Monday, May 02, 2005


Religion and Politics

I am grateful to Fr. Jim Tucker at Dappled Things for posting his Sunday sermons, especially last Sunday's.

The sermon I sat through yesterday at Sunday Mass was a disappointment. The priest urged parishioners to contact legislators and the governor about reductions in a state-sponsored health insurance program. There were even postcards, pre-printed with the party line, available for the faithful to sign and put in the collection plate. The parish supplied the postage. The priest was only following the lead of his bishop by pontificating on this issue.

My distaste for this clerical meddling in politics has nothing to do with the merits of the health insurance program. I have searched the Gospels diligently and failed to find even one passage where Jesus advised his followers what to think about political issues of the day. Indeed, He went out of his way to avoid doing so, if I read Matthew 22:15-22 correctly. If Catholics want to influence health care in the state of Minnesota, the way to do it is to build hospitals to serve the sick and needy, not to browbeat parishioners into taking partisan political positions.

This political advice from the pulpit is just as disgusting as Senator Bill Frist's remarks on "Justice Sunday" to a rally sponsored by the Family Research Council. The Democrats' threatened filibuster against Bush's judicial nominees is not an attack on people of faith.

Politicians on both the left and the right need to stop claiming divine approval for their positions.

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