It’s not my intent to provide running commentary on Ethika Politika’s content; it just seems to be working out that way (see here and here). Hunter Sharpless’s latest, “New Seeds of Revolution,” prioritizes an internal, spiritual revolution before an external one since, according to Sharpless, “the injustice of the world finds its birth in the individual human heart[,] . . . not in systems and powers external to [him]” or, for that matter, all of us. While there is a loud ring of truth in that statement, it’s not the whole truth, or at least not one which captures that systems and powers external to all of us shape our lives in profound, and sometimes disturbing, ways.
That reality does not relieve of us of the duty to resist when external systems and powers incentivize us to depart from the way of truth and rest in complacent error. What’s not clear from Sharpless’s piece is if he believes, on the basis of his interpretation of Christ’s teachings and, to a lesser extent, the words of St. John the Baptist, that Christians should refrain from public, that is, political action, instead choosing to focus on their own hearts and, perhaps, those hearts they encounter on a one-on-one basis.
Although these dark times certainly call for individuals to resist the dominant culture and the ideology of liberalism which fuels it, Christian responsibility cannot end there. We are called to be the light of the world, witnesses to the truth, and soldiers of Jesus Christ. Knowing as we do the extent to which certain powerful institutions, predicated on greed, lies, and exploitation, can lead souls astray, do we not have a duty to resist? No, this resistance may not always take the form of street marches and other direct action, but certainly those options are not off the table when evil is afoot in the land.
Consider, for instance, the recent “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. While it is fashionable for certain Christians of a certain posture to naysay the event and belittle its intentions while covering their criticisms in a thin sheet of self-justificatory rhetoric which keeps them at a “safe distance” from the so-called pro-life movement without appearing to trample on orthodoxy, almost all Christians of good will—Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant—know the stakes. We live in a country that has allowed 55 million children to be wantonly murdered since 1973. Will an interior change on our part alone prevent millions of more murders from taking place? Yes, we should change the hearts of our fellow citizens, moving them to draw closer to God in order to resist the series of temptations which lead to abortion, but in the interim, do we just sit back silently and pray? Oh, we must pray, but when human lives, fashioned in the image and likeness of God, are at stake, there is so much more that is expected of us.