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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

California lawmakers run to the aid of communities suffering the worst in drought Watch

Image of The new legislation focuses on obtaining federal funding to get costly water projects off the ground. Feinstein and Boxer's bill pinpoints 26 promising desalination projects in California.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the record-breaking California drought stretches into its fifth year, lawmakers are passing legislation intended to help the communities hardest hit by water shortages. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have both introduced emergency drought ... continue reading


Why two religious Republican presidential candidates weren't invited to a major Christian event Watch

Image of The reason is not as controversial as many speculated.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Some were left puzzled as to why two Southern Baptist presidential candidates from the GOP were left out of a major Christian event; the reason was not as bad as some speculated. According to the official statement from the organizers of the event, the two candidates ... continue reading


Judge threatens to hold IRS chief John Koskinen in contempt for failing to turn over Lerner emails Watch

Image of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was threatened with contempt charges by a federal judge this week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was threatened with contempt charges by a federal judge this week. Koskinen failed to produce, by decree, newly recovered emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the IRS at ... continue reading


Mitch McConnell says he will wipe out Obamacare with simple 51-vote majority Watch

Image of In the waning days of President Barack Obama's presidency, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is vowing to overthrow his signature legislation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the waning days of President Barack Obama's presidency, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is vowing to overthrow his signature legislation. Health care reform, better known as "Obamacare" has been a cause of disagreement with conservatives and ... continue reading


Moves made to oust John Boehner from Speaker of the House position Watch

Image of Rep. Mark Meadows [not pictured] declared his intention a day before the House was set to leave town for its five-week summer recess. Described as a rare procedural move, it's by far the most serious expression of opposition to Boehner's [pictured] speakership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many of his fellow conservatives and Republicans were taken by surprise when North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said he was trying to oust Speaker John Boehner. Many say it's a bad idea, coming just before August recess. Others say such a move could plunge the House of ... continue reading


Ivana Trump hotly denies that ex-husband Donald Trump ever raped her Watch

Image of Ivana Trump, the former wife of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has denied claims that he ever raped her.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ivana Trump, the former wife of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has denied claims that he ever raped her. "I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is ... continue reading


HILLARY LIED! Inspector General says personal emails contained classified information Watch

Image of Only allowed to review a sample of 40 out of the total of 30,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's private email server, four of those emails contained classified information.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hillary Clinton's personal email account "contained classified information when they were generated," "remain classified today" and "should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system." Those are the findings of the U.S. Intelligence ... continue reading


GLOVES ARE OFF: Donald Trump denounces Bush, Walker and Clinton as being beholden to donors Watch

Image of Speaking east of Des Moines, Donald Trump was most concise in his attack upon Walker. Criticizing the Wisconsin governor's handling of his state's economy, Trump accused him of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At a "free-wheeling" press conference, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is putting no cap into the money he is going to pour into his campaign. A self-made billionaire in real estate, Trump denounced Republican candidates Jeb Bush and Scott ... continue reading


Nuns vs. Obama: Obama Administration refuses to exempt Little Sisters of the Poor from regulation forcing them to distribute birth control Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The national debate over the Affordable Care Act is heating up. A Romantic Catholic group of nuns, who manage a nursing home around the world called the Little Sisters of the Poor, continue their fight against the law's debatable contraceptive mandate. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Millions upon Millions of United Kingdom aid money funneled to the Clintons Watch

Image of The Clinton Health Access Initiative spends its funds on improving the treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in the developing world, such as in Africa and Southeast Asia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Influential people, falling sway to a former United States president - and his wife, with eyes on the White House, it was learned that tens of millions of pounds of United Kingdom aid money has been siphoned through charities linked to Hillary Clinton. LOS ... 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, Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:4 "These ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11
3 blow the trumpet for the new month, for the full ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 31st, 2015 Image

St. Ignatius Loyola
July 31: St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guipzcoa, Spain, ... 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