The So-Con Manifesto
by John Pacheco
In regulating and governing human societies, the practical policies of governance need to rest on fundamental, philosophical or theological maxims which guide the design and implementation of laws. All too often social conservatives are often accused of "forcing their religious beliefs" on the culture at large. We reject this obtuse idea that social conservatives are more prone to doing this than any other group. We consider this an argument to be advanced by the unstable and incoherent. We all have a religion which we try to foist on to the public. Christians want to see Christian principles applied to public life, Muslims have the same, and Secularists (who worship themselves) have them too. This very quaint idea of how only "religious people" or "social conservatives" "force their religious views on society is absurd and beneath contempt. Citizens of democratic States will always work to see the laws changed so that a certain moral code is backed up by the law. That moral code may indeed be degenerate as is the case in our current Western culture but it is a moral code nonetheless. And that is why the central questions of human existence necessarily drive and serve as a foundation for the policies which all governments (both left and right) legislate in practice. Therefore, it seems fitting that to understand the so-con view on policy issues, we must turn and learn the rationale for them in the foundational issues.
Belief in God
We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (universal) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. + AMEN. 1
Belief in God has its advantages. A man who really believes in God is ultimately accountable to Him when his final hour comes. As the Bible says, "after death comes the judgement" (Cf. Heb. 9:27). Indeed, for a politician there can be no greater "check" than someone who believes that He will be judged according to what he has done in this life. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ," St. Paul reminds us, "that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:2). In this way, by inculcating this responsibility in man, a politician is more inclined, and indeed has more of a reason, to live a life of integrity. This was truer in times past than it is today, of course, when the Christian faith was still taken seriously by the elites of our country. In those days, political life was seen as more of a vocation to serve the public. Today, such an approach is rarely if ever accepted by our political leaders. Instead, the politicians who represent the "culture of self-satisfaction" have embraced practical atheism where no one but they are the highest power. And being the highest power, with no one above and many below, they are not subject to any accountability either. If the Prime Minister is pontifex maximus of the worship of man, then what real motivation has he to bend the enormous power that he wields to conform with God's holy will? Not much, we assure you - which explains why our political leaders have "god complexes", why our democracies are falling apart, and why, correspondingly, totalitarian influences are being rudely introduced into the latte capitals of Europe with uncomfortable vitesse.
Dignity of the Human Person
The foundation of liberty rests recognizing the inalienable dignity of each human persons. The So-con world view does not see the dignity of the human person in terms of utility or action. Rather, we believe that "the dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God." 6 Consequently, any movement which seeks to reduce human persons to a commodity which can be sold, manipulated, distorted, destroyed, or harvested is degenerate and wicked. In fact, one of these abominations, embryonic cloning, represents, for the ingratiated and perverse capitalist, a huge economic opportunity of unlimited wealth potential. Unfortunately, most people today, especially those who are blinded by their disordered sexual appetites, profound stupidity in materialism, or their wholesale abandonment of simple decency, fail to see that today's embryonic cloning is yesterday's brutal slave trade. It's just been repackaged and marketed for a profoundly stupider generation.
And this is merely a symptom of a much greater problem, for the secular world view sees man as a means to an end. The end, of course, is self-gratification, whether expressed sexually or otherwise. The secular view is necessarily selfish. It does not seek the good of the other, but demands the natural right to gratify itself at the expense of others and human dignity itself. In order to establish this concocted right, the secular order seeks to sustain its propositions of license under the guise of "liberty" or, incredibly "service to humanity". In a twisted form of logic, they believe that by harvesting or destroying human life for the "good of humanity", they can serve society (and their pocketbooks as well, no doubt). But, in truth, all that they end up doing is destroying one stage of humanity at the service of another. Even the most simplistic of them should see that accepting this notion will end up destroying the entire human race. "Stage warfare" will end up pitting the younger generation versus the older generation and that is a sure recipe for disaster. We already see this "stage warfare" being played out in the euthanasia debate currently being waged in the Western world.
In opposition to this lethal ideology, the so-con view is the most sensible. It recognizes the inherent and inviolable worth of every human being from conception to natural death. The human person, because it is created in the image of God is an end in itself, representing the greatest of God's created ends. As such, it cannot be violated or manipulated in anyway. Because man did not ultimately create himself, he does not "own" another human being. Yet, ownership of another human being is the basic foundation of the liberal ideology in regards to the great moral issues of our time. For if you truly own something, you can do as you please with it. Conversely, at its most fundamental level, the so-con view protects man from himself. It does not permit the objectivization of persons by other persons. So, whether that objectivization is couched in terms of classes (communism), genders (feminism), sexual orientation (homosexualism), or stages (abortionism), the so-con view rightfully rejects all of it as an attack on authentic human dignity which finds its foundation in the created objective natural order.
In order to arrive at a basic objective truth which all peoples must acknowledge in order for a civilization to even exist, it is absolutely necessary that the natural law be respected and adhered to. Simply put, natural law is a system of norms inherently held in common among all humans, deriving its principles from nature rather than constructed rules of society. Natural law stands in contrast to positive law which denies any validity to metaphysical or normative questions, instead basing knowledge on science alone. Positive law is a human construct, subject to continual change and conditioning by historical circumstances. Natural law, on the other hand, is immutable and unaffected by historical events. It is so basic and fundamental to human existence that it is discoverable by reason without reference to any legislative pronouncements by a civil authority. Neither is natural law, being a constituent element of the human person, restricted to any religious creed but claims jurisdiction over every human person.
Of course, natural law being part of the Divine ordinance is reflected in Christian tradition. For instance, St. Paul alludes to it in his Letter to the Romans:
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:14-15)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also recognizes the existences of the natural law:
"The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties: For there is a true law: right reason. It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal; its orders summon to duty; its prohibitions turn away from offense . . . To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege; failure to apply even one of its provisions is forbidden; no one can abrogate it entirely." 7
Dr. J. Budziszewski explains how conscience plays a role within the natural law: "I am referring to deep conscience, which used to be called synderesisthe interior witness to the foundational principles of morality. We must distinguish it from surface conscience, which used to be called conscientiawhat we derive from the foundational principles, whether correctly or incorrectly, whether by means honest or dishonest. Deep conscience can be suppressed and denied, but it can never be erased. Surface conscience, unfortunately, can be erased and distorted in numerous waysone of several reasons why moral education and discipline remain necessary.In fact there are at least four ways in which we know the natural law. Deep conscience, the First Witness, is the one primarily responsible for what we cant not know. The others concern what we cant help learning. The Second Witness is our recognition of the designedness of things in general, which not only draws our attention to the Designer, but also assures us that the other witnesses are not meaning ful. The Third Witness is the particulars of our own designfor example, the interdependence and complementarity of the sexes. The Fourth Witness is the natural consequences of our behavior. All four work together." 8
Respect for Human Life
One of the most fundamental, basic rights human persons are entitled to is the right to life. All human rights are derived from the respect for human life. This respect must be given not only to those who have a legal recourse in their own person, but to those who are innocent, helpless, and voiceless in our political system. Unborn children deserves the protection of the State from those who seek to destroy them. Without recognizing the most basic of human rights, our society will not be able to protect other rights all Canadians have come to expect from living in a democracy. By reducing the humanity of the unborn child to a "product of conception", thereby objectifying human life into just another commodity for consumption, all human life - whether inside the womb or outside of it - suffers. Once a culture accepts the premise that human life is something less than sacred, then its collective subconscious cannot deny the "humanity" of a child inside the womb while concurrently conferring this same humanity on a child outside of the womb. This collective contradiction does not exist, and because it does not exist, our society is forced to either declare all human life sacred or all human life expendable. It cannot be both. It cannot be a combination, either. It has to be one or the other. Consequently, the respect that citizens of our nation have for one another begins to rapidly diminish. Indeed that is precisely what has begun to happen in Canadian society.
In Canada, Tracey Latimer was killed for being disabled by her own father. Although he is serving time, the forces which seek to deny the dignity of disabled people are seeking to overturn legislation which prosecutes people who wish to destroy take innocent human life. In the U.S., there is a monumental battle over the life Terri Schiavo, the disabled woman whose life hangs in the balance of a demented judiciary who seek to place a value on human life, and dispose of it if their eugenic standard is not met. The elderly too are in the crosshairs of our brave new world. It is not safe to be elderly and sick in many parts of the world. That situation will no doubt present itself very soon in Canada as well. All of these instances are only the tip of the iceberg which, because we have failed to protect the humanity of our most vulnerable within the womb, will soon attack our humanity outside of the womb so that taking life will be nothing less than an arbitrary act by the perverse and avaricious. Our culture and civilization will descend into open barbarism.
Today, the great secular sacrament of abortion is pushed by profit-hungry abortion providers, financed by weak politicians, and protected by a fascist media who do not allow an honest dialogue on the question. If the media is so open to criticism and transparency, for instance, why do they not show a partial birth abortion on national television? Because they are hypocrites and cowards who refuse to face the truth of the great euphemism of "women's rights". Social conservatives decry the media hegemony that the social leftists have imposed on this country, and we demand that the voice of the unborn be heard and respected. The Canadian media have done more to prevent the emancipation of the unborn than any other group. This needs to change.
Traditional Marriage [Pete Vere]
In Familiaris Consortio, John Paul II draws this connection between the conjugal communion of a man and woman and the stability of the family. "Conjugal communion constitutes the foundation on which is built the broader communion of the family, of parents and children, of brothers and sisters with each other, of relatives and other members of the household," he states. "This communion is rooted in the natural bonds of flesh and blood, and grows to its specifically human perfection with the establishment and maturing of the still deeper and richer bonds of the spirit: the love that animates the interpersonal relationships of the different members of the family constitutes the interior strength that shapes and animates the family communion and community." In other words, marriage exists to serve the traditional family structure. It exists to initiate and educate children in the deepest interpersonal relationships. This is the reason why marriage has survived throughout the centuries, while others have not; this exclusive union between a man and a woman reflects a natural order around which society preserves, propagates and nurtures itself.
Throughout history, where society has attempted to socially engineer some other form of relationship as equal to marriage, either anarchy or authoritarianism ensues. Such alternate unions do not fail because of their introduction into an intolerant or repressive society. Rather, as history repeatedly shows, societies that undermine the traditional marriage simply die out. Unable either to propagate or sustain themselves, their focus shifts from self-preservation and growth to selfish hedonistic pleasure. Thus the failure of sexually permissive societies is neither political, social, nor ideological.
Rather, the failure of sexually permissive civilizations lay in the refusal to accept the consequences of sexual promiscuity. A most fundamental and intrinsic part of our human nature, when expressed sexually, is to create, nurture and protect our young. This requires the stability of traditional marriage. A culture consumed by sexual hedonism will neither accept the procreative consequences of the conjugal act, nor provide the necessary stability to nurture its children. Thus a nation that asserts individual liberties over the stability of the traditional family will soon find its culture intrinsically disordered, as the culture of erotic hedonism is diametrically opposed to the culture of self-sacrifice for one's spouse and one's family.
And thus, in the cultural battle over marriage, religious and social conservatives must stand firm as signs of contradiction. "In the context of a culture which seriously distorts or entirely misinterprets the true meaning of human sexuality, because it separates from its essential reference to the person," we read in Familiaris Consortio, "the Church more urgently feels how irreplaceable is her mission of presenting sexuality as a value and task of the whole person, created male and female in the image of God."
In keeping with the Natural Law, marriage cannot simply be reduced to a mere sexual act in which both parties derive physical gratification. Rather, the conjugal act is a noble thing. It must be a mutual act of total self-giving, through which one spouse lovingly accepts the gift of the other. This also means that one accepts the natural consequences of the act. To manipulate or arbitrarily pull apart this conjugal relationship through unnatural unions will destabilize both the family in particular, and society as a whole.
Church & State
We believe in the distinction between Church and State. This means that in a multi-religious, pluralistic society where the number of religions are legion, the State cannot represent, or act for, one particular religion. The word distinction was consciously used above because we reject the common misconception that the State is separate from the Church. While it is true that the two entities operate separately from one another on a formal level, men and women of faith are still involved in governing a State. It is therefore a misnomer to say that both parties are "separate" from one another. A devout and sincere Evangelical Protestant, for instance, does not check his faith at the door when discussing public policy, but rather uses the principles of his faith and applies them to the job at hand. When discussing an issue like euthanasia, for instance, he should not be asked to jettison his Christian belief in the dignity of every human life for a crass utilitarianism. That would be to simply abandon one religion (Christianity) for another (Liberalism). Indeed, those who clamor for the separation of Church and State invariably want a separation from Christian principles from public policy. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, no coherent liberal (if one does actually exist) seems to demand that the Heathens leave their Hedonistic religion outside when it comes time to draft public policy.
Since authentic religion, in its true sense, is a call and invitation for a voluntary submission to the truth in faith, it is not within the scope of its mandate to compel belief or submission to its doctrines on the general populace. Provided the doctrines in question do not encroach on the natural law, but remain restricted, in a sense, to divine revelation only, the Church cannot (and, indeed does not) seek to impose her views on other people. Moreover, since divine law, in this restrictive sense, cannot be accepted without the guidance of the Church and faith itself, it would be destructive, counter-productive, and foolish for the Church to even attempt such a thing.
However, in such instances where the natural law has been breached by certain destructive movements within society, it is permissible and even obligatory for the Church to call for the government to suppress such movements. For instance, leaving aside some of the more controversial topics in our current culture, if there was a movement which was advocating mass suicide, it is clear that the Church (and all groups within society) have a grave moral obligation to condemn such a movement and seek to suppress it - by force if necessary. Ironically, many so-called "liberals" often chide the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII for not doing enough to save the Jews during the World War II. (This position is, of course, the exact opposite one they take when they want the Church OUT of their pet issues like abortion and gay "marriage". The Church, they say, doesn't belong in the bedrooms of the nation but, apparently, it is acceptable to get involved in its gas chambers.) Apart from the veracity of these (baseless) claims, this is precisely the area where the Church has a right and obligation to insist on State intervention.
The human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that all men should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power so that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his convictions nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in associations with others. The right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom must be given such recognition in the constitutional order of society as will make it a civil right. 2
It is through his conscience that man sees and recognized the demands of the divine law. He is bound to follow this conscience faithfully in all his activity so that he may come to God, who is his last end. Therefore he must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters. The reason is because the practice of religion of its very nature consists primarily of those voluntary and free internal acts by which a man directs himself to God. Acts of this kind cannot be commanded or forbidden by any merely human authority. But his own social nature requires that man give external expression to these internal acts of religion, that he communicate with others on religious matters, and profess his religion in community. Consequently to deny man the free exercise of religion in society, when the just requirements of public order are observed, is to do an injustice to the human person and to the very order established by God for men. Furthermore, the private and public acts of religion by which men direct themselves to God according to their convictions transcend of their very nature the earthly and temporal order of things. Therefore the civil authority, the purpose of which is the care of the common good in the temporal order, must recognize and look with favor on the religious life of its citizens. But if it presumes to control or restrict religious activity it must be said to have exceeded the limits of its power. 3
From this it follows that is wrong for a public authority to compel its citizens by force or fear or any other means to profess or repudiate any religion or to prevent anyone from joining or leaving a religious body. There is even more serious transgression of God's will and of the sacred rights of the individual person and the family of nations when force is applied to wipe out or repress religion either throughout the whole world or in a single region or a particular community. 4
The right to freedom in matters of religion is exercised in human society. For this reason its use is subject to certain regulatory norms. In availing of any freedom men must respect the moral principle of personal and social responsibility: in exercising their rights individual men and social groups are bound by the moral law to have regard for the rights of others, their own duties to others and the common good of all. All men must be treated with justice and humanity. Furthermore, since civil society has the right to protect itself against possible abuses committed in the name of religious freedom the responsibility of providing such protection rests especially with the civil authority. However, this must not be done in an arbitrary manner or by the unfair practice of favoritism but in accordance with legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order. These principles are necessary for the effective protection of the rights of all citizens and for peaceful settlement of conflicts of rights. They are also necessary for an adequate protection of that just public peace which is to be found where men live together in good order and true justice. They are required too for the necessary protection of public morality. All these matters are basic to the common good and belong to what is called public order. For the rest, the principle of the integrity of freedom in society should continue to be upheld. According to this principle man's freedom should be given the fullest possible recognitions and should not be curtailed except when and in so far as is necessary. 5
The Catholic Legate
November 24, 2004
1. The Symbolum Apostolorum was developed between the second and ninth centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator...The earliest written version of the creed is perhaps the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 215). The current form is first found in the writings of Caesarius of Arles (d 542). The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Hence it is also known as The Roman Symbol. As in Hippolytus' version it was given in question and answer format with the baptismal candidates answering in the affirmative that they believed each statement. (Source: http://www.creeds.net/ancient/apostles.htm)
2. Declaration on Religious Freedom, Second Vatican Council, 2
3. Ibid., 3
4. Ibid., 6
5. Ibid., 7
6. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1700
7. Ibid., 1956
8. The Natural Law Is What We Naturally Know, Religion & Liberty, Vol. 13, No. 3, http://www.acton.org/publicat/randl/print_interview.php?id=460