Politics and Faith
In the aftermath of January 6 and in anticipation of potential additional protests, riots, and mobs we see calls for bipartisanship and memes that speak of how politics should never divide people. Politics are just politics. We should not lose friendships over politics. We can disagree.
I realize people balk at this, but we are all political creatures. We form relationships, groups, based on beliefs, based on needs, based on common goals. That is politics. Thus, politics are the implementation of our ethics, the actions (policies) that come from the public values we hold. If I value honesty, I will seek out relationships that manifest honesty and when a friend breaks that trust, I will amend my behavior in what I do and say to that individual. That is a policy change in a public realm. Ethics are rooted in my personal morals, values. That personal value on trust informs what I prioritize as a public ethic and what is implemented in public action, policy.
We need to examine what values and morals underlie the recent political actions of citizens and officials. We need to honestly address what these values are. Just as when we approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we need to examine our conscience with honesty and humility, so to do we need to examine ourselves in this moment. Glossing over value systems that are contrary to Catholicism – racism, violence, disregard for the common good – cannot lead to legitimate reconciliation and healing.
We cannot deny that there are evils in our nation. Actions, beliefs, and values that are opposed to fundamental aspects of our faith. We must speak against these values, especially when they are truths that are painful. As Pope Paul VI said, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Justice requires us to address the underlying values and morals of the actions and policies we see in our nation. This is the work of each of us. Let us each examine ourselves, our values, our morals and then examine if we act in accordance. Do we speak out against those values and morals opposed to God’s reign? Do we proactively seek to build the reign of God each day?