cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Politics and religion each spark a lot of discussion as individual subjects. Some of that discussion is relatively bland. Some of that discussion is heated and impassioned, especially when the two are combined. We are involved in what seems to me, at least, one of the most volatile and impassioned political seasons in my memory.
This political season has additionally featured a subject that moves it further across the line into the realm of religion; that subject revolves around PPACA (a/k/a ObamaCare) and deals specifically with the mandate that employers offer contraceptive coverage and ‘morning after’ coverage as an integral part of the health coverage for employees and their dependents.
The Catholic Church has opposed this mandate since it is an employer directly and indirectly through churches, colleges and Catholic hospitals. Some Catholics agree with their church and some disagree. Other faiths also have opinions based on their teachings but the Catholic Church has seen itself as being at ground zero given its teachings and it has made no secret of that.
This political season has also had its effect on individuals within congregations, and that has been amplified to one degree or another by the general political climate in Wisconsin after the tumultuous period we’ve come through. While many still harbor strong opinions concerning Act 10 and the recall elections, the presidential race has served to amplify and rekindle those feelings given the two opposing candidates and their positions.
The church I attend has indicated that the church property and its functions are to be ‘no politics’ zones, and that request has been quite carefully observed so far as I am aware, although some tongues have bite marks, I’m sure. We have a mix of political beliefs and ranges of passion across those beliefs. I thought about this as I read of several churches sponsoring candle light vigils on election night and of the Peoria Catholic Diocese ordering that the Bishop’s strongly-worded letter to parishioners be read at all services this week-end.
It is sometimes very difficult to contain our feelings when we feel so passionate about the outcome of the election and the implications if it goes in one direction or the other. By the same token, we can and should also feel passionate about our faith. When these two passions conflict within us, we are challenged to deal with it on two levels. When there is an obvious urging by the Church proper to vote one way or the other, I cannot imagine the internal struggle that is occurring for each person who is passionate about both their political position and their faith position.
The ‘good news’ is this: the high political season is drawing to a close. We’ll have a decision soon; I hope that we’ll know that outcome by the morning of November 7th since to have this drag on as it has done a time or two in the past would be even more challenging. I also, obviously, passionately want this decision to go the way I believe it should. If I am disappointed, I’ll deal with the outcome to the best of my ability. That may require a blog or two as I rationalize…and I apologize ahead of time if that is necessary for me as I work to accept the decision of the nation even though it is contrary to my personal decision. My faith teaches me to obey my governmental leaders even as I might disagree with their directives. It also teaches that I should not gloat if “my” team is elected…and I’ll try to avoid that, too. In either case, I’ll have some work ahead of me, though.