Today is the feast day for St. Louis. He was a very godly ruler in France in the 13th century. In today's Office of Readings is featured an excerpt from a letter he wrote to his son. In it he gives some great advice that can be followed by anyone even if you're not going to inherit the rule of a country. However, this made me begin to wonder what our country would look like with a truly godly President. True, he would not be a king and could not do as he wants without the help of others in our government. Yet, what kinds of things might we expect of a leader who truly wanted to lead his people in godliness?
Perhaps he would begin by working to do away with unjust laws. Laws protecting things like pornography and abortion come to mind. But there are others. The current debate on marriage would be a good place to start as well. If St. Louis is an example then there are a lot of things he could personally do to help the poor. This would, in turn, encourage a public policy to do the same.
At this point I can hear someone protesting that this would be an unjust imposing of one's personal views on the nation. And that's the point! The fact is that we have numerous views imposed on us. It is the essence of democracy that the majority imposes its views on the minority. The media routinely imposes its views on the public and in recent times we have been suffering at the hands of various judges who impose their views on the nation, many times overriding the will of the majority. In fact, in every age and in every form of government, and in every society someone or some groups are imposing their views on the others. Since this is a given, then why is it that only Christians are thought to be the exception to this rule?
In contrast we see someone like St. Louis who realized that someone in his position would necessarily impose his view on his nation. But he soberly contemplated that reality and then did something very positive with it. He governed by Christian principles so that he loved his subjects because they were his neighbors made in the image and likeness of God. If we were to have a truly Christian President I am convinced he would do the same thing.
What does any of this have to do with the New Evangelization as I mentioned in the title of this post? Everything!
In a democracy the government is us. Each of us has the opportunity to have a part in forming public policy. We do this by voting and by speaking out on the issues of the day in a way that leads to a moral formation for our nation. The New Evangelization is all about bringing the Gospel in a new way to an audience that has heard it before. It is a call to renewed dedication and vigor in bringing this message to our nation again. What kind of nation do we envision as an effectively evangelized nation? Certainly one that is more morally sound and more loving to one another. Certainly one that cares for our neighbors at least as much as we care for ourselves. Certainly one that enacts laws, not according to what the populace wants, but according to that which is truly beneficial for the common good.
These are but a few thoughts on government and the New Evangelization. It is simply the beginning of a conversation in which there is much more to be said. But the question is will we even begin the conversation? As we reflect on St. Louis and the potential that exists in a nation that truly honors God may we find the strength and fortitude, not only to begin such a conversation, but to see it through to a most beneficial conclusion!