“Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet.” — Maya Angelou
Of course, one could expand this topic to include all Christians. I give it this title because I was sitting there at a retreat for our young people and my daughter. I enjoy volunteering with them because it keeps me fairly young and it keeps me fairly busy. Occasionally, I get to offer some pearls of wisdom to them, but most of the time I just listen.
In this case, I was listening to one of the other adult volunteers and she was talking about life issues. She immediately cut into Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi because they advertised that they were Catholic and yet took stances that took them on the Pro-Choice side of things. I definitely kept my mouth shut there. She did add that she didn’t feel that the church should deny them Eucharist.
We went on to talk about life issues beyond abortion. We talked about the death penalty. We talked a little bit about war. However, the main thrust of the conversation concerned the entire timeline of issues that preserving and protecting life come to. It was a realization that no major political party in the United States supports life at all stages.
I didn’t ask her how she votes and I certainly didn’t volunteer my preferences. However, it did get me to thinking about how someone that considers themselves a dedicated Catholic or a dedicated Christian of any denomination needs to go on election day.
There are really three roads that people can travel on this issue. The old way was one where people did not participate in politics at all. They did not vote. They did not support any particular candidate because there was no particular candidate that held all of their beliefs. This was certainly personally satisfying in a way I’m sure. You could make the statement that you couldn’t support anyone that doesn’t support all of your values.
The trouble there is that if enough people do that then the votes being cast come from people that don’t share your values. Your values are not being represented. Therefore the people representing us in government would not have our values. What values would they have at that point? Would they have any values?
The second tact to take is one where you choose one or two key issues and vote on those issues. I used to have a principal that used the motto, “it matters.” It sounded really good. The upshot was that it all mattered. Everything matters. Except that’s really not true. Everything cannot matter. As harsh as it is to say, if everything matters then nothing matters.
This is why Jesus gave us two commandments. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves and if we love God with everything we got then we are following all of the important rules. If we try to follow all of the kosher laws or try to follow all of the rules of the church we will fail. We are destined to fail anyway, but no one can follow hundreds of laws religiously without fail. It just won’t happen.
The same thing happens when we try to implement a progressive agenda. We bounce to each new thing because we are caring people that care about a lot of things. Except we run into people that care about one or two things. They care about those things all the time. They care about them 24/7 and so they have the patience to wait us out and watch us move onto the next thing. So, some Catholics (and other Christians) have identified those one or two things and chosen to camp themselves there.
The final way to look at politics is simply to vote for who you think is the best person. That means taking issues holistically. It means voting for a preponderance of the evidence in terms of stances and points of view. It means that a candidate might disagree with you on a key issue. In fact, it is almost a guarantee that they will. However, you still vote for them because you know they agree with you more often than they don’t.
As you might have gathered, that is usually the way I go. A number of issues are complicated and so I try and find the candidate I think is the best person. I usually vote for one party over another and those that read this regularly know which one that is. It’s because that party agrees with me more often. My belief is that they agree with the church and my faith more often. Of course, there is always room for disagreement and there is always more than one way to look at things.