Priest preaches principles in election season
Circling the Square
By Ceci Clover, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
August 29, 2012
The following was recently in the Episcopal Church in Jackson Hole’s “Revelations” newsletter. It is reprinted for the “Circling the Square” community because it is witty and thought-provoking, and Father Ken Asel’s timely message cannot be repeated enough.
“It appears with Mrs. Obama’s visit last week, Jackson will now return to political oblivion for the rest of the presidential campaign. I know supporters as well as the curious were energized by her visit as well as that of Gov. Romney last month. Both were not looking for votes, but cash to spend in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Colorado in their quest for victory in November.
“I used to receive every other year something called the Christian Voters’ Guide. I don’t any more and am surprised to realize I actually miss it. It urged me to distribute it to you to assist your electoral choice in the upcoming elections. It matched all the issues of the day with specific references from the Bible (often with considerable imagination) that indicated the only vote possible for a faithful Christian. I remember learning, somewhat to my surprise, Jesus was opposed to low-income housing because it encourages sloth. I sort of figured Jesus, if he had an opinion at all about housing, would have supported the concept.
“Currently, the Roman Catholic hierarchy is encouraging its members to become very active in defending against the war being waged on religious liberty, which it sees at the heart of the Affordable Health Care Plan’s (Obamacare) mandate for preventive care (birth control primarily) and permission for gays and lesbians to marry. Neither the Voters’ Guide nor bishops’ letters specifically endorse a specific candidate, but it is not difficult to figure preferences, even if unnamed.
“It was not that long ago when it was the left, not the right, that ‘put on the mantle of holiness’ to advocate positions and candidates. It does seem to me a quandary for the church that carries the danger of dancing with the devil.
“On the one hand, the world matters. The Bible and Christian tradition are of one voice on that: Poverty matters. War and peace matter. Treating each other ethically and respectfully matters. Christianity is about as political a religion as there is. On the other hand, our current political environment has become so toxic that for President Obama to be right, Gov. Romney must not only be wrong, but evil ... or the reverse. That sort of incivility can become cancerous, permeating all of society, including the church.
“It seems Christians should care a great deal about the social issues that mattered so much and so clearly to our Lord. We should expect to hear a Republican answer to economic privation or a Democratic one, the president’s plan for health care and the governor’s thought for how to do it better, etc. Those sacred principles are what matter to us; the specific solutions are the concern of the voters.
“I hope we can model respect for those with whom we disagree, whether on how to put the nation back to work or the comprehensive plan.
“None of us knows all the answers; to act as if we do is hubris, Biblical pride. Maybe we can model listening and looking for the best in those with whom we disagree. It would be one more gift from the people of St. John’s to the residents of our community. God’s peace.”
Carol Goe wrote about the 50-year class reunion for the Jackson-Wilson High School Class of 1962, which will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept 21, at the Elks Club in Jackson and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Owen Bircher Park in Wilson. All Jackson Hole High School graduates are invited to both events.
The reunion committee includes Dick Martin, Lane Ross, Gaile Meeks, Carol (Foster) Goe, Don Barney and Mary Ann (Ball) Hoffman. Gaile designed the flyer and mailed it to classmates. The local committee has met over lunch at The Virginian and Rafferty’s and has communicated much through email, Facebook and the old-fashioned telephone.
Committee members are looking for Eddie Amschell, Dick Boyd, Eva Dean Bronnenberg, Rosemary Hambrick-Brand, Richard Kerrick, Penne Lantis, Mike Stanton and Stephan Whitmire.
To join the festivities, call 733-3201 by Sept. 12 to reserve meals at the Elks Club for $15 per person and at the picnic on Saturday for $10 per person.
“Fifty years is a pretty big deal,” Carol says, “so we hope classmates, spouses and graduates of other years attend.”
If you have any questions call Dick Martin at 733-3762.
Ceci Clover writes weekly on the doings and doers in and around Jackson Hole. Submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 733-8348.