How Politics, Religious Freedom and Christianity work well together (Christus RexB)


the-three-magi-160632_640Its true that the feast of Christ the King of the universe is very young: but while the feast is new the reality of Christ kingship is ancient.  As Pope Pius XI points out in Quas Primas, it has always been with us.  Firstly in the sense of Christ being king in as much as he is the source of all being.  Anything which exists depends utterly on him for its existence. In this way he truly is Lord and King, the whole cosmos dependent on him to keep things in order.

A second reason he is called king is because he is king of hearts.  Only God loves us perfectly and without limit.  And there is a third reason we call him King: because he says so of himself today.  Yes, I am a king.  I was born for this.

So if Christ is a king where is his kingdom?  As the Holy Father points out, his kingdom is the Catholic Church.  Not surprising really: he started it; he owns it, paid with his own blood; and it is his own body – of which he is the unique head, leading and ruling it wherever and however he wants.  And we love him.

How then can we live out this kingship of Christ practically here on Earth? One way is through our religious freedom.  Freedom of religion is not a gift of the government or the state. It is a fundamental part of being human. A lot is said about freedom of worship these days, but it is important to be very clear about the very massive difference between the two.  Freedom of worship is the freedom to go to Sunday Mass.  That’s it. Freedom of religion on the other hand is my ability to live as a Christian in every part of my life – my work, my study, my family, my participation in society.  So if someone talks about protecting freedom of worship then be aware that they are in fact taking most of your religious freedom from you.  This is not a theoretical idea: Australians have less religious freedom than they used to – we can even say that Australians have less religious freedom than they had last year.  This is an important consideration to make when casting our votes in elections next year:- who is is protecting my freedom of religion?; and who is taking it away from me?

Which brings us to a second point about the kingship of Christ: that truly Christian politicians are unable to set aside their Christianity when representing their people or electorate.  We often hear it said how setting aside one’s personal beliefs is of great service to the nation. While of course it is true service to put the nation’s needs above one’s own, it would be schizophrenic for a politician to set aside who they are in doing so.  After all, no one says Hey, set your atheism aside.  Christian politicians do the nation a disservice in doing so: we do not vote for an idea to represent us – we vote for a thinking, loving, unique person.  And in bringing the light of the Gospel onto affairs of the nation, they do the nation a great service. This is why any truly Christian politician will always act, live and vote according to who they are as a Christian: something else to consider when casting our vote next year.  

The final point is of course that if Christ is our Godly king, then we turn our hearts and life over to him totally.  This is actually what it means to be Christian. While this can feel scary, as we are no longer in control, it means that we have perfect Good and perfect Love governing our every move.  Not a bad thing – especially when the people otherwise in charge of our lives, ourselves, make such a mess of it.