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TEXAS FAITH 65: Catholic bishops and civil disobedience


Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

How far should people of faith go in resisting laws they consider unjust?

I raise this because last week the nation's Catholic bishops, as the AP reported, "urged resistance to laws that church officials consider unjust."

The story explained how the bishops urged "fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad." The report also noted the clash between theObama administration and Catholic leaders earlier this year over the requirement for most employers to cover the birth control costs of their employees. Since then, the White House has offered a compromise, but the issue has not necessarily gone away.

Perhaps you agree that religious liberty is under attack, perhaps you don't. I'm not looking for an assessment of that. Rather, I would like your thoughts about how far people of faith should go in resisting laws they consider immoral.

I'm sure we all would agree that there is room for civil disobedience, but societies also require a certain amount of cohesion to function. For example, just because someone opposes a war does that give them the right to stop paying taxes that would benefit the Pentagon?

This issue matters enormously to people of faith and the larger secular society. Read on for informative answers.

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

How far should people go in resisting laws that they consider unjust?

One should to the fullest extent intelligently resist what they consider to be unjust.

However it should be pointed out that most of problems are due to a lack of spiritual consciousness. Therefore solutions must be put in place with this understanding in mind.

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.