Sunday, August 23, 2009

T'ain't Easy

It’s not easy being Christian. Or, as Molly McGee said to her husband Fibber on their radio program many years ago,” T’aint easy McGee”. No. it isn’t. Christ never said it would be.

The hard and fast rules of Christianity are sometimes difficult to accept in a culture that can best be described as “ whatever works ”. Opposing abortion and the death penalty, for example, will not win you many friends and alienate some you have, many of whom, surprisingly, might be Christians.

To be Christian means to belong, through Baptism, to a church founded by Jesus Christ, Son of God, It means to believe and obey all that Church’s doctrines based on Christ’s teachings which carry the responsibility to preach them and transform the world.

The current town hall meetings filled with shouting, angry citizens got me to thinking. What does it mean to be a Christian citizen? How do you faithfully follow the tenets of your faith and, at the same time, obey and accommodate those laws or challenge possible reform that does not respect life?

While many objected to the now proven false “ death panels” in the health care reform bill, the protests at their core were manifestations of responsibilities as Christians ( and non-Christians, to be sure)

OK. So far so good. But, what does a Christian do when a politician, seeking public office, does not openly proclaim opposition to either abortion, the death penalty or the “death panels” when that rumor began.? Can a Christian vote for such a politician? The simple answer is “yes” if the purpose of the vote is, obviously, not to promote any of those barbaric acts.

The flip side is that a Christian may choose not to vote because the candidate may support abortion or the death penalty or some other intrinsic evil, such as embryonic stem cell research or euthanasia, aka “death with dignity”. Although we shouldn’t be one issue voters, it is possible and permissible.

But, it really doesn’t end there. The Christian citizen has a serious moral obligation to participate in political life so that evil laws are changed. It is heartening, then, to see these town hall meetings however raucous they may be.

What does it mean to be a Christian politician? Ah, that’s a lot tougher than just being a Christian.citizen.After all, a Christian politician is also a Christian citizen.Christians are called to bring truth to political life. The people who make laws also have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good. Not a popular concept.

Hearing all this, there are those who will scream First Amendment, separation of Church and State! Nonsense. Fulfilling responsibilities as Christians is not establishing a national religion. It is, quite simply, living the faith as Christ commanded us.

Responsible citizenship, then, is a virtue and participation in political life is a moral obligation. That does not mean we should all run for office. Rather, at the least, we should raise our voices on matters that affect our lives and the common good. (Of course with more decorum than is being displayed in those town hall meetings)

It is essential, then, that we bring our convictions ( read: our faith) into public life. It is far too common to hear the separation of church and state argument as if our faith is like the good china that we keep at home and only use on Sunday.

Yeah, t’ain't easy, but worth it for the heavenly reward.

Till next time....