Just in time for Christmas—political grudges

Some of my relatives and friends have put nasty warnings on social media that go something like this: “If you voted for——(fill in the blank), you’re not worthy to be my friend or relative, so I’m disowning you. Don’t ever talk to me again!”

Just in time for Christmas.

Even crazier, I’ve seen columnists and newscasters issue virtually the same ultimatum: “You’re not worthy to be my mother, father, sister or brother because of what you did blah, blah, blah. I can never forgive you! Repent before it’s too late!” Politics always brings out the worst in us, but now it seems to have ignited a sort of mass hysteria that eerily reminds me of Dostoevsky’s novel “The Possessed.” Everyone’s screaming, “You’re dead to me!”

For a while, I considered doing the same thing because I could have saved a lot of money by not sending out Christmas cards, but then I gave in to the better angels of our nature and sent out cards with a pro-life message.

I’m convinced many families canceled Thanksgiving get-togethers not because of COVID but because of political differences. Christmas could surely suffer the same fate even though it should be a time for peace on Earth, good will toward Democrats and Republicans… and Independents.

The self-righteous across the land are doing a lot of finger pointing, and it reminds me of the story about the woman caught in adultery, where all the holier-than-thou people were ready to stone her to death until Jesus uttered his timeless challenge, “Let he (or she) without sin cast the first stone.” What’s terrifying is they probably thought they were acting in the cause of social justice.

A debilitating spiritual virus is spreading across the land, which has the side-effect of turning people into Pharisees, many of whom think they’re without sin and are ready and willing to cast the first stone. I don’t ever recall a time so troubled when people condemned anyone and everyone who didn’t think the way they do—not even during the Vietnam era.

Jesus didn’t have much patience for people who went around passing judgement on everyone else. Why? Because judgement is reserved for God alone—not political activists, not televangelists, not college professors and certainly not commentators and columnists.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,” he said.

He also said that before we start looking for the splinter in our brother’s eye, we should go to the ophthalmologist and have him check out the beam in our own eye.

I still remember my father dressing me down when I was passing judgment on my sister for some indiscretion or other. “Take your own inventory,” he growled. It was a piece of wisdom he got in Alcoholics Anonymous.

We’re Christians first, not Democrats or Republicans. Politics is the problem…not the solution. At least that’s my opinion, and I’m freely expressing it until the thought police come to take me away or Facebook or Twitter censor me.

We should always pray for the grace to put Christ the King before any civic authority.

Turmoil erupts when Catholics put politics before what our religion teaches. Political agendas are no substitute for faith.

Over the years, I’ve told my kids that when they go face to face with Christ and have to explain what they did, it won’t strengthen their case to say, “But the New York Times said it was OK!” or “A lot of people are doing it!”

If you want a Christmas with peace on Earth and in your family, then put Christ first and concentrate on your own flaws, not everyone else’s.

One last thought. Look for the good in people, not the bad. In his first inaugural address, newly elected President Abraham Lincoln offered this consolation to the defeated Democrats, many of whom supported slavery: “We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

It’s time to call out to those angels for help