Religion and politics, WWJD and the common good

By Greg Spofford

Chaplain, St. Croix Hospice

How many of us have heard the phrase “Don’t mix politics with religion?” If that was true for the not too distant past, we are now mostly encouraged by our churches and faith community leaders to get involved in the politics of the day. Why has this changed? I suspect that there is a growing realization to the question, “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD) To that I pose this question – “What ‘did’ Jesus do?”

Last week in this same column, Oct. 21, Section B, page 10, our very good Pastor Damen cited Jesus’ response to the leper. Jesus was moved in love, not by fear. Pastor Damen spoke of and I reiterate, that we can choose to welcome immigrants and the elderly, and choose to welcome same-sex couples as human beings, worthy of God’s love and worthy of our love.

Now, good people are going to differ on policy and politics, but how often did Jesus exhort us to “Be not afraid,” and “Do not fear,” within the scriptures that we honor? I continue to question the politics of fear, and move toward the politics of love which it seems that Jesus promoted.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, there are indeed two amendments and many good candidates to vote on this coming election day. Again, it is OK to differ, but let’s make sure we have done our homework to the best of our abilities. Then, let’s get out and vote. If love, and the common good for everyone guides our votes, then I choose to believe we are going to be OK in God’s world.

Finally, I work in the area of hospice – privileged to journey with people and their loved ones as they face the end of this life on this earth and prepare for our eternal home – heaven. What am I learning from them? Life is all about “relationships” — both here and in heaven. One final question I ask as we prepare to vote – “How can we best foster loving relationships, based not on fear, but on love?”

May God bless and keep us, may God’s face shine on us, and give us peace.