Catholics in the Voting Booth

Yesterday’s second reading includes this gem from Hebrews 11:13-16,

All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

One of the bloggers picked up upon this theme of being “strangers and aliens on earth,” and rightly applied it to the political context. I don’t agree with the whole thing (in fact, there are many areas on which the author and I disagree), but there was one part I thought summarized the position faithful Christians find themselves in in the voting booths all too well:

The answers on the right are certainly better, as they are more consistent with human liberty, but the reminder that we are strangers and aliens serves to keep us from becoming ideological.

Think about it this way. If you’re interviewing two architects for how to design your dream house within a reasonable budget, and the first one suggests killing your kids to make room and save money, don’t go with that one. That doesn’t really make the other candidate a good architect, though, so you’d be foolish to hand him your keys and go to bed. We find ourselves in this situation politically. Both political parties promise Great Societies in some fashion. As this same post rightly notes a few paragraphs earlier, ” The Left promises social justice and a redistribution of wealth; the Right promises equality before the law and the fruits of a free market.” Both parties want to be architects for our nation, whether you think trying to build a “dream nation” is feasible or desirable.

Worse, the Right hasn’t exactly proven itself to be the perfect cure for the pro-life movement, given its lukewarm (at best) support for the pro-life stances on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research. Couple that with a number of its other stances which many Christians (particularly Catholics) find distasteful, from torture to the death penalty to a variety of economic ideas, and they’re far from ideal. Worse, injustices done in the name of the GOP risk becoming injustices done in the name of Christ if Christians allow the GOP to pretend it operates with a monopoly on the Constitution and Bible (while violating the tenets of both). Still, go with the architect that’s less likely to kill your kids (or in the political context, less likely to kill other people’s kids through abortions, often using your tax dollars). But keep your eyes wide open.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *