As the crisis in our nation deepens, we must recognize the culpable role of the Church in bringing this crisis about. Because we have not been people of the Word, the result has been no prophetic ministry to the world. As things get worse, the confusion in the Christian world only appears to be deepening, and many Christians have consequently gravitated to a support for people who have a similar position to ours, on some issues. But there is a fundamental problem with this, and fundamental compromises are always lurking.
In some sense, we must think about politics, but this is not a sign of health. C.S. Lewis put it well: “A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion.”
“. . . Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot . . .” (Luke 6:15). When Jesus choose His disciples, His selection included a truly “odd couple.” Among His disciples were Matthew, or Levi, a man who made his living collecting taxes for the Romans. He was a collaborator. But Christ also choose someone who probably wore his extremely nationalistic anti-Roman politics on his sleeve — Simon the Zealot. It might appear that this was just asking for trouble. But Christ was not trying to build a coalition. He was establishing His kingdom.
So there are two errors to avoid here. One is that identifying Christ’s kingdom with the affairs of this world. The other is that of detaching the relevance of Christ’s kingdom for this world. In order to understand this very complicated subject, we must keep, in the forefront of our minds, a fundamental distinction we have mentioned at other times. There is a difference between separating the Church from partisan politics, which must be done, and separating the world of politics and public decisions from morality (revealed by God, and preached by the Church) which cannot be done. Each one here should be a faithful citizen, family-member, and church-member, and each under the law of God.
As we do this, fulfilling our obligations as citizens, we will find ourselves (at the pro-life march, say) walking in between a member of Agnostics for Life and a Tridentine Latin-Rite Catholics for Life. To sort this out, we have to learn the difference between allies and co-belligerents. In the Second World War, the United States and Great Britain were allies. They were fighting the same enemy, and for the same basic reason. The United States and the Soviet Union were co-belligerents. They happened to be fighting the same enemy, for completely different reasons. It is important to keep this distinction active because in the midst of conflict, co-belligerents can easily turn into allies, and sometimes when they shouldn’t. Christians have trouble fighting in political battles as co-belligerents with other groups, and then turning around and opposing the errors of these other groups. But non-believers are never our allies in the spiritual war.
So, is the Christian faith right-wing or left-wing? Neither. The terms right and left wing originally came from the seating of the National Assembly in France in the time of the French Revolution. While the meaning has changed, it has not changed that much. Right-wing today means slow revolutionary and left-wing means fast revolutionary. The thing which characterizes a Christian political thinking, as opposed to “me-too-ing“ the sentiments of the right or left wing is its relationship to Scripture. As Christians think through what should be considered a crime, and what a sin, the only real issue that matters is their court of appeal. Is that court Scripture, and do they honor that court through careful exegesis?