Thursday, December 6, 2007

ACLU, the State and the Catholic

"This man was punished for insisting on the right to practice Catholicism and refusing conversion to the Pentecostal faith." -- Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director
Now, today is the feast of St. Nicholas, he whose heart was so great that he ransomed his gold to help the desperate. I am a christian, I believe christianity should influence society and government. I do not trust everyone who says they are christian, nor every such christian to influence society and government; and there is a difference between influence and control. There are frauds, charlatans and hypocrites, for sure, to be wary of, but there are also the overzealous, aggressively evangelizing bigots to be wary of.

I read of this case earlier and it received little notice, I saw today there was a small blurb on the AP religious notes. A small bit of justice recognized but nothing yet compensated, but, perhaps, a positive precedent.
Judge: Pentecostal center infringed on man's religious freedom

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge ruled that a Pentecostal social service program interfered with a Roman Catholic man's religious freedom by trying to convince him to leave his church.

Joseph Hanas said that pastor Dwight Rottiers and the Inner City Christian Outreach Center in Flint took away his rosary and prayer book, and kept him from his family and lawyer, while he was trying to complete court-ordered drug abuse treatment.

The judge issued the ruling Nov. 30 and is expected to award Hanas monetary damages. Rottiers' lawyer, Michael Gildner, would not comment.
What the little article doesn't mention is that the original judge, Genesee County's Robert Ransom, took Hanas out of the program and sent him to regular jail and then to a boot camp and four years of probation, all which have been served. This began in 2001. It would be interesting to know more about Ransom.

There has been a movement for years, beginning with supporters of Reagan and is still ongoing, for such evangelical power. These people are wont to use the code "faith based", they are not like traditional catholic charities or some other christian charities that want to feed and clothe the hungry and the naked. Their primary concern is their growth in numbers and eventually in power, their charitable concern is only a means to the end. In the true christian conscience the intent of the action is more important than the consequence and the ends never justify the means. It is better to have the agents of government laïcized or "secular" than "faith based".

At one time the Catholic League took note of this case, but I don't know if they followed up. Hanas, in his little way, made the choice of Saint Thomas More and other catholic heroes of the past. He held to his faith, the one true faith as he believed, he held out against the coercive tactics of another faith and that of the state. I have not seen, heard or read of anyone from the church speak in his behalf. Joseph has done what we all are called to do.

Hanas was arrested for possession of marijuana and then alcohol. The state would have forgave this if he abandoned Catholicism and became a pentecostalist, one of the endless myriad of protestant sects. The ACLU may not be friendly with the Catholic church, but the ACLU believes, and is willing to defend its continued existence and the right of individuals to remain catholic. The ACLU believes in the Constitution, and especially the first amendment.

No comments: