Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

11/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Though I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love.(1 Cor 13:1)

When the results of the November 6 election became clear early that evening, I realized it was time not for finger-pointing; it was time for self-examination. 

Deal W. Hudson

Deal W. Hudson

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: campaign 2012, politics, republican, conservative, liberal, democratic, political participation, Deal W Hudson


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic online) - Over the last four national elections, I have led outreach efforts to Catholic voters, specifically those who attend Mass regularly. 

During each campaign, I stressed the political importance of the settled, or non-negotiable issues as taught by the Catholic Church: opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, fetal stem cell experimentation, and religious liberty.

About prudential issues, I stressed that "good Catholics" can disagree, but all should begin their reasoning from the first principles of Catholic moral and social teaching: the common good, human dignity and rights, subsidiarity, solidarity, and the preferential option for the poor. 

I have no regrets about how I led these outreach programs, the teaching of the Church was represented accurately, and the teaching authority of the bishops was always underscored with respect. I do regret those times my own voice became angry or bitter, and I apologize to any and all who witnessed those moments.

Yet, when the results of the November 6 election became clear early that evening, I realized it was time not for finger-pointing about voter fraud, the GOP establishment, Romney's emphasis on the economy rather than social issues, the failure of Orca, the continued alienation of Latino voters over immigration, or alphabetical voter guides issued by state Catholic conferences; it was time for self-examination. 

The moment arrived just a few days ago as I sat listening to a group of national faith leaders discuss "what went wrong" when the country sent the Obama/Biden ticket back to the White House for another four years. I agreed with most of what was said, but much of the tone, the how it was said, turned me off.  I thought to myself, "If I am turned off, then much of America must be turned off as well."

The next day, my son Chip and I met a young man from Texas for breakfast, a new friend who I had grown to like very much over the past year. He asked me what I thought of the meeting the previous day, and I found myself saying something that surprised me:

"You know why people become Christians, it's because of love, God's love. People are burdened with guilt, with their sins and failures. They need and want forgiveness, redemption from the past, hope for the future, they want a happier life and to be with God in eternity." 

"Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavily laden and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28)

My young friend's eyes grew big and his smile even larger; he not only agreed but also had been waiting to hear someone well-established in "Christian politics" say it.  I had not planned to say it, I told him, it just popped out, a product of my own frustration with the way Christians had been presenting themselves and their moral issues to the nation during a political season of historical importance.

But I knew I couldn't just leave it there. I hadn't intended to dismiss, or leave behind, the political effort over the past 50 years to articulate and defend the Christian vision that permeates the American Founding and natural and revealed laws that show us the way to the common good.

Let me put it this way: There is an inherent tension, almost a conflict, between what Christians must do in a political campaign and what Christians do in evangelization. In politics we focus on moral standards, standards of conduct and action; as evangelists we reach out to those whose failure to keep those standards have left them cut off from God and feeling alienated from the Church and its teachings. In politics we insist that people respect and abide by certain moral standards, but as evangelists we call these same people to "come home" even if they have not been living by them, if they have broken God's laws and commandments.

I know what I am saying is subject to caricature as a kind of "faith without works" attitude, but, of course, given more time I would tell, as they say, "the whole story." We enter the Church broken, and over time through its teaching and the grace of the sacraments we learn and we grow; the "works" will follow. 

This, too, is subject to caricature as if I am saying that "sin" is gradually erased from our lives, and, of course, that is not the case. But our sin is a constant reminder of why we gave ourselves to God in the first place, why we need His grace and the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

The humility that is pressed upon us by the constant repetition of sin and forgiveness has no place in our "religious outreach" to voters. This is not a criticism of our political efforts; it's the simple consequence of Christians seeking a goal in the political order, the election of one candidate rather than another, the support of one policy rather than another. 

I'm not suggesting religious leaders should stand at political rallies and qualify every declaration of support for life, marriage, and religious liberty with, "And, by the way, I am a sinner who needs to ask for God's forgiveness every day of my life." That turns a political event into a religious one, or at least creates a confusing amalgam of both. 

The best any of us can do, as Christians in politics, is pay close attention to our tone and our visage: What are we communicating by how we talk and by how we present ourselves to the world? Would anyone of good will who disagrees with us see or hear that we are attempting to share a gift or would they say we are "puffed up" with pride?

It's our way of speaking, and what used to be called "comportment," that reminds those on the campaign trail that as Christians we are not reducing ourselves to advocates of a few moral maxims, no matter how important. Our kindness, patience, and good humor in the midst of political rancor can be witness to the heart of our faith, to the heart of the Church. 

So let it be, going forward!

"Though I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love..." (1 Cor 13:1)
-----

Deal W. Hudson is president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and former chairman of Catholic Outreach at the Republican National Committee.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Politics & Policy

U.S. Presidency is not a 'crown' to be shared by two families, former Governor of Maryland says Watch

Image of Some Democrats have speculated that Martin O'Malley is angling to be Clinton's vice presidential candidate or a Cabinet secretary.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley has taken a swipe at likely 2016 contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush this past weekend. He said that "the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families." Appearing on ... continue reading


Indiana governor defends religious freedom act - says it's not 'anti-gay' Watch

Image of Critics who preach tolerance for the LGBT community should do the same for people of faith, Governor Pence said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enacted by Indiana Governor Mike Pence has been the subject of widespread controversy. Critics say the act legitimizes discrimination against the LGBT community. Governor Pence says the act protects people's ... continue reading


OUT OF CONTROL: During Harry Reid's time in Congress, national debt up an astonishing 15-Fold Watch

Image of During the 32 years that current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has served in the United States Congress, the debt of the federal government has grown $16,955,289,814,977.42.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During the 32 years that current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has served in the United States Congress, the debt of the federal government has grown $16,955,289,814,977.42, roughly equaling an increase of about $145,131 for every household in the ... continue reading


Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security exposed as favoring wealthy 'White House allies,' including Hillary Clinton's brother Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Department of Homeland Security's latest watchdog report reveals the agency's second man in charge, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, repeatedly "played favorites" when it came to well-connected participants in an investor-visa program. LOS ... continue reading


IT BEGINS NOW: Conservative rebel, Sen. Ted Cruz becomes first Republican to announce presidential bid Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Senator Ted Cruz, from Texas, has become the first Republican to announce a campaign for presidency in the 2016 election. Taking to Twitter, Cruz announced his candidacy with a 30-second video message posted shortly after midnight on March 23. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


What is going on here? U.S. threatens sanctions against Israel while making excuses for Iran Watch

Image of Even more trying to Israel would be any lessening of Obama's opposition to Palestinian efforts to join the International Criminal Court. The Palestinian Authority will formally join the court this coming April 1.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What is going on here? Israel, the United States' only clear ally in the Middle East is now facing tough new sanctions from the Obama White House. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Politico's Michael Crowley, "Obama officials must now decide ... continue reading


Large study reveals startling media bias toward Democrats and Obama during presidential elections Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States and international press show signs of strictly favoring the Democratic party. According to the Washington Examiner, a study of 130,213 news articles during the 2012 presidential election shows just how pro-Democratic the news sources were. LOS ... continue reading


Did the Obama administration give a massive amount of money to an anti-Israeli group to keep Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu out? Watch

Image of Is President Obama attempting to overthrow Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Declining to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while he was in the United States earlier this month is one thing, but President Obama may have crossed a line by illegally financing an American nonprofit group that was attempting to keep ... continue reading


Iranian president finds diplomacy with U.S. to be active 'jihad' Watch

Image of Describing his country's diplomacy with the United States as an active

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Describing his country's diplomacy with the United States as an active "jihad," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the diplomatic front is just as significant in advancing Tehran's nuclear ambitions. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rouhani praised the ... continue reading


Match made in Heaven: Hillary Clinton as secretive as Bill Clinton; deletes over 30,000 emails Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the upcoming Presidential election approaches, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton continues to be pressed on the issue of her private email account and private servers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Finally breaking her silence, Clinton has admitted ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 49:1-6
1 Coasts and islands, listen to me, pay attention, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, John 13:21-33, 36-38
21 Having said this, Jesus was deeply disturbed and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 31st, 2015 Image

St. Benjamin
March 31: St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day - March 31) The Christians in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter