If every Christian in the United States were to defend the truth about the human person, just imagine the difference it would make. Considering that roughly 80% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, the difference would be substantial. Millions of lives lost to abortion would be saved; the marriage culture would improve; the poor would be cared for; and parental rights and freedom of religion would be preserved from today’s threats. If you could contribute to such a transformation of our country, surely you would agree that your voice counts.
But what if you could not contribute to such a transformation? What if you were the only person in the United States who bothered to defend God-given truths? What if you never saw one good outcome as the result of your hard work? Would your voice still count? It depends on who is doing the counting.
There was once a man named John who understood the sanctity of marriage. John loved the truth given by God more than he loved his friends, his reputation, and even his own life. When a certain king transgressed God’s laws of marriage by marrying his brother’s wife, John bravely told him, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18). And what was the result of John’s courageous proclamation of the truth? He was put in jail and eventually beheaded (Mark 6).
According to the world’s standards of success, John’s voice did not count. The worldly leader did not heed his voice, but silenced it. But the real effect of John’s proclamation of the truth is known to God alone. Only God can count the number of hearts inspired by John’s courage (hearts both in his own day and all those who have heard and read of him since). And only God, after considering John’s witness to the truth, can reward him with happiness for all eternity.
So let us take courage and proclaim God’s saving truth and love at all times. We may witness a great transformation of our country. We may not. But God always calls us to live, love, and share the truth. God always sees the results. And sometimes He even allows us to see them too.
What political issues matter most to you? Often, our own experiences shape our personal hierarchy of issues. For example, if you are an immigrant, you may consider immigration reform to be the most important political problem. Or if you are a teacher, your first concern may be education reform. And so on. Although there are many admirable causes throughout the political arena, we must recognize that some issues are objectively more important than others.
The most important issues are those that express non-negotiable principles. A non-negotiable is a principle about the human person that is true always, everywhere, and for all people. The following four non-negotiables are under attack and in need of defense today:
When we enter the voting booth or participate in other ways in the political arena, we have a responsibility to defend the non-negotiable principles before we consider the best way to deal with issues that are negotiable.
If we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? - Mother Teresa
Every person has the right to life from conception until natural death. This right flows from the dignity given to each person by his Creator. Human dignity reminds us to respect the inherent goodness of each life, regardless of circumstances.
Sadly, many people in our country have lost sight of the inherent dignity of every human person, and the right to life of the most innocent has been trampled. Although the battle for human life takes place on many fronts, here we would like to highlight the importance of action in the legislative sphere.
Laws influence the way people think and behave, for good or ill. Creating laws that defend human dignity and eradicating those that devalue human life will both limit the number of innocent persons murdered and also raise awareness about the inherent goodness of human life. Please take the time to contact your representatives and ask them to support the right to life from conception until natural death.
What is marriage? In a society that is undecided about the very definition of marriage, an age-old institution, this question needs to be speedily and thoughtfully answered. Marriage can be a complex topic because it intersects many areas of our lives: it is a human relationship, a religious institution, a sacrament of the Church, a civil contract. Although marriage extends into different spheres of human life, the definition and purpose of marriage remain unchanging.
Marriage is the permanent union of a man and woman for the purposes of mutual support and the raising of children. This unique relationship serves the common good in a way that no other relationship can: it is the place where new human lives come into existence and are raised to independence by their parents. The unique good that marriage offers society can be summed up by the saying, “Marriage is the foundation of society.”
When laws recognize the truth about marriage, they defend and promote the unique goods that marriage offers society, whereas when laws disregard the truth about marriage, they promote the destruction of the foundation of society. If we are serious about promoting the common good, we must defend the true definition of marriage in our laws.
Did you know that parental rights are under threat in our country today? This may be a political issue that doesn’t cross your mind until it affects you personally. But nobody wants to experience the loss of a child to government authorities or a drawn-out process with the courts as the wake-up call that spurs them into action. Let’s be proactive today by recognizing the threats and working towards solutions.
Religious freedom is guaranteed to us by the Constitution and further secured by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Our founding fathers and many judges and legislators after them understood these clauses to prohibit the government from establishing an official religion of the land and to allow citizens to practice their religious beliefs, in public and in private, provided public order was maintained. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 states that the government can only “substantially burden” a person’s exercise of religion if the government has a “compelling governmental interest.”
The good news, then, is that the law is on the side of religious liberty. The bad news, however, is that the law has recently been ignored or has been interpreted in radical ways. The HHS Mandate is a prime example of the government’s disregard for religious liberty. It is time to become informed, raise awareness, and urge our representatives to defend our fundamental right to religious freedom.
All citizens, therefore, should be mindful of the right and also the duty to use their free vote to further the common good. - Gaudium et Spes, 75
It is easy to become so busy with family, friends, church, work, children’s activities, and other commitments that we don’t make it out to the voting booth or make time to call our representatives. But being involved in the political and legislative process is not merely an option for Christians; it is a duty. We have the responsibility to promote the common good—based on the truth about the human person—in our society and in our laws.
So please, make the extra effort to be a responsible citizen. Become informed about upcoming legislation and contact your representatives in support of the non-negotiable issues—life, marriage, religious liberty, and parental rights. And when election season comes around, make sure you know which candidates support the non-negotiable principles, and then get out there and vote!
For more information on Catholics in the public square, please click here.