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Archive for October, 2012

It seems that the Roman Catholic Bishop of Green Bay has written to the parishes and people of his diocese that certain moral issues facing the electorate could lead to spiritual harm and even put voters’ souls in danger.  He specifically points out, “To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally “complicit” with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

The issues he’s concerned about are: same-sex marriage, euthanasia, stem-cell research, abortion, and human cloning.  Clearly these are moral issues that should be addressed by religious and spiritual leaders.  They touch on issues of what it means to be human and made in the image of God.

What concerns me is that the Bishop has ignored other moral concerns that also touch on what it means to be made in the image of God and to be fully human.  The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, although well worn, is a good place to discover some of those issues.  In this chapter, Jesus discusses those who are saved and those who are not and have put their souls in danger.

Jesus specifically tells His followers they should feed the hungry, offer a drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoner.  Those are all places where a person’s humanity is vulnerable and weakened, thus those who claim the Christian name should seek to care for those in that vulnerable place in their lives.

I know the Bishop knows these things and would encourage his people to practice them. But the Bishop’s statement concerns me because I work for him indirectly.  By elevating the issues he has emphasized, he has in effect missed a potentially larger segment of our communities who will be affected by decisions that will be made as a result of this election.  Namely the poor and mentally ill.

I work for a homeless shelter that takes in hundreds of people every winter.  These are  all people who have no other options for shelter in the midst of cold Midwestern winters that can kill in a deep freeze.  Most of our guests suffer from mental illnesses often for most of their adult lives.  Some don’t remember the last time they DIDN’T live on the street.

Our guests often arrive without proper clothing for the weather, as well hungry and thirsty.  Some are in need of serious medical attention, others have come from prison with no place to call home anymore and no one who wants them around.  It’s a difficult thing when someone tells you there’s no one else who cares if they live or die.

Tomorrow night, we will probably take in 40 people off the streets of Green Bay whose stories would fit some, if not all of that description above.  I only wish the Bishop would use his bully pulpit to highlight these issues of morality to the voting public in the Roman Catholic pews as well.

I rather doubt either political party would fare well under the microscope of what Jesus tells us are the important issues for every community of believers who wish to keep their souls in God’s grace.

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