The smoke of Satan in Steubenville

By Joel Schmidt

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sure is … well … religious.

What do I mean?

These self-proclaimed “freethinkers” gloat on their homepage that “nones” are the second largest denomination in the United States – behind Catholics – according to the 2008 American Religious Identifications Survey.

Yes, you read that correctly.

According to their own language, non-belief is actually a religious denomination. Seriously. And they are correct. Two definitions of religion from Merriam-Webster:

• a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices;

• a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

They refer to themselves as atheists and agnostics, but that’s a lie. They are most decidedly anti-theists, passionately unified to stomp out every trace of any other system of belief by legal challenge and propaganda, targeting Christianity as public enemy number one. Want proof? They offer a so-called “Debaptism Certificate”, as if baptism could somehow be undone simply by renouncing it, even without their made-up document. Laughable.

Their latest conquest is the city of Steubenville, OH, home of Franciscan University. The new city logo, approved in December 2011, includes a silhouette of the university’s Christ the King Chapel, one of four well-known community landmarks featured in the design. Following a threat of legal challenge from the so-called “freethinkers”, the City Council decided to remove the image of the chapel from the logo.

So much for free thought.

FFRF claimed in its letter to the City that depicting the chapel with its cross “… places the City’s imprimatur behind Christianity. This excludes non-Christians and violates the Constitution.” (Yes, they actually used imprimatur, a decidedly Catholic term. They couldn’t just use “stamp of approval”?) Yet, their own news release states, “All citizens — whether Christian, Jewish, atheist or agnostic, Muslim, etc. — must be welcomed as full participants, and the only way to do that is to keep religion out of government.” Except for the religion of anti-theism, apparently.

If you think the “War on Religion” is just an election year catch-phrase, think again. Indeed, why go after little ‘ol Steubenville? If any Steubenville citizens were offended by the design, there is a process. Council meetings are open to the public. There would be a public record of the meetings and any complaints.

Were there any actual complaints, or just a threat-of-litigation letter from FFRF attorneys? Perhaps, they will be sending similar letters to the cities of San Francisco, St. Louis, and St. Paul next. Or maybe the San Diego Padres, with their obnoxious double religious (psst, Catholic) nomenclature.

Maybe not, but they have effectively stuck a pin in the heart of orthodox Catholic America. To many, Franciscan University represents bold, faithful Catholicism out in the world. If Franciscan University doesn’t hold sway in its own backyard, what is to become of the rest of the Ecclesia Militans (Church Militant)?

Perhaps, it’s time to push back. Take the HHS contraception mandate. All Catholics are asking is to be free to practice our faith in our daily lives out in the world. However, the secularists claim we’re actually trying to impose our morals on them. How? By not letting them trample our Constitutional right to free exercise of religion?

It’s time to stop retreating. Satan’s band of secularists isn’t going to just give up. Think about it. They had 75% of the City of Steubenville logo, and it wasn’t enough. They wanted it all. They’re not going to stop at anything short of scorched earth. It’s time for all Christians – but Catholics in particular – to stand up and combat this nonsense out in the naked public square and expose it for what it really is. Lies.

[Thanks to Joel and Lisa Schmidt for permission to re-post this essay from their blog, The Practicing Catholic. Be sure to check out this blog and bookmark it.]