Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Christians and Politics: Where do you stand?

October 31st, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

I have been following the Facebook posts of an old high school classmate, Bill Furioso. (We were in the band together, me clarinet and Bill –in the back– on percussion.) Bill is now Director of “At Christ’s Table Ministries”, a non-denominational ministry.

Bill has never voted in an election and he has been posting, during this election, on his reasons for not doing so and why Christians –the Church– should not be mixed up with politics or government (trusting in politics or governments). Bill is serious about living a Christian life rooted in the Bible and I think he makes a reasoned argument –from a strictly scriptural position– for not voting. I am not saying that I endorse Bill’s views. But, I find his and others’ views on this subject interesting and compelling. The Catholic Church has a tradition of promoting the faithful’s involvement in the political process or at least in voting. Below are some links to Bill’s posts. Maybe we can get some (polite) discussion on them or at least some insights to the Catholic Church’s teaching on the subject.

(I hope these links work.)

THE POLITICS OF JESUS: “Many are so conditioned by the mindset of the world that they can’t even envision an alternative way of affecting society and politics other than by playing the political game as it is done by the established governmental system. Some thus conclude that, since Jesus didn’t try to overhaul the political systems of his day by using… Read more…

CHRISTIANS AND POLITICS, WHERE DO YOU STAND? “In the 1980’s, Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson were leaders in the Moral Majority, a conservative evangelical social and political movement that attempted to rally “moral” people to change public policy. The movement died out in the 1990s. In 1999, Thomas and Dobson wrote a book entitled Blinded by Might in which they declare that they shifted their convictions and argued that Christians should not try to change culture primarily by influencing the political system. They should rather… Read more…

JESUS AND DEMOCRACY: “Question: I’ve heard that the reason Jesus didn’t speak up on political issues was because he didn’t have the benefit of living in a democracy. Since we do, don’t we have a duty both to God and our country to be involved in politics? Answer: If the reason Jesus didn’t speak up on political issues was because he didn’t live in a democracy, how do we explain the… Read more…

KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD AND GOD’S KINGDOM: a video clip posted by Bill (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHNlxOlNX6A&feature=youtu.be)

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14 Responses to “Christians and Politics: Where do you stand?”

  1. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Linking to someone who promotes not voting? Bernie, I love you, but what is going on here? According to our bishops, we have a grave obligation to vote and to take it very seriously. To open such a question like this is a just not right.

  2. avatar BigE says:

    I love it when I can agree 1000% with Ben. 🙂

  3. avatar Jim says:

    Bernie, Hillary Clinton already has it in for the Catholic population. We don’t want to help her to do any more damage by not voting. Express your constitutional right!

  4. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Sorry, Bernie. I agree with Ben, BigE and Jim. I hope you’ll take it down.

  5. avatar Bernie says:

    Wow! I must say I am surprised by the irrational comments!
    Perhaps you all could step back for a moment and consider what I asked in the post: What is an argument for voting and for being involved in politics? Of course the bishops tell us to vote! Are any of you capable of stating the reasons why the Church advocates for the faithful’s participation in political? Should I tell my friend that Catholics don’t have any response? Good Lord, you folks have no answer to the arguments laid out in the links? You’re not capable of discussion? You disappoint me. I’m sure my friend is shaking his head in disbelief. Passing up an opportunity to explain the Catholic position -wow! He probably thinks Catholics don’t have any arguments. They just do what the bishops tell them to do! Maybe he’s right.

  6. avatar snowshoes says:

    Bernie,

    Us Catlicks pray in the Our Father: …Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. St. Paul and St. James speak of the works of faith, run the race, hold out to the end. Every time Jesus refers to judgment it is in terms of acts done in cooperation with the Father’s Will. Actual grace assists us in the moment to know God’s Will. Government in the Old Testament and New Testament are simply to order the daily lives of us critters so that we may live holy lives. Send your friend to the Catechism, etc, etc. Voting is a duty of the virtues of Charity and Justice. Ss. Maximilian Kolbe and JPII, pray for us.

  7. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Sorry, Bernie, I didn’t realize that you were having trouble answering your friend and looking for help. First of all, I’d suggest your friend look at the political platforms of both parties. Anyone who can read those side by side and not see a moral imperative to get involved ought to stay out of the voting booth.

    However, if someone is sincerely looking at Scripture and looking only to that source for whether or not to “get involved” I suggest the following points for discussion:

    1. Am I my brother’s keeper? You bet I am; God’s answer seems clear. Anything we can possibly do to keep a candidate from going to hell based on, e.g. her propensities to advocate for infanticide seems worth doing.
    2. If Jesus found it reprehensible not to give water to a thirsty person, or food to a hungry person, just imagine how much more reprehensible he would find our ignoring murders in the womb of the innocent and unborn.
    3. The Good Samaritan provides a model for “getting involved.” We aren’t likely to find bodies on the side of the road today, but the castaways of the political system and of man’s inhumanity to man certainly cry out for involvement, whether it is a donation to an earthquake stricken area or trying to stop persecution of Christians in the mid-east. Action in isolation is usually ineffective action. Involvement for us means dealing with the resources available, including the political system.
    4. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s …. Christ said it; we should do it. Without the Christian view in the public square, the slide down the slippery slope is even faster, to the demise of its victims. Voting, influencing selection of candidates are the things of Caesar, but Christ doesn’t say to ignore them, or to handicap our brethren to inaction.
    5. Christ did not differentiate whom He helped by whether they were with the government or not — tax collector, centurion, governor of the province. He did not refuse to participate in a civil trial even though unjust, or in being executed by the state.

    This list is just off the top of my head, and hardly exhaustive; it just seemed so unlikely to me that anyone who claims to be interested in scripture would ask you such questions sincerely looking for answers.

  8. avatar Bernie says:

    Wow!I’m stunned!

    I don’t think you folks even bothered to glance over the material in the links. You are coming at me like I’m some kind of traitor or heretic. I said in my post that I was not endorsing the views in the links. I thought this was an interesting and timely topic to explore; an opportunity to engage a different point of view and to visit or revisit the Church’s reasoning in an election year when many of us are having difficulty deciding what to do. “Send your friend to the Catechism, etc, etc,” Nice way to flip me –and him– off.

    I’ve been with Cleansing Fire since almost the beginning; I think longer than anyone else still active on here. I must say again that I am stunned.

    I’m done!

  9. avatar snowshoes says:

    You put two different questions there, Bernie. You link to protestant speakers who have political views that are radically different to Christian/Catholic teaching on our duties as members of the community of Man, and our duty to the common good, from the time of Christ on, and you are offended by concise and charitable responses? How could you be offended by Diane’s kind and erudite response to you?

    Oh well, I’ll keep you in prayer, maybe you’re just a Cleveland fan… Remember, the Amish and Mennonites etc. may seem like nice people, and some are, I suppose, but it is a closed, very oppressive system. They expect the Catholic boys to go die in the war for them while they reap the benefits of a peaceful society. Not very nice at all… This is the bottom line, so if you detected an edge in our responses, it is because there should be. Cowards to go the very pit of Hell. St. Faustina, pray for us.

  10. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Bernie,
    My apologies – I really didn’t know where you were going with this. I reread it and still find the original a little confusing. eg:

    I find his and others’ views on this subject interesting and compelling.

    It sounds like you’re saying that, although you disagree with him, his argument may be on equal ground. Combine that with all the comments being put out there about how disgusted everyone is with our choices (yes, but one will continue making this country *much* more disgusting than the other) and I think someone could legitimately not understand what you were looking for here.

    Again, my apologies. I’m sorry I accused you of something you didn’t intend to say, but perhaps you could make the original post clearer?

  11. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    btw – I know I’ve written much more confusing things over the years (and probably downright stupid things) so I don’t mean to imply I have any room to talk here.

  12. avatar BigE says:

    @Bernie
    As Catholics, we are responsible to help better the “common good” ie help our brother/neighbor where we can, which would include the voting booth.

    CCC 2239: “It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.”

    CCC 2240: “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country”

  13. avatar emmagrays says:

    Yes, I did vote and have since becoming eligible.I consider it part of my Christian duty to try and make the world a better place through the ballot box, when possible.
    That being said, neither presidential candidate could be even remotely considered stellar. It was more a matter of choosing the one whom we hoped would do the least harm.
    I’m sure Bernie’s friend feels very strongly about his position, but I have to disagree with his basic premise. And, given his decision not to participate in the electoral process, I only hope he does not complain about the outcome.

  14. avatar emmagrays says:

    I sincerely hope that Bernie does not mean he is done with Cleansing Fire. I have found his architectural posts educational as well as interesting reading.


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