Members of the Society of St. John Chrysostom, in fact those baptized into any of the Apostolic Churches, have a very important responsibility this Fall 2012 season. American citizens will have the opportunity to vote for the President of the United States as well as for any number of other national, state andlocal offices. The mix of religion and politics in issues in this electoral season has made the usual politicking even more contentious and challenging than in past years.
In no manner shape or form is this message meant to support any particular candidate or political party. The only purpose of this message is to serve as a reminder for all to carefully discern the Mind of Christ and His Church on the critical moral issues raised in this election and to let Christ and the teachings of His Apostolic Churches be our guide in our witness by our political words, deeds and votes.
Unfortunately, some candidates want to usurp our right speak up for ourselves on issues. A particularly egregious statement I constantly hear from candidates for office from all political parties in the United States is, "What the American people want is. . . ." To have some modicum of honesty, politicians could at the very least somewhat qualify such arrogant rhetoric by saying: "Some American people want . . . ." I, for example, am one of these "American people." For a candidate to imply that I want something against the teachings of Christ and His Church is to take away the freedom of speech and religion granted to me – and all - by the constitution and, more importantly, granted by God to all to mankind by His making us in His image and giving us free will.
Despite the differences that still prevent full communion of all the Apostolic Churches, our witness should be informed by a Christ-like conscience. Furthermore, our conscience should be nurtured by deep prayer and by cultivating the virtue of discernment. It would be well for us to meditate on the counsel of St. Gregory of Sinai found in the Philokalia, Vol.4 (p.222): "A person is perfect in this life when . . . he receives the grace to assimilate himself to the various stages of Christ's life . . . . belief is knowledge or contemplation of the Holy Spirit . . . . scrupulous discernment in matters of dogma constitutes full knowledge of the true faith."i In union with His Church, may the Holy Spirit accompany all of us in this matter.
i Palmer, G.E.H., Sherrard, P. & Ware, K. (Eds.). (1995). The Philokalia, Volume 4: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Makarios of Corinth. London: Faber and Faber.