Ringing a Bell for Liberty


National Review

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ABSTRACTRinging a Bell for Liberty - Interview - National Review Online Get FREE NRO Newsletters   Log In   |   Register Follow Us Everywhere         April 16 Issue  Subscribe to NR  Renew  April 16 Issue   |   Subscribe   |   Renew Home The Corner The Agenda Campaign Spot The Home Front Right Field Bench Memos The Feed Media Blog Critical Condition Larry Kudlow David Calling Exchequer Phi Beta Cons Planet Gore UK Between the Covers Radio Derb Tweet Tracker NR / Digital Subscribe: NR Subscribe: NR / Digital Give: NR / Digital NR Renewals & Changes Shop! Donate Media Kit Contact Costa: Rick Santorum’s Long Goodbye Editors: The Emperor Has No Plan Capretta: Unsubstantiated Budget Attacks, the Sequel Ponnuru: The Impropriety of Obamacare Interview: Peace Is the Word Fund: President Petulant Loyola: The EPA Abuses First, Apologizes Later Epstein: Cue the Boys of Summer 2012 Goldberg: Romney’s Savior Tanner: Conservatives and the Courts Sowell: Political Word Games Malkin: The Democrats’ Election Forgery Racket Zubrin: Carbon Emissions Are Good Derbyshire: March Diary Costa: The Ron Johnson Factor Hanson: Iran’s Win, Win, Win Bomb Habeeb: Too Young to Die Sowell: Argument from Disparity Charen: Violence and Family Breakdown Fonte: Saving Sovereignty New on NRO . . . Close To: Your Email: Your Name: Subject: April 2, 2012 4:00 A.M. Ringing a Bell for Liberty A wake-up call for Catholics An NRO Interview Archive Latest E-Mail RSS Send Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia Print Text   Comments 18   ‘N othing guarantees that America’s experiment in religious freedom, as we traditionally know it, will survive here in the United States, let alone serve as a model for other countries in the future,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia writes in the new e-book, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America . “The Constitution is a great achievement in ordered liberty. But it’s just another elegant scrap of paper unless people keep it alive with their convictions and lived witness,” he continues. Archbishop Chaput talks to National Review Online ’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about the threats to and future of religious freedom in the U.S. KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ : So are we about to fall like Rome did? Advertisement ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT : People make history, and each human life is unique, so history never really repeats itself. Comparisons with Rome can be tempting, but they’re also pretty melodramatic. What’s true is that every great nation rises until the weight of its own success begins to pull it down. I think it’s revealing that America’s “greatest generation” — the men and women who survived the Great Depression and fought the Second World War — gave birth to one of the most self-absorbed generations in American history, my own. LOPEZ : John Courtney Murray said that America’s “most striking characteristic is its profound materialism” and that it had “gained a continent and lost its own soul.” Is America anywhere near as awful now as Murray thought we were decades ago? CHAPUT : Murray wrote those words in 1940 — before network television and a hundred other consumer distractions. Are we more or less materialist as a culture? People can draw their own conclusions. LOPEZ : Your concern about religious liberty in America runs much deeper than the HHS-mandate debate. How important is this one regulation, and how do you see it playing out? If you’re compelled by the Gospel to provide charity, to do good works, etc., you’re going to continue to do them, state penalty or not, aren’t you? Or will you simply have to shut down hospitals and charities? CHAPUT : The mandate debate has serious implications. Shutting down services is very much a possibility if the circumstances require it. We can’t violate what we believe as Catholics in order to do good works as Catholics. That doesn’t make any sense. LOPEZ : Is there an element of anti-Catholicism driving the mandate and its supporters? CHAPUT : There’s clearly an indifference to religious liberty. LOPEZ : What about the fact that so many Catholics — however many — use contraception and are advocates of legal abortion in their political lives? CHAPUT : That’s the wrong question. Plenty of self-described Catholics also commit adultery and cheat on their taxes. That doesn’t make them right, and it doesn’t make their behaviors “Catholic.” The central issue in the HHS-mandate debate isn’t contraception. Casting the struggle as a birth-control fight is just a shrewd form of dishonesty. The central issue in the HHS debate is religious liberty. The government doesn’t have the right to force religious believers and institutions to.......