Should Our Faith Leaders Be More Involved In Politics?

Should Our Faith Leaders Be More Involved In Politics? May 17, 2024

Should Faith Leaders Be More Involved in Politics? – Courtesy of VOA

There is no doubt that society needs more of God’s presence in the world. There are many times we may feel that today’s society is Godless, but as Catholics, we know He is always there with us and at work in our lives. Unfortunately, each generation seems to be moving away from God as opposed to towards Him. Yes, we are charged to “live our faith” and in the words attributed to St. Francis, “preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words!” Are our faith leaders doing enough in helping politicians include God in their decisions? Let’s take a look.

Where Are Our Faith Leaders?

To be honest, their presence in politics in general is not welcomed. I believe this is due to the fact that the very large majority of politicians tend to pander to their constituents in an effort to garner more votes. I don’t think that many politicians want to be viewed as “people of faith” because it may cost them votes from those that do not believe in, or have their own vision of God. What’s clear is there are many decisions made in politics today that go against our faith values, and those that do not believe what we as people of faith do, are often shouted down and our opinions trashed because we don’t “go along.” I have personally encountered situations where “people of faith” have become too comfortable with what society teaches us:

  • At a Jesuit retreat I was surprised to see how many people were comfortable ignoring a politician’s stated position on abortion, even though the opposing candidate was speaking out loudly against it. I struggled to reconcile their votes with their faith.
  • There have been many times at formation events that we were lectured about the “immorality of walls” on campuses that were – protected by walls.

I get it, we are all hypocrites in some ways, but my expectations in both situations was clearly out of step with many of my colleagues who were faith-filled people. In my view we as Catholics have become too comfortable with views that oppose those of our faith. While we hear from Pope  Francis on a somewhat regular basis, I believe there is a leadership gap in too many locations that need more of a Catholic leadership presence.

Faith leaders must make their voices heard and be more active in politics to ensure our values are included in legislation – Courtesy of Gulf Today

What Happened to Free Speech?

On Sunday, May 12th, Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Harrison Butker gave the Commencement speech at Benedictine College, a small Catholic college in Kansas. Butker, himself a Catholic, spoke about gender, abortion, euthanasia, and IVF. Butker called Pride Month a ‘deadly sin’, wasn’t supportive of DEI initiatives, and suggested that “women find more fulfillment through getting married and having children.” Butker’s positions aligned with the Catholic teaching, yet the backlash by many has been brutal. He has been ostracized for being “woefully out of step” with America and has been under attack by many on the left.  The National Football League (NFL) was quick to distance themselves from Butker’s comments.

Some Catholics have been supportive of Butker and his views, although statements of support have dwarfed the backlash he has received. He also chided Church leaders in his speech as not being vocal enough concerning our beliefs.

Bishop James Johnston (Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph):

“Harrison Butker’s passion for his Catholic faith and his family are beautiful and well known. And like most people, he also has strong opinions on where we are as a Church and as a nation. The Catholic Church believes that God calls everyone to pursue holiness no matter what path they take. As St. Paul notes, that diversity of callings and vocations is essential to the life and mission of the Church. I support Mr. Butker’s right to share his faith and express his opinions — including those that are critical of bishops,” he said.”

Father Donald Calloway (Marian Priest):

“I loved the speech!”

“His speech was inspiring and what the woke culture needs to hear. He exhibited real, authentic Catholic manhood. Good for him. I have no problem with anything he said. I wish more said it, especially clergy. God bless him. I look forward to meeting him. I loved it so much I went out and bought his jersey!”

Bishop John Strickland:

“it is no surprise that some are reacting with extreme negativity, too many today hate the truth and merely want ‘their’ truth, which is not truth at all. You are in my prayers.”

Bill Donohue (President of the Catholic League):

“His courage and his commitment to Catholicism is laudatory,” Donohue wrote. “A heralded Catholic football player defends traditional moral values at a Catholic college — how novel — and within no time he’s being bashed all over the place. Had he endorsed transgenderism, or Hamas, he would now be praised to high heaven.”

Kristin Hawkins (President of the pro-life group Students for Life of America):

“If you watch one video today, this should be it. This is an important reminder that ‘being Catholic’ alone doesn’t cut it.”

My question is why haven’t other prominent Catholics, especially members of the clergy, the Vatican, and the Pope not spoken in support of this man? I believe these comments should be mainstream coming from the clergy as well as prominent Catholics and lay people, but the lack of support is deafening. This is a prime example of why we need our faith leaders more actively involved in politics. Granted, the mainstream media (MSM) in general is not supportive of our faith views, but I do not believe that there are enough voices sharing these views and forcing the media and people in general to listen. As a society, including many Catholics, we have become too comfortable with our views being suppressed. This then translates to legislation that is not supportive of our views. Butker stated in his comments at the address:

“Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally. He has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies that I’m sure to many people it appears that you can be both Catholic and pro-choice,”

Well said Mr. Butker and thank you for being a voice in the wilderness. Do you agree with Butker’s statements? Do you feel that Catholic leadership needs to be more actively involved in politics and be more of a voice in society? Have you experienced backlash for voicing your Catholic views in person, online, or in private gatherings? Please share your experiences. All comments are welcome and I will respond to each one.



About Dennis McIntyre
In my early years I was a member of the Methodist church where I was baptized as a child and eventually became a lector for the church. I always felt I was a very faith-filled person, but that something was missing. My wife is Catholic and my children were baptized as Catholic and this helped me to find what I was looking for - to be part of something so much bigger than myself walking together with Jesus. I was welcomed into the Catholic faith and received the sacraments as a full member of the Catholic Church in 2004. I am a Spiritual Director, and very active in ministry serving as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister in addition to providing spiritual direction. I have spent time working with the sick and the terminally ill in local hospitals and Hospice Care centers and found these ministries to be very difficult, but extremely rewarding. You can read more about the author here.
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