The presidential election fast approaching was already anticipated to be corrosive to national unity prior to Justice Ginsburg’s passing. Since then, the insults and threats shared even within families are hardly imaginable. In a nation calling itself Christian, how should we respond?
If you are on social media, you’ve probably seen or read videos or articles by religious leaders claiming either, “You can’t be a Democrat and a Catholic,” or, “You can’t be a Republican and a…” fill in the blank. How many times have I heard friends or parishioners privately ask me how any Christian could support one party, party leader, or another? Too many to count, that’s for sure.
I think about what St. Paul and others meant by having “one mind” or “the same mind.” Often we assume that he meant we should agree on everything. Paul can’t possibly have meant that, though, because he and Peter agreed to disagree—to allow Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians to live and believe two separate ways. For Christians to have “one” or the “same” mind, then, is to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5): humility. As John Wesley says on the subject, even the best can err interpreting scripture on either side, but it does not mean that those on either side who err are any less the children of God. It means only that we must be humble in striving to be filled with the Spirit of Christ. We have the same mind not when we agree, not when we conform as a bloc to one political platform or another, but rather when we strive together to love as Jesus loved; that it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us.
As Christians in this political climate trying to discern how to use our political voice, to vote, and engage in dialogue, we must acknowledge that our brothers and sisters “on the other side” have the same goal and aim. We disagree on interpretation, on how to achieve our aim, but our hopes and dreams and prayers for the kingdom of God here in this world remain the same. Let us have the same grace-filled, Spirit-filled love as Jesus had for us as we near November 3rd and accept whatever happens.