During a recent episode of the HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher quoted Marco Rubio as saying, “We are clearly called by the Bible to adhere to our civil authorities, but that conflicts with our requirements to adhere to God’s rules. So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win.” To which Maher said, “No! That’s what ISIS believes.”
Rubio should have said when our adherence to our civil authorities conflict, God’s rules always win. No matter, his larger point is accurate. Indeed, it is so accurate that Maher is in a bind for ridiculing him. At Nuremberg, Nazis leaders pleaded innocent, citing their allegiance to the civil authorities. They were convicted nonetheless. But on what basis?
The positive law, that which the government posits, is the civil law. It was to the positive law that Nazis appealed—they were just following orders. The natural law, which is central to Catholic teachings, maintains that clear notions of right and wrong are inscribed in our hearts. It is this principle that the civil authorities invoked to convict the Nazis. Lucky for mankind that they did. Maher understands none of this.
If there is any religious book that ISIS follows, it is not the Bible—it is the Koran. Moreover, if everyone followed the heart of the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments, we would not have ISIS-driven terrorism. Because Rubio is Catholic, he could also appeal to the Two Great Commandments, as stated by Jesus.
• “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength.”
• “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
It is impossible to follow the Two Great Commandments and justify anything that ISIS has done. If Maher doesn’t get this, he is hopeless.