Archbishop warns against 'unofficial state atheism'

Amid the relentless drive to eliminate the word "God" from the public discourse, and against a background of Catholic politicians voting to fund abortion, one Catholic Church official has taken a welcome stand.

The Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia has spoken out on the liberal media "bias against traditional Christian belief," and warned against pushing religion out of the public square as well as against the "ferocious public smears and legal threats" against Catholics and other religions.

CNS News reports on Archbishop Charles Chaput's remarks at a Catholic World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain:

We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC for reliable news about religion. These news media simply don't provide trustworthy information about religious faith... 

They have very little sympathy for the Catholic faith, and quite a lot of aggressive skepticism toward any religious community that claims to preach and teach God's truth.

The Archbishop notes the widespread coverage of the so-called Arab Spring, and the lack of reporting on the persecution of Christians in such countries:

In Egypt, angry mobs have attacked Christian churches and monasteries, burning them to the ground and murdering the people inside.

The double-standard is evident in the White House as well.  President Obama, for his part, failed to issue a statement on the observance of Easter, but has "released statements recognizing the observance of the major Muslim holidays."  When asked last April why there was no Easter statement, White House Press secretary Jay Carney found humor in the question:

A surprised reporter noted that Easter was the holiest of Christian holidays and asked Carney "You don't KNOW if you put out a statement?" Carney snickered again, bowed his head and retorted, "I'm glad you're asking me these important questions guys."

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry is criticized by the left for holding a recent "day of prayer," while President Obama presides over an "Iftar dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan." 

Archbishop Caput goes on to highlight the danger in the attack on religion:

Forcing religious faith out of a nation's public square and out of a country's public debates does not serve democracy... What it does do is impose a kind of unofficial state atheism. To put it another way, if we ban Christian Churches or other religious communities from taking an active role in our nation's civic life, we're really just enforcing a new kind of state-sponsored intolerance -- a religion without God.

While the movement toward state-sponsored intolerance may be drip-drip-drip style, the choices are stark.  Religious tolerance and inalienable rights endowed by the Creator, or selective intolerance and rights selectively granted by government.