If you listen at all to talk radio, you’ve heard people call in every once in a while and state that “you should stay out of politics” whenever discussing moral or religious issues. Nothing is more irritating and non-sensical as such statements. I’ve heard people identifying themselves as Christians say this. I have to just shake my head in disbelief at this nonsense. Why should politics and morals be separated? Who says? What is the purpose of government? Government is in the business of keeping order in society. Why do we have laws? To prevent you and me from doing what is wrong. Government is in the business of making moral decisions. Is it not a moral decision to have a law against murder, stealing, going too fast past a school? Government makes moral decisions every day.
Since I’m Catholic, I’ll refer to what the Catholic Church says about this subject. The U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference has a document addressing this very issue called “The Challenge of Forming Faithful Citizenship.” Here is a brief excerpt:
The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to us by Jesus Christ. Faith helps us see more clearly the truth about human life and dignity that we also understand through human reason. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ’s commandment to “love one another” (Jn 13:34). According to Pope Benedict XVI, “charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as ‘social charity’” (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, no. 29). The United States Constitution protects the right of individual believers and religious bodies to participate and speak out without government interference, favoritism, or discrimination. Civil law should recognize and protect the Church’s right and responsibility to participate in society without abandoning our central moral convictions. Our nation’s tradition of pluralism is enhanced, not threatened, when religious groups and people of faith bring their convictions into public life. The Catholic community brings to the political dialogue a consistent moral framework and broad experience serving those in need.
If those of us who are moral people do not participate in government or politics, who will, the immoral? Why should moral people not want to shape their government? This makes no sense at all. Those of us who are moral people have a duty to be involved in politics and shape them. Do not the politicians shape our society? why leave it to those who are moral relativists.
I find it laughable when a person call up a radio talk show and says they’re Christian but they want religion and moral values out of politics. What does this mean? I can only conclude that this type of person will only want to exclude those with whom they disagree with and not with anyone with whom they agree with, whether it is moral or not.
In conclusion, if those of us who are moral are not involved in politics, then the immoral will be and they, and they alone will shape our society.