On False Prophets in Politics
This election year, more than others, has brought back memories of behaviors reminiscent of my high school years. Young teens, caught up in an insatiable craving for social credit. That was a unique social experience for all because we have individual experiences, yet it was the same in its drive to be assimilated into a desirable group. Among those notable young people who by their example uplifted us, there were not too few who, having become aware of a personal gift for influence, were driven to dominate. Some of us experienced the pain of gossip and others the temporary satisfaction of placing false stories where they would damage the most. We learned the power of words to attack, flatter, and progress. Communication with those around us was our daily activity. We were taught facts about the world by teachers, and we learned how to navigate in society from each other.
Our national elections intensify these bad behaviors. There is a desperate need to succeed. A goal has been determined and others have dedicated themselves to a candidate’s success. Winning is the goal. An office is the prize. A chance to influence further whatever agenda is proposed or hidden.
What Do Office Seekers Offer?
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
Secular prophets claim to know what is right and good. Every office seeker claims to want to create a better life for Americans in some way. The details and possibilities are argued, but the stated goal is always the same: a promised better life in return for your vote.
For the office of president, we now have two people who have faults well known to the electorate. A man who’s family has articulately praised him in a way that doesn’t reconcile with his own actions and words. A woman who has shown herself to those she seeks to impress to be a consistent liar and denier of reality. These people have names of course, but I can’t bring myself to mention them. I think it is because if I don’t mention their names, somehow these people will just go away. Sort of like ignoring a bad cold.
It is well-established that we are given a choice of a lesser of evils for the major candidates. They are the only electable ones because of our determination to remain a two-party system. These presidential candidates’ hangers-on create false witness stories to spread in order to gain advantage. Office seekers and their minions have learned the skill of using whatever story is most damaging to an opponent. Outright lies work, but creatively twisting an opponent’s own words into your preferred version can prevent one being called a liar. Exaggeration and insinuation are old stand-bys. Name calling used to be considered too crude, but seems to be coming into fashion by claiming it is the opposite of political correctness. Their hangers-on will benefit as well. Perhaps a repeat of George Stephanopoulos and his forgotten critical book. He gained a new career in television, and millions of dollars, after a stormy association with the Clintons.
What Are the Agendas?
Besides their need for control through political power, their agendas have been generally laid out by their parties’ platforms.
For Catholics, the Republican platform refers to God in many ways, and significantly echos sentiments expressed at our founding. For example, it quotes Thomas Jefferson, “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” This is applicable today, when Christianity is under attack by our government.
There is scant reference to God in the Democratic platform. With them, the federal courts will for decades replace Congress by using the force of law to suppress Christianity, and further destroy family life in order to replace it with governmental control. This path will lead us to where the Soviet Union was after the revolution of 1917. Religion was allowed, but suppressed, and forced to be inferior to the state.
A short comparison between the two is here.
We are going to get one of these two people unless God or violence intervenes–not likely in either case. Both have deep personal flaws. Each set of flaws is different, but hardly comparable to the point of deciding which set is most preferable. We must then look to their stance on issues. I will vote for the man, and I have five main reasons for this daring step:
- The woman will lead the massive numbers who want the destruction of our traditional way of life.
- I am hoping that the man keeps his promise, that he will appoint conservative and pro-life judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
- I am hoping that others will hold him to his promises.
- I see in him, the possibility of his learning and following the example of the betters around him.
- I would prefer the dominant party be the Republican, as their platform is closer to my desires than the Democratic one.
What About the Rest of the Office Seekers?
Meanwhile, at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, many wonderful and hopeful young people of the world celebrate Jesus Christ as the true leader of souls. Back in America, the main political players repeat their personal faults in public to large scale cheers. Lesser public figures also enter the scene. Sometimes for a repeat performance and sometimes an upward reach. These people are often the worst of all. Congressmen and senators and others that profess to be Catholic. It is okay to tell me you are Catholic. It is not okay to tell me with conviction, how much you prefer your own “ism”. It is not okay to show the world that you are a determined sloppy Catholic.
These Catholic politicians are, with their own twist, following the lead presented by John F. Kennedy, our first Catholic president. He managed to convince the electorate that the pope would not have exclusive access to him in the White House. At a time when religion was recognized as having driven our country to its greatness, he only had to reassure a nervous public that Catholics were indeed loyal Americans. He said:
But if the time should ever come—and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible—when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same. (Sept. 12, 1960)
The World Has Changed Drastically and Rapidly Since
That was 1960. Offering to resign over a conflict with conscience was an easy promise to make. Spreading abortion around the world had not yet become the obsession of our government. Marriage was secure in its roots, if not perfect in its practice. We had not yet lost a war. Humanae Vitae had not been written. Vatican II had not begun. The sexual and social revolutions had barely begun.
A major conflict with Catholicism was inconceivable, and predicted by very few.
Our current crop of politicians try to hang on to this same disclaimer of Kennedy’s, but with a decided lack of reason. Reason being also a Catholic virtue. The arguments range from foolish to foolish.
Somehow “public policy” can be grossly different from Christ’s policy. That separation insists that the 5th Commandment cannot apply to abortion because abortion is public policy. This is a pitiful attempt to compartmentalize life into areas of dominion in which God has no say. By what authority do they make this distinction? Is this thinking the result of a well-formed Catholic conscience? This argument is simply a bad argument for bad behavior.
Somehow, because we have a “pluralistic society,” Christ has no right to insist that His word be followed by everyone. Being different is somehow greater than truth. But Christianity is not spread by the sword, it is spread, as Romans 10 says, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” When a Catholic politician refuses to vote for funds to procure abortions, he or she is not imposing faith, but protecting life as much as when he or she votes for funds to buy equipment for police departments. Pluralism does not mean that all persons should be able to do what they want. It simply means that we live among persons who have different wants. We have a single set of laws that governs for the protection of all, not to indulge the individual.
Most transparent of all are the pitiful statements from Congresswoman Nancy Peolsi claiming a revised Catechism. For example, she has said, “same-sex marriage is perfectly consistent with Catholic Christianity.” She presents herself as an authority on Catholicism without referencing the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Magisterium. She does not even try to be clever.
Where Are We Going?
The phrase that comes to mind is, “Going to hell in a handbasket”. This election is probably the most important one we have ever had regarding our basic Christian and American values. We are a divided people; that is expressed in our politics. There are enough false prophets on both sides of the divide. We have come to the unhappy reality that our choice of temporal leaders can be dismal, but we must chose on how close to Christ they unknowingly stand. Without Christ in our public life, we are left with deeply flawed persons who will inevitably succumb to the seduction of evil.