Just a Pinch of Incense, 2016 Style
I ran across comments attacking the Little Sisters of the Poor over their lawsuit against the Obama administration concerning the contraceptive mandate. The derision comes from people who say that it is a lot easier to check a box than to fill out paperwork for a lawsuit.
That argument is remarkably similar to the one used by pagan Roman officials who argued that all a Christian needed to do was "burn a pinch of incense" before the state altars--that is, make a token acknowledgement of the values of the State.
The problem was, the pinch of incense was not a mere gesture. It meant that the Christian was acknowledging the "gods" of Rome as equally valid as the God worshipped by Christians. No Christian could do that without being unfaithful to their beliefs.
Similarly, the "checkmark" is not a mere gesture. It is an action that makes the Little Sisters empower another group to do evil on their behalf. They cannot do this without being unfaithful to the God they profess to follow.
In neither case can Christians accept the "accommodation" the State offers. It is no accommodation at all. It is an attack on Christian belief and practice.
Rank Hypocrisy from the Rank and File?
Consider Tobit 4:15... "Do to no one what you yourself hate." I think we can apply it to cheering tactics we deplore when applied against our foes. Remember 1 Corinthians 13:6... Love "does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth."
I am saddened when I witness Catholics respond to the election news. I see Catholics who deplore the rudeness and racism of Donald Trump respond with racism and rudeness. I am dismayed to see people who denounced violence at Trump rallies sneer when it comes to Trump having to cancel his appearance at a rally because of unrest.
I must ask these Catholics: If you recognize that what Trump does is wrong, why do you respond in kind and rejoice when he suffers the same? Schadenfreude is no Catholic virtue!
One can justly oppose Trump's ideas, rhetoric and tactics (in fact, I do). But when one embraces them or rejoices in them when directed against him, that is not Christian witness to virtue. It's rank hypocrisy. Let's remember that, as Christians, we are called to witness the Kingdom of God in all aspects of our lives.
Tying it All Together
Both of these cases strike me as coming from an attitude of "do good to my allies and harm to my enemies." In other words, do what benefits me and to hell with you if you disagree.
To which, Our Lord Jesus replies, "For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?" (Matthew 5:46-47).
All people are called to seek out the truth and to live it when discovered. That means discarding false slogans and ceasing to use/cheer immoral tactics even if they seem to benefit us.
Now, we cannot compel people to choose good. We can only strive to create just laws and seek to show people why we ought to live rightly at the level they can understand. Sometimes people will refuse to listen. But let us reject the tactics of the World to achieve our goals. Otherwise they will simply see our beliefs as partisan and will not see the Truth Who powers them.