Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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No Such Thing as Separation of Church and Politics

inthenews

For Catholics to take a “pro-choice” view toward abortion contradicts our identity and makes us complicit in how the choice plays out. The “choice” in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being. For anyone who sees this fact clearly, neutrality, silence or private disapproval are not options. They are evils almost as grave as abortion itself. If religious believers do not advance their convictions about public morality in public debate, they are demonstrating not tolerance but cowardice.

The civil order has its own sphere of responsibility, and its own proper autonomy, apart from the church or any other religious community. But civil authorities are never exempt from moral engagement and criticism, either from the church or its members. The founders themselves realized this.

The founders sought to prevent the establishment of an official state church. Given America’s history of anti-Catholic nativism, Catholics strongly support the Constitution’s approach to religious freedom. But the Constitution does not, nor was it ever intended to, prohibit people or communities of faith from playing an active role in public life. Exiling religion from civic debate separates government from morality and citizens from their consciences. That road leads to politics without character, now a national epidemic.

Words are cheap. Actions matter. If we believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, we need to prove that by our actions, including our political choices. Anything less leads to the corruption of our integrity. Patriotism, which is a virtue for people of all faiths, requires that we fight, ethically and nonviolently, for what we believe. Claiming that “we don’t want to impose our beliefs on society” is not merely politically convenient; it is morally incoherent and irresponsible.

As James 2:17 reminds us, in a passage quoted in the final presidential debate, “Faith without works is dead.” It is a valid point. People should act on what they claim to believe. Otherwise they are violating their own conscience, and lying to themselves and the rest of us.

Charles J. Chaput
Archbishop of Denver
via Houston Chronicle, October 25, 2004

Analysis:

Though from a Catholic perspective, Chaput makes some accurate statements about the nature of our government, and the responsibility we have to society to “vote our conscience” on the moral matters which trouble our nation.

We live in a society mostly bereft of true conviction. But, conviction is at the core of being a disciple of Christ. We cannot afford to stand idly by as the ungodly establish the parameters of debate on the sanctity of such important things as marriage and the right to life.

I encourage all Christians to participate in the election process this week, and to vote their conscience as Christians.