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Chapter 19

The Religious Right


It is not alone in the United States that the Papacy exerts its power. In another predominantly Protestant nation, Australia, the political power of the Roman Catholic Church is immense. The Sydney Morning Herald, July 31, 1999, one of Australia’s most prestigious newspapers, in a feature article entitled "The Mandate of Heaven," reported that,

In secular Australia the [Roman Catholic] church remains the best connected, best funded, most-respected lobby in the nation. . . .

Under [Prime Minister John] Howard, Andrew Robb, the Federal Director of the Liberal Party—and a Catholic—had set out to "remove the barriers we [the government] erected for ourselves in 1993." Robb established links with both the committees and the bishops through the coalition of Catholic MPs [Members of Parliament].

The power of Roman Catholicism in Australia is evidenced by the fact that—

Both [the] Labor [Party] and the [Liberal Party-National Party] Coalition take for granted these days that they can’t win government if the Catholic vote is solidly against them. . . . And the [Roman Catholic] church has never abandoned its claim to appeal directly to the Catholic vote. (Ibid.)

The article noted that—

Catholics are now secure inside the strongholds of power—not just the Labor Party but of the Coalition, too. The Jesuits educated four of [Prime Minister John] Howard’s Cabinet. Tim Fischer [leader of the National Party, the junior party in the coalition] was another Jesuit boy. This strength of representation around a conservative cabinet table would have been unimaginable even 20 years ago.

By way of explanation, the Liberal Party in Australia, John Howard’s party, defying its name, is, in policy, a conservative party.

It is the Protestants in most nations who are giving rise to this Roman Catholic dominance. In the United States the churches of the Reformation and even the Baptist Churches are conceding truth for accord with Rome. The International Herald-Tribune (a paper produced for overseas readers by the New York Times and the Washington Post) of June 27, 1998, reported that—

In a decision intended to resolve an issue that split the western Christian world nearly 500 years ago, the Vatican has said that it will sign a declaration with most of the world’s Lutherans affirming that Roman Catholics and Lutherans share a basic understanding of how human beings receive God’s forgiveness and salvation.

Since Rome had not altered its unscriptural positions, it is obvious that the concessions had come from the World Lutheran Federation. As we, ourselves, possess a strong Lutheran heritage from our paternal ancestors, we are astounded at this Lutheran compromise.

It was not only the Lutherans who sought agreement with Rome. Four years earlier The Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch, June 17, 1994, commenced an article concerning the thirteen years of Roman Catholic-Southern Baptist dialogue with the sentence,

Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics can be more than political soul mates, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination declared yesterday! The Southern Baptist Convention overwhelmingly voted to support the dialogue between the two denominations.

But a wider issue was at stake, as the newspaper article explained. By 1994, the Religious Right, a loose union of evangelical Protestants and conservative Roman Catholics, had been launched providing a perilous mix which they felt presented a united front which could benefit the achievement of a strong political opposition to social degradation such as abortion and pornography. Protestants had forgotten the old adage that Satan always provides good reasons to do wrong.

What brought the discussion into the forefront this year was a widely publicized appeal for closer relations signed by conservative Catholic leaders and prominent evangelicals, including Pat Robertson, Charles Colson and the heads of both the Home Mission Board and the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

"As evangelicals and Catholics, we dare not by needless and loveless conflict between ourselves give aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ," said the declaration.

It urged the groups to increase efforts against abortion and pornography and no longer hold each other at theological arm’s lengths.

The section that caused the greatest furor among some Baptists was an appeal to stop proselytizing each other’s flocks, saying such efforts were neither theologically legitimate nor a prudent use of resources. (Ibid.)

While the Baptist-Catholic accord did not include a consensus that each would cease proselytizing amongst adherents of the other’s faith, the Religious Right was adopting the faulted concept that the various denominations should only seek converts amongst the unchurched. Such a view well served Rome’s designs. By its conversations with Roman Catholicism, the Southern Baptists were gulled into a state of unwariness which has continued to erode their former understanding of the peril to souls entrapped in the Roman Catholic Church. This is well confirmed by The Columbus Dispatch (op. cit.) report.

Southern Baptists have historically been reluctant to enter the ecumenical movement long embraced by mainline Protestants for fear of compromising their faith.

But Baptist leaders said yesterday that the experience of working with Catholics on certain issues, such as abortion, helped bring the denomination to the point of seeking closer relations in other areas.

"We have found ourselves in the same foxhole," said Tommy Lea, chairman of the convention’s Resolutions Committee.

In First Things, May, 1994, the Religious Right in the United States in a paper significantly entitled, "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Missions in the Third Millennium," commenced,

We are Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics who have been led through prayer, study, and discussion to common convictions about Christian faith and mission.

They speak of—

Evangelicals and Catholics to be Christians together in a way that helps prepare the world for the coming of him to whom belongs the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever, Amen.

This eight page statement was prepared by fifteen Roman Catholic and Evangelical participants. Two participants were Jesuit priests, Juan Diaz-Villar, of Catholic Hispanic Ministries, and Avery Dulles. Dulles is the son of President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, and was created a Cardinal by John Paul II in January, 2001. He was a Professor of Theology at Fordham University. Cardinal Dulles’ elevation to that ecclesiastical rank is very strong evidence of the Papacy’s approval of this coalition with the Evangelicals. Many notable American Roman Catholics, including the late archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor, endorsed the paper. One would have thought the Evangelicals, surely well aware of the care with which the Papacy makes endorsements, would set aside some time to reflect upon the reasons that the Papacy saw a benefit to its agenda in this coalition. To the student of prophecy, the answer is evident.

Many believe that Rome is now a proponent of religious liberty, for John Paul II called for religious liberty in India. But let it never be forgotten that Rome always has advocated religious liberty where their members are in the minority, as they most assuredly are in India, or where they are persecuted. She talks and acts very differently when she is dominant.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Oct. 26, 2000, Padraic P. McGuinness, spoke plainly about the denial of religious liberty by the Pope. As his Irish name suggests, McGuinness was raised a Roman Catholic but later accepted atheism. In part McGuinness wrote, once again warning us of the absence of religious liberty in Catholicism:

The great problem facing those who have never belonged to the Catholic Church or have severed their connections with it, is its continuing claim to interfere in their lives. Liberty of conscience is that which the church still finds it difficult to come to terms with. That is fair enough for those who consider themselves Catholics, but it is totally unacceptable when this church (or indeed, any other) claims the right to govern the consciences of those who do not accept membership in it.

This week, a biographer of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel, delivered an important lecture on behalf of the Centre of Independent Studies on "The Moral Foundations of Freedom." Unfortunately he fell into the classic Catholic confusion of asserting that the only true freedom is the freedom to believe what the church believes to be morally right. And he made the truly astonishing claim that his church is "the world’s premier institutional defender of human rights."

But those of us who are not members of the Catholic Church should beware of the dangers implicit in the line promoted by the Pope (whose social teachings are a kind of soft fascism) and by Weigel—with a bit of wordplay they try to deny the reality of individual human liberty and freedom of choice. They can only do this by pretending that any choice that does not fit their morality is not a truly free choice. This is the first step on the road to theocratic government.

The ecumenical movement is blinding Protestants to the dangers of Roman Catholic practice and doctrine. Protestantism today with few exceptions has total amnesia of the history of the medieval Papacy. One example of this blindness is seen in the words of Paul Crouch, who has totally abrogated his Protestant heritage. On his televised program, "Praise the Lord," on October 17, 1989 he said,

I have come to the conviction that Martin Luther made a mistake. He should never have left the Roman Catholic Church. I am eradicating the word Protestant out of my vocabulary. I am not protesting anything. It is time for Catholics and non-Catholics to come together as one in the Spirit and one in the Lord.


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