Earlier today, I read Fr Patrick Henry Reardon’s pastoral letter “This Year’s Election” (you can download the pdf here). Like Fr Patrick, if it is at all possible I avoid discussions on partisan politics. The only exception is on those issues where the Church has clearly spoke. I think Father has identified three of these areas.
First, the origin of human rights. These, since they come directly from the hand of God, are determined by the moral law. That is to say, no political institution can give citizens a right to do something wrong—not the Constitution, not the Congress, not the Supreme Court.
Second, the unborn child in the womb has an absolute right to be born. This right, which comes from God, is subject to no qualifying circumstances, including the conditions of the child’s conception and the health of the mother. One may not murder an unborn baby. A baby in the womb has the same right to life as its mother and her doctor.
Third, marriage is the union of a man and woman. This principle, rooted in God’s creating act, can be altered by no decision of any institution or agency of government. No one can be given a right to do a wrong. Whatever name is conferred upon it, state-sponsored sodomy is an abomination to the created order. It is a radical offense against the divine Logos.
Unfortunately, this puts the Church in a more critical posture toward the Democratic Party. We shouldn’t however assume from this that the Republican Party is somehow the “Orthodox” choice or that its policies are exempt from criticism. Much less can we assume that one party and not the other has received the Church’s blessing. In fact,
About policies—most questions of political concern—we may expect some legitimate disagreements among Christians. Among these we should include questions about the application of civil punishments, the funding of public education, the tax code, the authority of federal agencies, this or that social program, and so forth. These matters, properly governed by prudence, leave much room for legitimate disagreements among Christians.
But, there are “matters on which there can be no legitimate disagreement among Christians.” And this places Orthodox Christians I think in a difficult position. Continue reading