I see so many memes about how you can’t possibly be a Christian and support Joe Biden. That you can’t be a Catholic and vote Democrat. That it’s Trump who is the leader who espouses the faith we should be voting for.
I read them and I think… what the actual hell?
It is my faith that leads me to vote Democrat. It is growing up in the teachings of Jesuit Priests that have filled me with compassion for the displaced and fleeing, welcoming them to my country as my neighbor.
It’s my faith that taught me that every person, no matter the background or bank account, deserves food, shelter, and safety.
My faith has filled me with the belief that it’s not the tax breaks that will get me into heaven, but truly giving a shit about someone else, through every stage of their lives.
I remember sitting in Mass as a child and listening to a homily about how we should approach every person we meet wearing a blindfold, offering love and compassion first, sight unseen. We are not entitled to their story. We are not owed justification or explanation of their choices. We just love and accept them. And it empowered my soul.
Every human has value. Every human is equal. No person is illegal. Love is not a sin.
It feels weird talking about this. Christian blogging isn’t really my style, and if you asked me to draw a line representing my brand of religion, it’d admittedly be a giant scribble.
I’m not Mother Teresa but if you need me to define my level of religious zealous, I’d say I’m an “Are You There God It’s Me Margaret” Catholic. I was raised in Catholic school, I go to Mass when I can, but me and God talk daily.
But, my religion is not my faith. My soul has room for both science and my belief in God, and I do not struggle to house both.
Listen. Churches are filled with a whole mess of “isms.” The history of harm there is deep, and it’s not a stranger to cloaking itself in Jesus stickers to hide its bouts of hate.
I see it on a global scale, playing out in acts of war and oppression. But more importantly, I see it in my own life.
The people sitting in the first pew of my church, nodding their heads with the priest asking them to love one another- without reservation- who then going home and post violence and hate on their walls. I see them with their Pray to End Abortion signs in their yards, as they vote against policies that would feed and care for the very “lives” they scream to protect.
We are taught to give someone the shirt from our back, yet bemoan the burden of the undocumented.
We are taught to love thy neighbor, yet our rose garden is used to list and threaten our enemies.
We are taught to wash the feet of the poor, yet vote to cut those in need off at the knee.
And abortion. The cornerstone of every political and religious argument. How do I rectify that with my vote? A few ways.
First, I believe in the quote that I will now butcher: your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. Meaning I use my personal faith to guide me, not legislate you.
Second, my strong belief in science and viability aside, the truth is, I too, pray to end abortion.
I pray that we are provided with the means and education to make safe decisions. I pray that men no longer rape or commit sexual violence against women. I pray that women never feel they have to make a decision about their bodies based on fear or financial means. I pray that a woman’s value is not tied to being a vessel. And I pray that no matter what decisions they make with their doctors, that they are met with the respect and compassion we have been taught to give, blindfold on.
Abortion has been the dangling carrot coaxing the faithful into the voting booth while hunger, poverty, and oppression is sold to us as self-created issues we are not responsible for shouldering.
I see all this, and it’s easy to think, maybe I’m not made for religion. That I’m too pissed and weary to fight to keep both my faith and my convictions.
But then I remember that I can because I’m able. And just because my comfort in that pew is cyclical, my faith is not.
Empathy. Inclusion. Justice. Kindness.
You ask me how can I believe in God and vote Biden, and I say to you, how could I not?