Saturday 28th May 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Satan Comes To Oklahoma

February 20, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

No, the title of this article is not a reference to a Charlie Daniels song. That was The Devil Comes Down to Georgia, a whimsical song about a Georgia musician and the Devil competing on the fiddle, in the same vein as the Stephen Vincent Benèt’s short story, “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” and nothing to get concerned about. What I am referring to is an actual proposal from a New York-based group of Satanists to build a seven-foot-high statue of Baphomet, the goat-head pagan idol representing the Devil, on the grounds of the state capitol in Oklahoma.
Most commentators are taking the proposal to be a publicity stunt by the New York Satanists, one that even the Satanists think will go nowhere. Which well may be the case. The Oklahoma legislature has been ignoring the proposal as if it is not worthy of a response. For which the Oklahoma lawmakers deserve praise.
But I am not convinced that the Satanists will not take this at least a step further to make their point, perhaps by initiating a formal request for equal protection under the law under the First Amendment. You know how the wording would go: “Oklahoma has a memorial of the Ten Commandments on the capitol grounds. The state is supposed to be neutral about matters of religion. Christianity and Judaism cannot be given preferential treatment.”
It is the argument that has succeeded in getting Nativity scenes and crosses removed from public grounds all over the country; and resulted in public schools prohibiting Christmas songs at their “winter assemblies.” It is why the taxpayers have to pay for sex-change operations for prisoners and Wiccan chaplains on military bases; why same-sex marriages are on their way to becoming the law of the land. It is all rooted in the proposition that Christian beliefs cannot be made part of the law or public policy. If the Ten Commandments are permitted, why should the Satanists be excluded?
Because Satan is evil? They have an answer for that. They’ll tell us that is only one interpretation of Satan, and one definition of evil. Who says it should be imposed on everyone? Because the Ten Commandments represent the broad moral consensus of the American people and Devil-worship does not? They’ll shoot back that what makes America special is the manner in which we protect minority rights, including minority religious beliefs. Muslims are a minority and we have public recognition of Ramadan these days. African-Americans are a minority and we celebrate Kwanzaa in our schools. Why do you Christians feel threatened by the thought that some of your fellow citizens worship the Devil? They are likely to be some of your neighbors. Blah, blah, blah….
Unfortunately, we can no longer shrug and say, “Blah, blah, blah” in response to these matters, unless we are willing to have Christianity driven completely from the public square. There has to be a way of saying that there is nothing wrong with Christianity being recognized in public as the core religious belief of the great mass of the American people; that doing that would be as American as apple pie.
Do I think there is a way of doing that? Maybe not. Maybe that horse has left the barn. But there was a time not that long ago when it was broadly accepted that the public recognition of Christianity was something good for the country. There was a reason why there were the so-called “blue laws” in most of the states of the union. When I was a boy, in the middle years of the 20th century, supermarkets and large stores were closed on Sundays; alcoholic beverages could not be sold in the local delis until after noon.
Beyond that, major league baseball games had to end before dark because the lights were not permitted on Sundays. Censorship and obscenity laws were seen as essential elements of a healthy society. Porn was sold “under the counter” or delivered by mail in “plain brown wrappers.” The Christian understanding of sexual propriety was the law of the land. No one blinked an eye when FDR joined Winston Churchill to sing Onward Christian Soldiers on the British battleship The Prince of Wales during World War II. There was a Nativity scene on virtually every American public green during the Christmas season.
How did all that prevail? Didn’t Americans know about the First Amendment until the last decades of the 20th century? They did, but their understanding of it was different from the ACLU’s and the anchors at MSNBC. More important, their understanding was the understanding of the Founding Fathers. The intention of the Founding Fathers when they wrote the First Amendment was to permit the various Christian churches in the newly formed country to go about the business of shaping a Christian society as vigorously as they could, by assuring them that no one Christian church would be made the established church with the power to stand in their way.
How do I know that? Because you will find that none of the Founding Fathers were aghast at the blue laws, obscenity laws, and public expressions of Christianity mentioned above. Indeed, several of the states continued to give recognition to one Protestant denomination or another as the established church of that state after the Constitution was ratified, without a peep of protest out of the Founding Fathers.
Willmoore Kendall, one of the giants of the early days of the conservative movement, is worth reading on this topic, especially his analysis of the work of Richard Weaver. (It can be found in the anthology Willmoore Kendall Contra Mundum on pages 388-402.) Kendall begins by conceding that the Constitution does not contain the religious references so prominent in the Declaration of Independence, the references to “Nature’s God” and the “unalienable rights” conferred upon us by our “Creator.” He concedes the Constitution is “agnostic” on these religious matters.
But, Kendall insists, that is because the Founding Fathers expected the Christian churches in the newly created country to deal with the “kind of ‘people,’ or ‘society’ we are going to be.” The Constitution did not have to do it. The Founders relied upon the premise that “we the people” would “be virtuous.” And why would they expect that? Kendall is convinced that Weaver intuited correctly that the Founders expected a “select minority” of cultural and religious leaders, outside of government, to “assume responsibility for the people’s culture, in which virtue must be rooted,” teaching Americans “those lessons that the people must learn if they are to operate in a society in which a sound and healthy culture is possible.” Specifically, these leaders “must teach” Americans “the correctness of the Christian picture of man.”
The goal was for American society “to keep alive within itself, and develop in the people, ‘historical memory,’ i.e., knowledge of their own traditions — lest, in ignorance of them, they forget like madmen, what and who they are.” And, I would add, go off with straight faces contemplating the appropriateness of erecting statues to Satan at their state capitols.
One can’t prove Kendall’s thesis, of course. A tacit understanding is tacit. The Founding Fathers did not speak specifically to this “understanding” of how America would remain a Christian society with the First Amendment in place. But if Kendall is correct, and I am convinced he is, the Founding Fathers felt no need to speak openly on this vision of America or to enunciate it in the law of the land. They took it for granted that Christian beliefs were central to how Americans defined themselves in their personal and societal lives. They saw no more need to state it explicitly in the law than they felt it necessary to give constitutional recognition to decency, fair play, kindness, compassion, and love of one’s neighbor.
They understood that a society is not defined solely by its constitution; that a society’s key beliefs are expressed in an equally important manner in its local pieties, its customs and traditions, its literature and folklore, its prejudices (properly understood), and its religious beliefs. They would have thought it a clumsy satire written by a college sophomore if someone suggested putting up a statue of Satan on public grounds.
They would have greeted it with a horselaugh; or perhaps by running to get some tar and feathers.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

34% of “Pro-Choice” Women Who See This Viral Video Turn Against Abortion

A new four-minute viral video is causing over a third — 34 percent — of “pro-choice” women surveyed to view abortion “less favorably.” And 28 percent of pro-choice women who watched the video stated there should be more restrictions on…Continue Reading

‘Biblically wrong’: Oklahoma lawmakers urge Obama’s impeachment over transgender bathrooms

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced legislation calling for President Barack Obama to be impeached because of his administration’s support for transgender bathrooms. Another bill calls for a declaration of emergency in the state. In a measure called Senate Concurrent Resolution…Continue Reading

Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions

Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. This sweeping measure, which opponents described as unconstitutional and unprecedented, now heads to…Continue Reading

Unanimous Win for Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet…Continue Reading

Conservatives outraged over Obama transgender directive to public schools

The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds — drew swift and strong condemnation from conservatives, with one public official blasting it as presidential “blackmail.” The administration’s directive…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 31 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm…Continue Reading

ACLU launches campaign to strip Catholic hospitals of federal funds

NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic hospitals across the U.S. are “withholding emergency care” and denying “essential health services,” the ACLU is alleging in a new campaign. They also inflict harm on “transgender and gender-non-conforming patients” “when seeking…Continue Reading

Harvard Law Professor Says Pro-Life Christians Should be Treated Like Nazis

Every day, it seems, the United States is becoming a more hostile environment for people with pro-life and conservative positions. Abortion activists constantly challenge pro-life laws, stall abortion industry investigations, force religious objectors to pay for abortions and attack life-affirming…Continue Reading

Obama plans new push for transgender rights in schools

The divisive and politically combustible issue of bathroom access for transgender individuals is about to become further inflamed, as the Obama administration is expected in coming weeks to aggressively reinforce its position that transgender student rights are fully protected under…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian,…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .      

Today . . .

Planned Parenthood sponsors bill to make it illegal to record and post undercover footage

A bill making its way through the California State Assembly, sponsored by Planned Parenthood, seeks to make it a crime to publish conversations with certain health care providers, notably those associated with abortion facilities. California has already squashed the rights of pro-life pregnancy centers, demanding they offer abortion as an option to their clients, despite their pro-life mission. Now, Planned Parenthood and CA Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez think it’s a fine idea to prosecute someone from posting a “photo…Continue Reading

South Carolina governor signs ban on abortion for babies who feel pain

CHARLESTON, May 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – South Carolina has joined 13 other states that forbid abortions to be performed on unborn children capable of feeling pain. As expected, Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Wednesday. The law restricts abortion to the first 19 weeks of pregnancy. “South Carolina took a courageous stand to protect women’s health and safety in limiting abortion at a point at which the risks…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Perseverance in prayer needed, but not “magic wand”

pope908

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said “prayer is not a magic wand.” He was speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope was discussing the Parable of the Unjust Judge – also known as the Parable of the Persistent Widow – from the Gospel of Luke. In the parable, the persistence of a widow forces the unjust judge to grant her request for justice, “so that she will not eventually…Continue Reading

Catholic College Presidents Hopeful for Resolution in HHS Mandate Challenge

The presidents of two Catholic colleges involved in the U.S.Supreme Court challenges to the HHS mandate applauded the Court’s recent decision to vacate all lower court rulings and expressed their hope that a positive resolution for religious freedom would soon be reached. “I am pleased that Supreme Court has offered us a way forward which doesn’t require us to participate in the provision of the services which

Pope Francis: Christians live God’s love with joy, astonishment

(Vatican Radio) No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse. The Pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope. The Pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness. Christians live in joy and amazement because…Continue Reading

Rocky Homilies

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., serves at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Greensboro, N.C.) + + + The Holy Father’s admonition in Amoris Laetitia that priests must understand that the moral law should not be thrown at people as if it were so many stones (n.…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… A Procession To The Ends Of The Earth

By JAMES MONTI Several weeks ago, after attending the Easter Vigil at a nearby seminary, and the emptied chapel had fallen silent, I began to hear the sound of the sacring bell being rung in the sacristy. Puzzled by this, I wondered whether the seminarians were perhaps trying to repair the bell. But then from…Continue Reading

Is Scarborough Shoal Worth A War?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight. Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.” And what is Scarborough Shoal? A cluster of rocks…Continue Reading

Cicero In An Election Year

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY In the midst of the turmoil that characterized the mid-decades of the last century, the English jurist Sir Patrick Devlin wrote, “If a society’s laws are based on a particular worldview and that worldview collapses, the laws themselves will crumble.” His 1965 book, The Enforcement of Morals, is still worth reading…Continue Reading

Eastern Orthodoxy And The Particular Judgment

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In previous articles (The Wanderer, July 3, 2014; June 25, 2015), it was observed that: “Perhaps to the surprise of some Catholic ecumenists, Catholic doctrine regarding the Particular Judgment remains obscure, confused, or even denied among the Eastern Orthodox. They have no clear official teaching that the just go to Heaven immediately…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Church’s Liturgy — Who Celebrates?

By DON FIER There is an ancient Latin saying in the Church that eloquently expresses what her members believe of the efficacy of the sacraments and their relationship to faith: lex orandi, lex credendi (“the law of prayer is the law of faith”). Each of the seven sacraments, as we saw last week, can be classified in various categories. Yet…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. My husband and I are wondering when to say the “Amen” after the Lord’s prayer is prayed during Mass. I believe “Amen” should be said after we say “deliver us from evil.” — J.W., Georgia. A. Although it is correct to say “Amen” at the end of the Our Father while saying it outside of Mass, for example, while…Continue Reading

God’s Prophet

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Tenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 1 Kings 17:17-24 Gal. 1:11-14a, 15a, c, 16a, 17, 19 Luke 7:11-17 In the first reading today we hear about the death of the son of a widow with whom the Prophet Elijah stayed when he was passing through that region. The woman had been very good to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Mueller Reminds The Church Of Her Marriage Doctrine

By MAIKE HICKSON Part 2 (Editor’s Note: We are publishing this commentary from Gerhard Cardinal Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as reported by Maike Hickson, in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue. (OnePeterFive graciously gave The Wanderer reprint permission for this article. All rights reserved. See: www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-muller-reminds-church-marriage-doctrine/. (Dr. Hickson, born…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Exercises

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The way the human body physically works can teach us something about virtue and the way God’s grace works spiritually for each of us: We must use it to grow it. As I reminded our Life Teens and their families at Mass recently, if they slack off on physical exercise during the summer, come fall…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Crispin Of Viterbo

By CAROLE BRESLIN In March 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of the Vine (Oak) located in Tuscany, Italy, to proclaim our Lady patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo. The tradition of visiting the image of Our Lady of the Oak began 600 years ago in 1417 when Mastro Baptist Magnano Iuzzante commissioned an image…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading