To honor those in uniform, vote for principles they defend
“God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea” (Ps. 46:2).
The year 2020 has brought many opportunities to say this prayer, whether because of the chaos caused by a pandemic or the deliberate actions of those who want to destabilize our way of life through riots they tried to justify by hijacking a man’s tragic death.
God is our help, and he sends help in leaders who acknowledge His Word, and in servants who give themselves to protect His people.
While most of us took unprecedented steps to keep our distance from others, first responders and health care professionals put themselves on the front lines, going directly to those who needed their help. In the midst of riots, police braved physical danger and insults to keep us safe.
As we were living through all this, American astronauts went into space from American soil, using American equipment, for the first time in years, to continue to exert the unquenchable human spirit of discovery and conquest.
And our president continued to strengthen and expand our military, keeping its focus not on endless wars in other countries but on protecting our own. He called on governors and mayors to do their utmost to protect people from a novel virus and from violent mobs. He also defended our constitutional liberties in the face of various Democratic governors who went too far in suspending the exercise of basic freedoms — including freedom of religion — during the pandemic.
This kind of leadership manifests a balance central to Catholic social teaching: the need for law and order, one that does not dominate but rather stimulates human freedom and advancement, faith, and family.
Two gestures of President Trump in the midst of this should have the attention and gratitude of every believer.
Undeterred by the threats of violent mobs, he walked to St. John’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House, and held up the Word of God for all to see. The historic church was boarded up after rioters set fires there the day before, in an act that made even many on the Left incredulous.
Holding that Bible summed up all he has done, through his executive authority, to protect our freedom to believe, teach, preach, and live our faith.
He likewise made a previously scheduled visit to the Shrine of Pope John Paul II in Washington, honoring that great advocate of life and religious liberty, and signing an executive order further protecting that fundamental right.
The Founders of our great nation understood that unless we and our elected leaders acknowledged God’s law above all, our efforts to craft human laws that are just would fail. They knew that unless the people were guided by religion and morality, their attempt to govern themselves would also fail.
We have reached a moment of historic significance. It’s time to honor all those in uniform – many uniforms – that embody the kind of self-sacrificing service at the heart of the Gospel and the pro-life message.
And it’s time to exercise our citizenship in an unprecedented way, as informed and active voters in this year’s elections, influencing as many other voters as we can. The Lord calls us to recognize that politics can indeed serve the vision the Gospel lays out for us: a people taking refuge in God while sacrificing themselves to protect the vulnerable; a people using all the tools a strong nation provides to protect all the rights and liberties our human dignity already possesses.
FATHER FRANK PAVONE is national director of Priests for Life and worldwide pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More.