The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings novel, depicted a dire struggle for mankind in which both superpowers, Mordor to the south and Isengard to the north, combined forces to wage war against the free peoples and subjugate them to their despotic will.
It is well-known that Tolkien drew upon his devout Catholic faith to weave Christian themes throughout his works about the mythical land called Middle Earth. If Tolkien were alive today, I wonder if he would see in the extraordinary events taking place now on both sides of the US-Canada border, an analogous situation to the battle for Middle Earth.
In the USA, President Obama has declared war against the Catholic Church in particular, and religious freedom in general, with his mandate that Catholic institutions must provide contraception and abortifacient drugs to employees, under their health insurance plans. These things are, of course, antithetical to Catholic teaching, and a transparent violation of the Church’s first amendment rights.
The U.S. Catholic bishops have acknowledged that Obama’s mandate is a declaration of war against the Church. So much has this mandate threatened people of faith that Mormons, Evangelicals and Baptists (who do not share Catholic doctrine on contraception) have united in solidarity under the banner, “We are all Catholics now”. This slogan acknowledges that if religious freedom is under assault for Catholics, it’s under assault for everyone.
North of the border in Isengard – oops, sorry -- I mean in Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty launched a similar war against the Catholic Church. He is attempting to trample its constitutionally-guaranteed right to Freedom of Religion. In Bill 13, proposed legislation that purports to reduce bullying, McGuinty, like Obama, is mandating that the Church accept something which it believes is contrary to Catholic doctrine. McGuinty is demanding gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) or similar groups by another name. The problem is that the Church has assessed such openly homosexual, gay-activist clubs as being incompatible with its mission and Christian identity. Despite objections by Catholic bishops, Premier McGuinty appears determined to impose his authoritarian will… whether they like it or not.
As occurred in America, Protestant, Evangelical and Jewish people of faith here in Ontario have recognized that this subversion of Catholic rights threatens all people of faith. The U.S. debate has acknowledged that whether you agree or disagree with contraception, there’s a bigger principle at stake in this fight: Liberty. Likewise, the thousands of Ontarians who’ve spoken out against McGuinty’s Bill 13, from a diversity of faith traditions, are saying that regardless what one thinks about GSAs, there is something bigger at stake here: Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience.
In Tolkien’s novel, the free people of Middle Earth prevailed against the powers behind the Two Towers, thus safeguarding their liberty. Who will prevail in the wars being waged today in Ontario and America, against the Catholic Church... and all people of faith?