The Personalist Project

Just a week or two ago we heard at Sunday Mass the stirring exhortation from Joshua 24:25

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Personalist that I am, this set me reflecting on a mysterious fact of our being:  Service is an ineradicable exigency of our contingent nature.  We cannot decide whether we will serve, only whom we will serve.  We are not God.  We have no way of explaining our existence, nor any power to set its terms.  We are "handed over to ourselves" only in a limited sense. 

This truth is declared in Sacred Scripture; it is write large over human history.  We find it in our own moral experience.  If we refuse to serve the Author of Life, the Lord of Love, then we will up—inescapably—in slavery to death and destruction.

I've been thinking about this again as I watch with sorrow and alarm the Democratic Party devolve into the party of abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.  It is celebrating mandates that violate conscience and aggressively seek to marginalize and subdue the Church in society.

What used to be a regrettable plank in the platform has almost become its essence, it's raison d'etre.

A couple of years ago, fellow personalist Peter Colosi wrote a column pointing to Obama's consistent omission of "Creator" in his references to the Declaration of Independence.  It happened too often to be accidental.

Today, all over the internet, commentators are noting the odd public struggle over the excision of the single remaining reference to God in the Democratic Party Platform.  The removal threatened to become a PR fiasco, so the leadership determined to put back in by way of a "voice vote."  But delegates would not cooperate.  Even the modest "God-given talents" was passionately not wanted by easily half the Democratic delegation.

Hadley Arkes has a post in the Corner this morning, explaining how significant and revealing this moment is.

For it’s not a matter of one word more or less, one or more mentions of God. The real heart of the issue is that most of the people in that hall, in the Democratic convention, really don’t accept the understanding of rights contained in the Declaration of Independence: The Declaration appealed first to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” as the very ground of our natural rights.

Over at the American Spectator, George Neumayr recounts another recent example of the disturbing trend.

On November 10, 2010, Obama delivered a speech, in which he mused on the glories of Islam among other topics, at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. In the course of his pandering address, he changed America's motto from "In God We Trust" to "Out of Many, One." He intoned confidently, "In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum…" Wrong.

Dismayed congressmen quickly contacted the White House to demand a correction. The White House refused. Congress then passed, 396-9, a bill reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the nation's motto -- a vote that an unapologetic Obama publicly belittled.

Obama's Freudian slip in Indonesia fit with his secularist project for the United States. He is working to build a country in which Americans place their trust not in God but in government. He can't rest until Americans recognize no higher power than his will.

All this fits in perfectly with the black liberation theology preached by Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright.  Leftist ideology generally entails, at bottom, a displacing of God with government.    Two more instances from this week:

The DNC released an ad declaring, "government is the only thing we all belong to."

MSNBS reporter and Obama booster, Touré, responded furiously to Paul Ryan's ringing endorsement of the founding proposition of our nation, viz. that rights come from "nature and God, not governement,"  calling Ryan's statement, "so offensive", and flatly asserting that the opposite is true: "rights come from government."

It is an illusion to think we can live without a master.  It will be God, or it will be false gods.  Choose ye today.

Comments (1)

Devra Torres

#1, Sep 6, 2012 4:52pm

What a strange thing to say, that we all belong to government  That seems very different from talking about the consent of the governed, or of being self-governing.

But the point you bring about about service is one that's neglected by both collectivists and libertarians.  

As I try to explain to my children how people can be so passionately in favor of sterility and death, it seems clearer and clearer that, much as they may believe they're acting out of self-interest or altruism, they're being duped by the one they're actually serving.

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