The Spirit of Moloch and The New American Religion
Editorial Note: This article was originally published in November of 2018 at the Catholic Stand, after the midterm election of that year. We are re-publishing here in light of the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn a Louisiana law meant to restrict abortion access: June Medical Services LLC v. Russo.
As a nation, we learn many lessons from history. We learn from our wars, from our epidemics, and from our economic failures and successes. And history teaches another valuable lesson: When false gods come home to rule a nation, they always demand a sacrifice. The new American god is like the spirit of Moloch, the ancient Canaanite god who demanded child sacrifice. He wears many faces, but the root of this new American religion is self above all else.
Fresh in our minds though it be, the mid-term election of 2018 is not a timeless event. Many more election cycles are to come. Like every election since the inception of the United States, each passing cycle will yield new faces of power, new decision points, and new opportunities. But the salient issue of our time—the one that clings to the decades like glue and refuses to let go—is the issue of abortion.
The New American Religion: The Worship of Self
To the New American Religion, individualism is everything. We do what is comfortable. We overindulge because it feels good. When we act against our nature, we insist that “no one can judge me.” The New American Religion demands a total rejection of authority structures in favor of self-rule. We must take a step back from party-line thinking and take the broad view. Abortion ought not to be a “Democrat vs. Republican” issue. We must act against the wanton demands for child sacrifice now or the New American God will have his way in every party; in every branch of government. There are already signs of this: Consider Republicans running in “blue states” and otherwise “moderate districts” who routinely compromise on this very issue. We will see if “conservative” Supreme Court justices have the courage for the fight.
Remember a time in this country when no major political party, including the Democrats, made it a point to fight for abortion rights. Back then, elections were about economic ideas and how to deal with other nations. There were moral issues of the time, of course. Civil rights and slavery—in those instances, human rights won out.
Abortion is the new major human rights issue. A common refrain from the Choirs of Moloch is that a woman’s absolute sovereignty over her body permits her to exclude the basic human rights of another person. Change the location of the child within to outside the womb, and even the Ambassadors of Moloch would agree that the woman no longer has sovereign rights over the life of the child.
Catholics Not Immune
Catholics who take their faith seriously are not immune to the corrosive influence of the New American Religion. There are many Catholics, laity and clergy alike, who will zealously reject authority structures inside and outside the Church if they do not entirely align with their way of thinking. And this is often done in flash-fire fashion; in public or on social media, without much prayer, if any at all, and certainly without the spiritual disciplines of fasting and self-humiliation.
Let us take a lesson from the saints of old who, when they found it necessary to publicly or privately rebuke the Magisterium, spoke the truth in love and from a well of deep prayer and humility. When the truth is spoken from a place of anger and with little prayer or self-humiliation, it often breeds a kind of revolt that overshadows the positive forces for change. See what tragic effect Martin Luther’s anger had on the universal Church.
It is of profound importance for Catholics to vote in favor of life. We must continue to fast and to pray. But we must also set the example. We must avoid the herd mentality that places us squarely in one camp over the other. We must become all things to all people, as Paul once taught, without compromising an ounce of truth.
To defeat Moloch, we must become a people of prayer, we must fast, we must immolate ourselves for the salvation of the world and for the destruction of the corrupting influence of false gods enthroned in the hearts of man. American Catholics must especially pray that both major parties in our nation come around to completely and utterly respect the sacredness of life from conception to natural death.
The Spirit of Moloch is hungry, never satisfied, and he is coming for our children. Center for Disease Control statistics as recent as 2014 revealed that there were over 650,000 abortions in the United States in that year alone. Between 1980 and 2014, there were over 13,000,000 abortions just in our nation. Continuing to elect politicians who are pro-life is an absolute necessity for the pro-life movement at present. But in order to avoid further delaying the inevitable, we must work and pray for a culture that returns to a sense of the sacredness of life and the sacredness of giving up our lives for others, without so much concern for what the cost might be to ourselves.
Overturning Roe v. Wade or otherwise rendering that Supreme Court ruling ineffective would be a battle won. But the war will not be over until the hearts and minds of women and men are changed, and the demands of Moloch are no longer seen as a viable option but are rather seen as absolutely unthinkable. Our nation must turn its back on the Spirit of Moloch and the New American Religion. Then perhaps we can move on and heal. Perhaps then, as a nation, we can honor and remember the so many Children of Promise who had their lives stolen from them because the American Dream devolved into the solitary worship of self.