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My last post here addressed the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate for all Americans to pay for contraception and sterilization coverage under the (also mandated and equally unconstitutional [1]) national health care plan, and considered how individuals in high places in the government have a population control mindset and agenda.  My post suggested that family size mandates might be around the corner.

My purpose was not to alarm (although it might) but to inform. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. (Winston Churchill) and China’s history of coercion and control in the family planning arena should teach us that the basic right to have a family should be strongly protected from outside (the family) interference or the consequences can be devastating[2].

Let’s glance quickly at what is happening in our country and then, simply as a citizen and mother I will offer suggestions for a solution.

Definition of Mandate and Statement of HHR Reality

Mandate[3]: 1. A command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative. The president had a clear mandate to end the war.2. A command from a superior court or official to a lower one; 3. An authoritative order or command.

The reality is that we have been commanded and ordered to pay for contraception and sterilization, regardless of our public and private beliefs. It is as simple as that. We have been told that the money our families work hard for, sacrifice for, earn, regardless of our religious faiths, beliefs, or personal moral convictions, will go to pay for the prevention and/or destruction (as the pill is an abortifacent) of a pregnancy for any woman in this country who wants it. We have been told this is only ‘fair’ and in the best interests of all. We are being forced into this action, and pressured into this idea. If we don’t conform mentally to the idea, we have been told we must violate our consciences or face penalty.

History: How Did This Mandate Come to Be Instituted?

Basically, a slippery slope brought us to our current situation. In understanding the general way a mandate can come we can understand how this one specifically did. After knowing this we can better understand how to address the attitudes that brought us here, the problematic mandate itself and explore possible solutions.

What is the way to institute a mandate?

One way to institute a mandate is like this:

First, you have to get a large amount of people to tolerate an idea.  In this case the idea is that while sex is good, babies are bad and women need contraception. Over the years, thanks in large part to the 1960s ideas of ‘free love’ and the “Women’s Lib Movement”, (and despite the fact that prior to the 1930s, no major Christian religion accepted contraception as moral [4] ) a gradual moral decay occurred in society as well as a broad ethical apathy and turn toward hedonism. These combined factors led to a general secular acceptance of casual, non-married sex, contraception and sterilization.

While certain groups (ie: the Catholic Church) remained steadfast in their condemnation of such ideas, some individuals within those institutions weakened the institutions with their non-compliance and refusal to leave these institutions despite their disagreement with them. Further, some of these individuals (ie: dissident religious and laity) began speaking without authority as though they were speaking with authority. (“I’m Catholic but…”) This caused confusion in the general population, as some people then began to believe wrongly that the Church’s position had changed. It hadn’t.

At this same time, Post-Vatican II, many Catholic schools were moving away from teaching the Baltimore Catechism and replacing it with fluffy feel-good instruction. The youth were simply not being properly catechized and this, against the backdrop of the general downward moral societal spiral proved harmful. Arguably, never before had so many Catholics reached adulthood with such a profound lack of knowledge of basic tenets of their faith. These Catholics, then, were ill equipped to teach their children. And so, the Faith was further diluted for another generation. One result of all this was a large amount of people becoming tolerant to the idea of widespread recreational, non-marital sex, contraception and sterilization.

In sum, then, the first way to institute a mandate is to get a large amount of people to tolerate an idea. In our case, the idea was the acceptance of casual, non-marital sex, contraception and sterilization. This was accomplished, multi-generationally, in the United States over the last 50 years.

Second, after you get a large amount of people to tolerate an idea, you have get people to think the idea is actually in their best interest. In this case, the “it-is-in-your-best-interest” idea  is that non-marital sex is acceptable and healthy, and that women need contraception/sterilization options or else they are under the control of men or that their freedom is being imposed upon.  Again, thanks in large part to the 1960s, Gloria Steinem et al, that too has become a perceived mainstream notion.

Third, after you get a large amount of people to tolerate an idea and get them to think that idea is in their best interests, you must couple the idea with other parallel ideas that support it. In this case, the idea that casual sex, contraception and sterilization is desirable is paired with the idea that children are a physical, emotional and financial burden, and you encourage people to think that work is much more fulfilling than raising children. [5] Add rhetoric about the health ‘benefits’ of such an idea.[6] Then, offer for free what you want to eventually mandate. [7]  And frame this idea of a free gift as a health necessity [8] and that it financially makes sense.[9]  Then, extend the idea of ‘free’ by making people pay for it. Viola! This notion was just ‘accomplished’ through the HHR contraception/sterilization mandate. This all has occurred in incremental steps.

Last, after a general acceptance has been established, maybe a few years down the line, suggest a mandate for use of contraception- requiring it- for the “good of all”; promote how ‘unreasonable’ those who oppose it are, and make those who oppose it feel guilty for not being ‘team players’, playing upon environmentalism and the population “problem”.  Finally, regardless of personal objections, eliminate the suggestion for a mandate and simply require all to adhere to this family size mandate. This would be like current China.

Fortunately, we are not at the final stage yet, but it is plain to see how this could –especially without intervention-happen easily. It is not at all far-fetched to imagine that the United States government will look toward a mandate on family size and contraceptive use in the near future.

What to Do

So, what we can ‘do’? I believe the answer is simple. Not easy, mind you, but simple. To turn the tide we must do several simple things:

TEACH CHILDREN THEIR CATECHISM. Whether your children are 3 or 13, it’s never too late to start teaching your kids the fundamentals of the Faith. A basic Saint Joseph Catechism[10] is a perfect start, (you may find such basic catechism suitable for child or adult study here) and many websites and books will help you once you ‘graduate’ from that. Teaching catechism is critical because all around our children, they are going to hear untruths about what the Church actually teaches. They need to know the truth. They have a right to know the Truth. We are in a pickle today because of the laxity of parents of previous generations. In fact, I look at prominent politically powerful self named “Catholics” in our government today and think first of a failure of their mothers and fathers to teach them Truth.

If you are not well versed in catechism yourself, take the time to learn with the kids. Read the papal encyclicals (You can read them free here: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/ ) And start with Humanae Vitae here: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul06/p6humana.htm  If you are already teaching the catechism, dig deeper. The Didache Series   is awesome and is a great ‘next step’ after basic catechism study. Of course the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church needs to have a place on every Catholic’s bookshelf! To dive in online, start here.  It has never been more important to be educated in the catechism. Forget what you’ve done or not done in the past and begin now to create a stronger, more knowledgeable, faith-filled family.

PRAY. Daily. Prayer is our number one duty and ‘weapon’. We must “pray without ceasing” (1Thess 5:17). We must attend Mass, return to the sacraments.  We must take our children. We must, in short, return to God. We are like David against Goliath. But with God on our side we are a majority and must remember we are under His protection, guidance and ultimately, mercy.

VOTE. We must put life as the primary issue. Here’s a voting guide to help. http://www.ewtn.com/vote/brief_catechism.htm I cannot stress how important it is to elect representatives who will not infringe on religious liberty and who value life.

 NETWORK. Talk about this with your friends. Pray together. Contact elected officials together. Writing letters and or blog posts may or may not be your call. Pray and you will know. Keep in mind if you do decide to go this route, it should not unduly interfere with the daily needs of your family or it will not produce the fruit you wish. In other words, write when the children are in bed or after school when they are occupied- but do not let it be all consuming. Remember, worry is not productive. It is the opposite of faith. We should let our legitimate concerns spur us on but keep in mind that Christians have been persecuted for their faith since the time of Jesus. We must keep our eyes and hearts on the goal.

Last, I’d like to say, don’t stress. Don’t panic. God is in charge. Mothers, turn your hearts home to your families. Surround them with love and care, and prayer. Nurture your husband as he goes out in the world to deal with this mess. Provide the rest and respite that your husband needs now and in the future as this escalates. Be the balm in his and your children’s lives. Peace, love, and keep your eyes looking forward, reasonably, but always upward.

 Psalm 27: 1-14

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation ; Whom shall I fear ? The LORD is the defense of my life ; Whom shall I dread ? 2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear ; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. 4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek : That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle ; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. 6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy ; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. 7 Hear, OLORD, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me. 8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” 9 Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger ; You have been my help ; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation ! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up. 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. 12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. 13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD ; Be strong and let your heart take courage ; Yes, wait for the LORD.

Below is a video of Maria Montserrat Alvara, who works for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a legal group assisting some Catholic institutions fighting mandatory contraceptive coverage. If you want to get up to speed on the important points in an easy to understand way- click and watch for the next four minutes. God bless!