Monday, November 1, 2010

"Everything has been handed over to me by my Father": Does Christ tell Christians how to vote?

Well, yes and no.

At the same time that He teaches us what is right and wrong, inviting us, for example, to vote for good and urging us to shun and reject evil in the voting booth, the Lord never takes away our freedom to reject His teachings. But that does not mean that we have the option of calling our rejection of His teaching acceptable to Him or equally as Christian as accepting His teaching as handed on by the Church.

It seems to be ever more common today to assume that the Church has nothing to say about social and political issues and that, when she does, she is somehow taking away freedom or violating a mythical “wall of separation between Church and state” which does not now nor did it ever exist. The Church exercises the sovereign freedom of Christ the Lord to teach the world, in season and out of season, about all matters of faith and morals. This is a duty and a grace demanded by Christ and the Church does not have the option to neglect or reject it under pressure. This is the reason why there have been so many martyrs throughout the Christian millennia.

Christ makes demands upon people as to how to live their lives. This is why we have Ten Commandments, and not ten suggestions. This is fundamental to Christianity and the Church does not have the power to change it. No one does.

Being Christian, for example, means refusing to apply the phrase "Holy Matrimony" to anything other than a lifelong, exclusive covenant relationship open to new human life between one man-husband and one woman-wife. Doing so is not at the same time a rejection of or a violation of the rights of anyone who chooses to reject that teaching either in his or her words or actions. To say so is an unjust slander. But rejection of the teaching does have consequences for someone who wants to be a Christian. That is why repentance and reparation are part of the dialectic of Christian conversion. To love Christ I must put off the "old man" and put on the "new". I must change my life to reflect and further God's love which is a grace and thus comes from God and not from me.

There are certain actions which are always sinful and the Church passes on the teaching of Christ in this regard in order to serve the dignity of every human person. It is not God or the Church or her teaching on faith and morals which undermines and destroys human dignity but sin. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we can have no other.

Vote on Tuesday.


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