yes that poem is a relevant today as it was when it’s geneses was first penned by Martin Niemoller in the first half of the last century. What brings it to the fore, you ask?
This bit of news out of Connecticut.
Connecticut Lawmakers Want to Reorganize Catholic Churches
“… The proposed state legislation, bill 1098, changes the way a parish church does business. It is still early in the process of becoming a law, and it likely will not pass muster constitutionally, but it is worrisome, nonetheless. …”
“The current corporation laws state that a church has five people who make up its religious corporation: the bishop, the pastor, a parochial vicar and two parish trustees. Bill 1078 would do away with this structure, and replace it with a group of elected board members who make the financial decisions in each parish. In this new scenario, the bishop and the pastor have no votes in the local church’s financial matters. They are ex-officio members of the board. And, yes, this means the pastor has to report to the board on all financial matters.”
“The statement from the Diocese of Bridgeport describes it this way:
This bill violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It forces a radical reorganization of the legal, financial, and administrative structure of our parishes. This is contrary to the Apostolic nature of the Catholic Church because it disconnects parishes from their Pastors and their Bishop. Parishes would be run by boards from which Pastors and the Bishop would be effectively excluded…”
“The State has no right to interfere in the internal affairs and structure of the Catholic Church. This bill is directed only at the Catholic Church but could someday be forced on other denominations. The State has no business controlling religion.”
Source, The Catholic Exchange
The above was excerpted from the complete article, which can be read in it’s entirety, at the source link above.
In all honesty, I am a lapsed Catholic. Haven’t been inside a church in a number of years. The choice is mine, but I feel if I can’t abide by the “rules of the club” then I have no business residing under their roof. So, to be clear, it isn’t the Church’s fault I don’t show my smiling face Sunday (or any other day) for the sacrament of Mass, but my own failings.
That being said. Why should I, or any other person (be they Christian, Jew, Pagan, Agnostic, or Atheist) care about what is being attempted in Connecticut.
It is in direct violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, under separation of Church and State.
And if it is passed into law (Or a “very near miss”, setting the stage for future attempts at same.), there will be no church/denomination which is safe from government oversight. And no church/denomination outside the bounds of direct government control.
Some might argue, the government has the power to do what it will anyhow, even with churches. I won’t argue the point of the government having power, and even misusing same. Or that it (at least at the lowest level possible) has the duty of closing down any institution which poses a clear and present danger to the lives of it’s citizenry. That is as it should be.
This is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. And it stinks.
We take pride in this country of not having a “State Sponsored Religion”. Yet the State is now seeking to have a direct say in how a particular faith may delegate it’s own funds. If this precedent is allowed to be set, one wonders what will be next.