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Christ or Caesar? An Election Reflection

On a Sunday evening during the summer of 2008 I was walking north on Broadway, toward First Baptist Church. A crowd was circling a scene where a street fair had been taking place. I stopped to see what was going on. A man was lying face down and unconscious on the street. The lenses of his glasses were shattered on the pavement. There were NYPD officers crouched beside him.

Another man, broad-shouldered and wearing a tank-top shirt, was standing near me. His hands were cuffed and he was flanked on both sides by officers. A woman, whom I presumed was the wife or girlfriend of the man in custody, was pleading with the officers, explaining in hysterics that the unconscious man had “been disrespectful.”

“Oh, so that make it okay?” one of the police officers sarcastically asked the woman.  “No, but…” and the woman went on to keep explaining in circles that the unconscious man had been disrespectful, to no avail.

Paramedics arrived at the scene. The man who was lying face down regained consciousness. He stood up. Several in the crowd gasped. Blood was running down from the man’s temple to his hip.

A woman, who looked to be in her 60s, was standing next to me. Her mouth dropped wide open at the sight of the battered man. She began speaking her thoughts aloud. “This will stop happening when Barack Obama is the president,” she said.

My thoughts turned to the iconic “Hope” poster of Senator Obama, and to all of the ambiguous talk about “change” during his presidential campaign, all of which had been captivating many millions of my fellow countrymen. 

“Once abolish the God and government becomes the God.” —G.K. Chesterton

I do have political leanings. Becoming a conservative while a Muslim in college was, in fact, a stepping stone toward my becoming a Christian later on. One of the fruits of my own Christian journey has been learning that when we identify the most important thing, other matters begin falling into a more proper perspective, that they need not take an emotional toll which they once may have.

Most all people, religious and irreligious, all across the political spectrum, agree that the world has plenty of troubles. Most of us understand that there are limits to what an individual can do about those problems. 

What are our troubles? Where do they originate from? Which ones warrant our priority? What ought to be done about them? Who, or what, hinders us from fixing them? Is there anyone who can save us from them? Our answers to these vary, depending upon our worldviews. 

Our Christian worldview, insisting upon the grim realism of original sin, insists that only Christ, and the persistence of his Spirit working through us, can rescue our world from the mess we’ve caused. Even our Caesars are in desperate need of Our Lord.

Our Catholic worldview likewise maintains that the Church, having authority to administer the sacraments instituted by Christ himself, shall guide the world until the day of his Return. The Church is greater than any government.

Read more at National Catholic Register

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