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20 April 2012

Texas Faith: Catholic Bishops and Civil Disobedience

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How far should people of faith go in resisting laws they consider immoral. Eleven Texas Faith panelists weigh in. Here is one:

By Mike Ghouse

Indeed, the religious liberty of Catholics is under attack. If a compromise is not reached and the proposed law is not acceptable to the people, we have to challenge it and go all the way to the Supreme Court to check the constitutionality of it. If not that, we need to get Congress to work on rectifying it.

As Americans we have to stand up for the rights of fellow citizens who are Catholic. Why should anyone stand up for us, if we are not willing to do the same for others? On February 27, on Hannity Radio, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist convention and I, a Muslim, joined in supporting the rights of Catholics.

Unlike the monarchies, dictatorships and communist forms of government, where the rulers decide what is good for the subjects, we the people decide what is good for us.

We are a nation of laws, and our systems are well equipped to handle injustice and the unlawful laws, but are nonchalant towards valuing civil disobedience. The dissipation of the Occupy Movement is indicative of our attitudes.

Civil disobedience worked for Mahatma Gandhi and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., because of immorality of the laws of the time. And it would work again if the Supreme Court were unwilling to consider the plea and Congress was not willing to fix it.

The Supreme Court has done well in checking the legality of the issues and has knocked out the popular sentimental California and Oklahoma propositions in the interest of justice.

The coerciveness of the government occurs when we the people are not collectively represented in the pursuit of our happiness. And it is our failure, rather than the failure of our government, to ignore the checks and balances built into our system.

Every American must feel a sense of security, safety and freedom. It is in our long-term interest to build a cohesive America, with liberty and justice for all.

[Mike Ghouse is President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor.]

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