A faith-based presidency… | AspenTimes.com

A faith-based presidency…

Dear Editor:If I had been able to speak to the reporter who queried some parishioners at St. Mary Church about the tone of the sermon Sunday, I would have said that it was not a sermon at all, but an invitation to what ensued – outcries of frustration and anger and the exodus of those who could hear no more. It was a not-very-Christian outburst.I do not agree with the Aspenites for Intellectual Honesty & Integrity (Aspen Times letters, Oct. 28) – if indeed there is such a group – that those quoted are “cowards who shame themselves, their families and their communities,” with or without attribution. I think they are courageous people whose candor served to drive home the deleterious effects of deviating from the wise laws of our land mandating separation of church and state.The beloved Bishop Samuel Ruiz of Chiapas, Mexico, speaking of faith and politics, has this to say: “The primary task of the bishop, the priest and those who represent the church at certain moments in their community is to work for the unity of their community …”If in the process of building the reign of God, we take action which has a political dimension, we must never lose sight of the task of maintaining the unity of the community – a primary function of the church hierarchy. “This work for unity should be kept in mind before, during and after making political choices so as not to generate divisions and animosities instead of searching for the unity and common good of the community. We see conflicts and divisions rising around those who want to take a position of leadership for the unity of the community while at the same time continuing to be militant partisan activists.”Joining a political party as such is not a bad thing, but then one cannot at the same time fulfill a specific function in the community which has as its primary responsibility building and maintaining the unity of that community.” (From “Seeking Freedom” by Bishop Samuel Ruiz in conversation with Jorge S. Santiago.)With this philosophy, Bishop Ruiz has led the indigenous communities of Chiapas in their struggle for a life with peace, justice and dignity while remaining a beloved and effective prelate.I believe that Archbishop Charles Chaput and Rev. Michael O’Brien can best serve the anti-abortion issue by keeping it out of the political realm.And, that John Kerry as president will be much more effective in doing this, as well as serving the other life issues like war and capital punishment, than would George Bush, because of Kerry’s avowed purpose of maintaining the separation of church and state.A faith-based presidency such as Bush espouses would continue to encourage the kind of division and controversy we saw in miniature here in Aspen this week.Mary GleasonAspen

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