright-wig impersonation when it came to a discussion of the direction of dogmatic teachings of the Roman See after Pope Francis I’s election.
I saw it coming. Soon as white smoke started billowing from the Sistine Chapel. Progressives on MSNBC, frothing at the mouth, kept wishing, hoping, and praying, newly chosen Pope Francis I would consolidate and “reform” Church teachings out of step with popular culture in regards to homosexual marriage and other issues of modernity.
All this, of course, despite the idea Church teaching is not ideological—but theological, in nature.
One had only to wait seconds before progressive commentators offered the irrelevant persiflage that large swaths of American Catholics would be disappointed in the choice of Pope Francis I because of former Cardinal Bergoglio’s conservative fealty to Roman Catholic dogma on moral issues.
Who cares what American’s like or don’t like. Us Americans, sadly, are in the process of freely dismantling the very structures that empowered the rise of our republic at a dizzying speed.
Secondly, is not the point of organised religion inherently to kindle submission—of some type? As in, a man or woman once absent from Roman Catholic convictions, chooses to submit to the rule of faith they have come to believe to be true? Conversion means something, because words have meaning.
Likewise, Religion would be meaningless if whatever was popular in culture and society—what whims the non-religious, and non-pious venerate—be the rulebook for the religiously minded.
I acknowledge my protest of the Roman Catholic Church on theological grounds. But what is interesting about the election of a new Supreme Pontiff over the Roman See is how it allows interesting dialogue between things Sacred, and things secular, in our time.
Yesterday’s papal conclave was a crisp illustration of progressivism’s need to dismantle Edmund Burke’s “islands of separation” than any made-up analogy could offer.
Religion, true or false, is one of societies islands of separation—for its interests usurp what progressives desire government to be—the state as all-encompassing organism. Religion values much that weakens statist power. And the interest of religion challenges the notion of state as mother, father, and companion.
Since Woodrow Wilson attained the presidency in 1912, the progressive ideal has been to marry individual’s interests to the state—a schema, precisely opposite the teaching of Holy Scripture. Since religion seeks a place above and outside state sanction, it becomes an island of separation, which must be brought into “coordination” with the values of the ruling class.
But 18th century liberalism challenged such ideas. The free society the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to protect was one where islands of separation were to be protected. Burke’s concept of separated islands—individuals figuring out their own destinies—was preciously what the framer’s desired to protect.
Mainstream media progressives kvetching yesterday about Roman Catholics dogma unpopular with some, evinces how illiberal progressivism is in our tabescent hour.
Radically illiberal, and worse, wholly antithetical to any idea of diversity.
This has always been progressivism’s great error. As in—progressive ideology cannot allow large swaths of people believing different things; holding to different behavior norms, because it impedes the mission and purposes of the state when mere plebeians are not all rowing in the same direction.
Such individuality retards “progress” in the statist’s world-view.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
But what the late Mr Burke’s islands of separation enhances, glimpsed inherently in the Bill of Rights, is the conservation and animation of the purposes and values of individuals over the state—which in turn, encompassed the entire point of the U.S. Constitution.
Put simply: the right to be convinced of Presbyterian or Roman Catholic or Lutheran dogma—as well as other religious and non-religious convictions—is a check on state power and helps confine state duties to limited boundaries.
The great conservation project of the U.S. Constitution—which happens to be the law of these United States—is not the whimsical opinions of men and their “progressing” perfect society—but instead, (and quite beautifully), the conservation of individual liberty.