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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


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


Comments


More Politics & Policy

ENROLLMENT ZERO: No one signs up for Obamacare in Hawaii - NO ONE Watch

Image of Suppose they gave universal health care - and no one came?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Suppose they gave universal health care - and no one came? That appears to be the case in Hawaii, where Hawaii's Obamacare Exchange enrolled a grand total of ZERO - simply no one, people during its special enrollment period. While Hawaii's enrollment was a ... continue reading


ANOTHER LIE: Hillary Clinton's email scandal grows Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hillary Clinton is caught in another lie regarding her private email account usage. According to the New York Times, Clinton used more than one private account while serving as secretary of state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The news of another private email ... continue reading


President Obama seeks to end immigration enforcement on part of local police Watch

Image of President Obama hoped to rebut the notion that he is insensitive to the plight of police officers on the front lines.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama, while in Camden, New Jersey, said that in order for local police to rebuild trust within their communities, immigration enforcement must be taken away from state and local police and remain strictly the domain of federal law enforcement. ... continue reading


The Clintons have earned WHOPPING $25 million to deliver speeches since last year Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton has made $3.2 million from the tech sector. One of her last speaking gigs on the paid lecture circuit; she addressed an eBay summit aimed at promoting women in the workplace. Her 20-minute chat garnered a $315,000 check.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former first family, the Clintons, at one time claimed they were broke. If so, this was before last year, when both Bill and Hillary delivered 104 speeches for a total of $25 million. Hillary Clinton is especially popular with high-tech firms, who eagerly shell ... continue reading


President Obama cracks down on military equipment for U.S. law enforcement Watch

Image of Making his announcement in Camden, New Jersey, the president praised efforts by the police department to improve their relationship with a poor community struggling with violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. President Barack Obama gave law enforcement a dressing down this week - literally. Obama has placed new restrictions on the amount of combat-style equipment local law enforcement can use. The gesture is intended to smooth over relations with racial ... continue reading


'Iraq is the biggest disaster in American history,' former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declares Watch

Image of Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright believes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke plainly when discussing the ongoing Middle East crisis. "Iraq is the biggest disaster in American history," Albright declared late last week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I have believed that Iraq is the ... continue reading


Somebody's 'Mook?' Hillary Clinton's campaign manager interned for George Stephanopoulos Watch

Image of Yo, Mook!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

George Stephanopoulos is in hot after currently donating to the Clinton Foundation. Adding to the web of deceit, it was discovered that Stephanopoulos thanked Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook in the acknowledgement section of his 1999 tell-all ... continue reading


'Net neutrality' may lead to online content control, FCC commissioner warns Watch

Image of FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai warned on Fox News Radio's

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Censorship by any other word is a threat to freedom of thought and speech. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai warned on Fox News Radio's "The Alan Colmes Show," that the government taking control of the infrastructure of Internet with "net neutrality" will lead to ... continue reading


LIES, LIES, LIES! How will George Stephanopoulos be held accountable? Watch

Image of George Stephanopoulos is a former Bill Clinton representative and aide. His ties to the former first family are everywhere.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a lie - followed by another lie. ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos says he is sorry, but somewhere along the line, he must be held accountable. Stephanopoulos contributed to the Clinton Foundation without full disclosure to the network or ... continue reading


Rubio blasts Obama for making the U.S. weak and damaging international relations Watch

Image of Florida Senator Marco Rubio is one of the GOP candidates most likely to win the presidency, and has been hard on Obama's foreign policy choices.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York on Wednesday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential hopeful, blasted President Obama's handling of the military, claiming that America's ideological and military strength has seriously ... 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, Acts 25:13-21
13 Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 [Of David] Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:15-19
15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 22nd, 2015 Image

St. Rita
May 22: St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, ... 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