This clip was an interesting exchange which took place on the Chris Matthews program yesterday between Matthews and a Catholic bishop. The interview’s original intent was to talk about Rep. Patrick Kennedy being denied communion because of his support of abortion rights, but the discussion actually ended up being more about Church and State–moral law and civil law, and what the church’s position should be.
The last few minutes, starting around 7:00 into the clip, is worth watching…
(Chris Matthews) “you’ve gone into the area of law-making and condemned the behavior of public officials who have to write public policy. Going back to what John Kennedy said concerning the separation of church and state, the difference between rendering unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s, which is the law, and rendering to the flock (*the church) what is right and wrong. And I would contest, that your problem is you haven’t gotten people to obey your moral code through teaching, and so now you’ve resorted to using the law to do your enforcement for you..”
The last part of the above quote is true, “your problem is you haven’t gotten people to obey your moral code through teaching, and so now you’ve resorted to using the law to do your enforcement for you” —
Matthews may have stated this concerning the Catholic church, but its true concerning Evangelicals in America as well.
You may not see this as I did–but it was as though a light went on when hearing Matthews make that statement; for it explains the reason for the countless number of so-called “Christian” activist groups today, groups signing public “declarations”, calling for civil disobedience, etc.
Its because that part of the Church in America has no other recourse but to seek to change people (and morality issues) by changing civil laws. They no longer possess a message by which real change would come about. They lost the ability to reach people and bring about lasting change, because they left off teaching Christ and him crucified–the gospel. So now, as was stated, their only recourse is to use government (civil laws) to enforce morality.
And in the end, it will never work.