An excerpt from the July/August 2012 issue of Lay Witness, from author Matthew Bowman:
The word “politics” leaves a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, conjuring up thoughts of corruption, gridlock, and pusuit of self-interest instead of the common good. But the mechanisms of politics can also allow people of good will to form coalitions to pursue the common good. So if it helps, think about “public” or “social” involvement instead of politics.
Here are three reasons to jump into the major public debates of our times:
1. Your involvement can help. Good people read can make a difference. There are true heroes in public life who enact or block measures in order to actually save lives. At every level, having virtuous people in the process serves as a leaven of good in society. That means communication for or against candidates and legislative measures, and helping organizations that do the same.
2. Social policy renewal is not in competition with evangelization, it is part of evangelization. The circumstances for receiving the Gospel itself includes a society’s views, partly based on its laws and policies, about life, family, and freedom
The basic moral framework of people’s minds and the society around them will help people become more or less receptive to the evangelical message of salvation. The parable of the sower shows the importance of different kinds of soil and environment for the Gospel seed. Public involvement prepares that soil. Battles over the major issues of our day will help determine whether our society will be more or less likely to embrace a Savior who claims to be the Truth and the Life.
3. The need is great and the time is now. This sounds like a cliche, but our society really is facing challenges to religious freedom, the sanctity or human life, and the definition of marriage that are monumental and unprecedented, and that will literally determine whether our culture rebounds or deteriorates.
The values of life, freedom, and family still reside in the human heart and in the seeds of our nation’s founding. We have a chance to promote those values. We really can win. But not without each concerned Catholic like you.
Matthew Bowman is an attorney in the Washington D.C. area, a graduate of Ave Maria School of Law, and a member of the Knights of Columbus in his parish in Maryland.