Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Civic Responsibility as Christians

Father Frank Pavone is a contributing writer to the Washington Post's On Faith column. This is only a part-time gig for him though. His day job is the national director of Priests for Life, the largest Catholic, pro-life organization in the country, a man truly doing God's work.

In his February 23rd article entitled Walking tightrope of religion and politics, he talks about the proper perspective the discussion of religion should be given in the political debate. For me, the "ah ha" moment in his article is the sentence,

"Religion isn't just private. Beliefs have consequences on public policy, morality, and the safety and rights of citizens."

How many times have you heard someone say, "Religion is a private matter between me and God"? (seems the Governor of New York just used that one recently)  It's a particularly American attitude, isn't it? We are, after all, the ultimate individualists. But is that what we are really called to do as Christians? Are we really supposed to just be sitting at home on the love seat, being satisfied that we supposedly have a "personal relationship" with Jesus? See James 2:14-26. Maybe we've forgotten that we are called to be the salt and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Ultimately, it's your responsibility, people, to take a stand for what you believe in, to put your faith into action.

Why don't more people do it? That is an interesting question. The fact is that a lot do! But more need to. To me, the problem is ultimately rooted in the misinterpretation and ridiculous misapplication of the concept of separation of church and state. Do you think the founders envisioned their democracy stripped of any semblance of its Christian roots? Did you ever think that you'd live to hear the President of the United States would say that America is NOT a Christian nation?

How about students being suspended for having a rosary at school? An American university attempting to implement a policy that defined religious discrimination as Christians oppressing non-Christians? In many cases the ludicrous has become the norm. Many Americans have allowed themselves to be sold a bill of goods that to hold a religious conviction and to speak on it publicly (other than in Church) is somehow un-American, is somehow infringing on the rights of other Americans. Seriously?

The bottom line is this, beliefs DO have consequences in society, STAND UP for yours, take action, participate in the process, love your neighbor as yourself and above all, by the Grace of God "...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."

Think about what may happen if you don't.

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