I have written previously (here) on how both Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama (here), have continued to embrace faith-based politics. This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) added her own promise of pious policies -stating that she actively tries to legislate public policies “in keeping with the values [of Jesus Christ] . . . “The Word made Flesh.”
Many conservative Catholics are likely to disagree given Pelosi’s votes in favor of abortion and against the ban on late-term abortions.
For secularists, the concern is even more significant. It is interesting how many citizens (rightfully) condemn countries like Iran that expressly tie their political and legal systems to Islam but applaud our own leaders in seeking Christian policies.
At the Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill, Pelosi added
“They ask me all the time, ‘What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?’ And one time, ‘What is your favorite word?’ And I said, ‘My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word. And that Word is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word. The Word. Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word.
Fill it in with anything you want. But, of course, we know it means: ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.’ And that’s the great mystery of our faith. He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we’re prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.”
It is certainly true that John 1:14 states, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” The problem is that political and religious leaders seek to define what is “truth” for the country — cloaking their political judgments in a divine rationalization. It also suggests than non-believers and non-Christians may not agree but must adhere to the policy priorities found in “the Word by Pelosi.”
There is an alternative. Instead of promising “we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word,” Pelosi can promise to give voice to the Word in her personal life. Of course, that type of promise of a pious life does not work quite as well at the polls. (Indeed, given Pelosi’s low polling numbers and that of Congress, I am not sure the Almighty wants even partial credit for this situation. He is still trying to spin that whole biblical flood incident).
One can easily dismiss this as just another politician trying to rally the faithful — particularly at a time of record low polls. However, Pelosi is adding her voice to a growing chorus of politicians who want to use the flame of faith to light a fire under their campaigns. You can look around the world to see how dangerous the combination of faith and politics can be.
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