Our Four Pillars of Participation
We affirm that there is a hierarchy, or proper ordering of rights, which begins with the first Right, the Right to Life. When there is no recognition of a preeminent right to life, there follows an erosion of the infrastructure of all human rights. Human rights do not exist in a vacuum; they are goods of the human person. Without the freedom to be born, there is no person to be the recipient of such rights.
Our failure to recognize that our first neighbors in the womb have a right to be born and live a full life in our community is foundational. Our denial of that right undermines our claim to be a truly free and compassionate society. All the talk about compassion for the poor rings hollow when we fail to hear the cry of the ones whom Teresa of Calcutta rightly called the “poorest of the poor”. It rejects our obligation in solidarity to one another.
The child in the womb is our first neighbor. Medical science confirms what our conscience has long told us. We operate upon her in the womb. We send 3 and 4D ultrasound photos of him as he grows in that first home of the whole human race. We all know the truth. These children are members of our human family. It is always and everywhere wrong to kill an innocent neighbor.
The shared knowledge of what is right is the basis for our criminal justice system. We all know it is always wrong to kill an innocent neighbor. This is true even if that neighbor lives in the first home of the whole human race, their mother’s womb. We hide voluntary abortion behind Orwellian language such as choice and abortion rights in an attempt to make it sound noble, but it is barbarism. It does not free us; it enslaves us.
Legalized abortion on demand is an open rejection of the entire ethic of being our brothers (and sisters) keeper and its implications. There can be no enduring lasting solidarity upon which to build a secure future in a culture that kills its own children and calls it a right.
All human persons have an inherent dignity, at every age and stage in life, precisely because they are created in the Image of God. That dignity continues throughout the entire spectrum of life and includes human persons ina wheelchair, an infirmary, a hospice or a prison cell. We are whole life/pro-life.
Marriage and Family
In addition to insisting upon the recognition by the State of the fundamental Human Right to Life we will stand together to defend authentic marriage as what it is, a bond between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to the gift of children and formative of family.
Marriage and family form the first vital cell of society, the first church, first school, first economy, first hospital and first government. In addition to insisting upon the recognition by the State of the fundamental Human Right to Life we will stand in solidarity to defend marriage as between one man and one woman, intended for life, and open to the gift of children.
The effort to redefine marriage out of existence threatens our future as a free, virtuous and healthy Nation. Marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation and relation. In the words of the first book of the Bible we read these words, “it is not good for man to be alone”. (Genesis 2:18)
Society begins with marriage and the family. We can only be fully human – and experience human flourishing and freedom – in relationship with one another. We are by nature – and by grace – social creatures. We pledge in our own lives to become a visible, palpable reflection of this truth about marriage and family in each of our lives and to work together to protect marriage as what it is in the civil law of this Nation.
We affirm together that marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of the universe. Marriage as between one man and one woman marriage was not somehow manufactured by the Christian Church. It precedes Christianity. Though affirmed, fulfilled and elevated by Christian teaching, it is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law.
Truth does not change, people and cultures do; sometimes for good and sometimes for evil. Marriage is the first society into which children are to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities. We must not be afraid to make the claim that children have a right to a mother and a father. They do.
Marriage is the first society into which children are to be born, learn to be fully human, grow in virtue, flourish and take their role in families and communities. We can only be fully human – and experience human flourishing and freedom – in relationship with one another. We are by nature – and by grace – social creatures. Of course we care about the single parent family and the many broken homes. However, their existence does not change the norm necessary for a stable and healthy society. In tact marriages and families are the glue of a healthy and happy social order.
To live a faithful marriage is now becoming countercultural. Our common conviction and claim concerning marriage and family is not an outdated notion of a past era but provides the path to a future of freedom. The recognition and implementation in law and public policy of the truth concerning marriage is the path to true progress. This position we take together is not about being left or right, liberal or conservative – within the contemporary politicized use of those words. It is about right and wrong. It insists upon the existence of objective truth in an age of relativism.
There is no word which echoes more passionately within the human heart than that word freedom. The United States of America was founded by men and women who experienced threats to freedom’s promise and risked everything to secure a future of true freedom, grounded.
Authentic human freedom has a moral constitution within which we must exercise our rights as individuals, families, communities and Nations. Freedom is much more than a freedom from; it is a freedom for responsible and virtuous living. The early American founders spoke of the pursuit of happiness with reference to just such an understanding of virtue as a key to living a happy life.
We reassert together that there is a moral foundation for the exercise of authentic freedom. We may be free to choose, but some choices are always and everywhere wrong. We know this is true because it is written on the human heart. It does not require religion to reveal it or to make it obligatory. It is a part of a common morality.
As Christians, we affirm that that the fullness of truth concerning what is good and true has been revealed to all who choose to embrace the Gospel – in the Person, message and mission of Jesus Christ. However, the moral norms upon which our Nation was founded are not simply ‘religious’ and they are essential to the survival of a truly free society.
Freedom will only grow and flourish when we choose what is good, respecting the truth about the human person, marriage and the family and society founded upon it and what advances the real common good. It is weakened and lost when we choose against what is true and right. In fact, it results in fracturing our common bond as a free Nation.
Religious freedom is the first freedom. It ensures that the leavening role of revealed truth helps us to form our conscience and shape the choices we make as individuals, families and as a truly society. It is also under a wholesale assault. We pledge to stand together to defend the first Freedom of Religious Freedom.
Religious faith, religious institutions and religious speech was protected by the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution for good reason. It is a fundamental human right and serves the common good. We stand together for Religious Freedom and against the growing assaults against what has long been hailed as America’s First Freedom.
Freedom is much more than a freedom from; it is a freedom for responsible and virtuous living. The early founders spoke of the pursuit of happiness with reference to just such an understanding of virtue as a key to living a happy life. Our Freedom brings with it an obligation to do what is right and to care for others.
We have an obligation in solidarity to one another and, in particular, to the poor in all of their manifestations. Poverty is not limited to economic deprivation or scarcity. We affirm together that are our brother/sister´s keeper.
The division between a morally informed approach to social thought and its economic application or international implications in public policy is a false dichotomy. The market was made for man and not man for the market. Only a moral people can ensure that a market economy remains free. In addition, we live in a broader network of international relations which obligates us to work with other nations to promote and defend the common good.
However, we also affirm together the necessity of applying the social ordering principle of subsidiarity in implementing our obligation in solidarity in both governing structures and the economic order. The American founders constructed a system which enshrined and affirmed a separation of powers and limited government for good reason to ensure that this principle was institutionalized in the American polity.
This principle of subsidiarity insists that governance should always be exercised at the lowest practicable level – first – beginning with the family. Larger governing entities must never usurp the rightful role of families and the mediating structures of society such as religious institutions, associations, charities and small self governing structures between the family and the institutions of civil government.
Statism and collectivism never work, whether of the rightist or the leftist versions. They squelch freedom, creativity, and initiative. They often impede genuine human compassion. Not because government is intrinsically evil, but because collectivist approaches are neither moral nor efficient government. Rather, they easily devolve into tyranny.
The question we should always ask in evaluating the exercise of governance is whether government is ‘good’ – including whether it is efficient and effective as well as healthy and moral. That can best be assessed by considering who does the governing, where it happens and whether such governing reflects truly moral values.