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Does politics trump your faith?
If you’re a conservative, then some of you have already allowed politics to trump your faith.
I’m going to preface my comments by first saying that I’m well aware that accusations of “virtue signaling” (a much used, and frankly tired, phrase) and “pearl clutching ” are going to start flying.
I ask you to hear me out with an open mind.
Politics do not revamp traditional notions of etiquette, honor & decency. These things are timeless.
Nor should they come before your faith.
Should Politics Trump Your Faith?
Let’s take a look at what our faith teaches.
The Proper role of patriotism and politics within the framework of loving God first and your neighbor second
In Fr Heribert Jone’s book on Moral Theology, he states:
Love of Their Country, to which they owe protection and the opportunity to promote the common interests handed down to them by their forefathers”. This love for one’s country should manifest itself particularly by the furthering of it’s welfare and by living in harmony with one’s fellow-citizens — one must especially beware of prejuducing the common good in favor of some particular class or clique.”
Two things strike me about this quote.
1) It Is Perfectly Good to be Patriotic and to Love One’s Country
I have heard people opine that we shouldn’t be involved in politics and we should have no allegiance to our country. Those who follow that school of thought tend to advocate not voting or participating in the political system at all.
However, there is good in participating in the political process and voting for those who are more likely to advance Catholic values.
But read further.
2) One Must Live in Harmony With One’s Citizens & You Can’t Favor one Clique over Another
Ah, this is where the trouble begins.
This admonition goes back to the ten commandments where we are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves.
If you love your neighbor, then you will be interested in the good of that neighbor.
This doesn’t mean a country shouldn’t have immigration policies. It should.
It does mean that you will do your best to not disparage your fellow-citizens, no matter which class or clique, and let me add, which race.
It’s not a matter of being honest or a “straight shooter”. It has to do with charity and justice.
We are ALL made in God’s image.
Can we be an Accessory to Sinful Behavior?
One of the nine ways of being accessory to another’s sin is by praise or flattery. So if you defend a politician when he says things that are uncharitable or disparaging, you are partaking in that person’s sin and furthermore, you are giving Catholics a bad name.
When a politician that you admire makes inappropriate comments or says inappropriate things, defending him makes Catholics lose credibility as a whole.
It also doesn’t help the conservative cause.
When Politics Trump Etiquette & Decent Behavior
Scripture tells us that “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.” Douay Rheims, Translation.
What this means is that just because you love a candidate or a President, or just because a President has enacted some policies you like, doesn’t mean you should defend crass language or crass behavior.
It appalls me to see so many Catholics defending the use of bad language or defending the use of disparaging remarks.
And just because some New Yorkers speak a certain way doesn’t explain away the behavior either.
The language is actually less concerning than the attitude.We all know some men curse, but the superior attitude is worse than the language.
In summary, the world is watching how we react to crass or sinful behavior.
It is possible to hate the sin, but love the sinner.
So let’s call out bad things for what they are. It will give us credibility as conservatives.
Never let politics trump our Catholic faith, etiquette or decent behavior.