That idea found its best expression in law when our founding fathers wrote these words into the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Here was a rule under which men would not have to bare their necks to the swords of tyrants in order to defend the dictates of their creeds. It was as if it had taken mankind some 1800 years to say, “Oh wait, I get it! Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar; give God what belongs to God!”
As I understand the Catholic ban on contraception (after slogging through much of Pope John Paul II’s mind-wracking Theology of the Body), it’s based on the idea that people should act in the completeness of their spiritual humanity even in the moments of their most intimate physicality. Thus sex should only take place within a sacralized and lifelong commitment of love without being detached from its essential purpose of conception.
I don’t have to agree with this doctrine to understand that it’s an heroic attempt to defend the one most essential ingredient of freedom: the concept of the inviolable human soul. In taking this stand, the church of Rome is doing exactly what churches are supposed to do. It is institutionalizing the fact that man is spirit, that he cannot live by bread alone.
Kings have wanted to snuff out this idea forever. They want to convince us that we’re bodies only, collections of material needs — and that they can fill those needs in exchange for their power over us. Without our churches, without our religions, nothing would stop them from filling us with bread and stripping us of freedom. Obama offers us this exchange virtually every time he opens his mouth. He will give you your contraception, but he will command your conscience.
Whether we’re Catholic or not, whether we agree with the Catholics or not, every single one of us should stand up against the Obama administration’s assault on their church. The Jews of Caesarea will be standing with us. So, I believe, will the Christ.