Forget the election chaos, focus on the Kingdom

It seems that this election is speeding up the continuation of our spiral into chaos, anger, and fear in this country. It’s a scandal that conservative-minded people, especially those who seek stability for religious freedom, must vote for a man who is known to express remarkably vulgar sentiments and often seems insincere with his recently acquired conservative positions.

Even worse is that the other option is a person who goes beyond simply speaking of these sentiments by actually seeking to ruin women (and one child) who have come out as sexual assault victims in order to gain political power and wealth. This along with the desire not only for abortion on-demand  up until the moment of birth but also to have tax payers foot the bill. A vote for this option would also be voting in favor of what is essentially a referendum if one is okay with even less transparency in the executive branch and what would likely be a level of corruption that no past presidential administration comes close to matching.

It’s true that voting for the “lesser of two evils” is something that genuinely does need to be considered every election cycle. This is something we do every day in small and big ways. Similar to the situation Aron Ralston found himself in when got his arm trapped under a boulder while hiking alone (and depicted in the movie 127 Hours), it sometimes makes sense to go through pain if you know it increases the odds of a better outcome. Aron cut his arm off with a pocket knife and successfully avoided death.

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But there is a point where the “lesser of two evils” argument breaks down. While I’m not suggesting we are at this point with our two options (as it can be argued), I’m suggesting that political conservatives be careful not to ignore how close it is approaching. At a certain point it’s like arguing if we should vote for the person who murdered 20 people or the one who murdered 18 people. Eventually there will be a line crossed where it makes sense to simply not accept the choices before us.

Alas there is (and always will be) hope despite these dark times. The good news it that we are “resident aliens” in this representative democracy. Our true home is with our Father who art in heaven. And we answer to our sovereign king Jesus Christ whose monarchy spans the universe. Ultimately we have hope for an outcome that rests beyond what happens after this election. The Adversary wants us to submit to anxiety and fear so we lash out, make bad decisions, and are overcome by the world and the political systems that reside within it. Don’t.

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. -Mt 8:24-26

What to make of what’s going on? Well, our country is divided more than ever, people care more about politics than principles, we are a post-Christian nation, and the only institution we have that can match the corruption of our politics is our mainstream news media. All we can do as individual Christians is evangelize, pray, and fast.

No one knows what will happen on November 8 or what will happen after that. What we do know is that we are not made for this world. We are made for heaven. This world is simply the ship that takes us there and as long as we stay aboard through daily conversion, faith in Christ, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Confession and Communion we will one day reach the outcome that no political election can satisfy.☩

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Clarence Thomas’s (Very Catholic) Eulogy at Scalia Memorial

On the heels of the beautiful funeral Mass for Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas gave a eulogy at a memorial service held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. Thomas was a friend, college, and fellow Catholic to Scalia and gave a speech that was loving and humorous. The eulogy also was sure to mention in moving fashion the their shared faith, providing yet more nationally-covered witness to the hope that lies within the promises of Christ. Bravo.

“In a sense, it is providential and certainly not probable that we served together. … He was from the Northeast, and I was from the Southeast. He came from a house of educators, and I from a househould of almost no formal education — but we shared our Catholic faith and our Jesuit education, as well as our sense of vocation. For different reasons and from different origins, we were heading in the same direction, so we walked together and worked together for a quarter century. And along the way we developed an unbreakable bond of trust and deep affection.

“Many will fittingly and deservedly and rightfully say much about his intellect and jurisprudence,” he continued. “But there is so much more to this good man. As one of our colleagues said the other day, ‘He filled the room.'”

Thomas became emotional as he went on to quote from the biography of assassinated Nazi dissenter Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

“With him, a piece of my own life is carried to the grave. Yet —Yet, our eyes are upon Thee. We believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”

“We give thanks to God for the life, the suffering, the witness of our brother whose friends we were privileged to be. We pray God to lead us, too, through His discipleship from this world into His heavenly kingdom to fulfill in us that other word that Dietrich Bonhoeffer used: ‘Non potest non laetari qui sperat in Dominum.’ While in God confiding, I cannot but rejoice.”

“God bless you, Brother Nino,” he ended. “God bless you.”