By: Father Terence Henry, TOR
President of Franciscan University of Steubenville
When the Lord spoke the words, “Render unto Caesar,” he was teaching Christians to understand that they have both a citizenship on earth and one in heaven involving important responsibilities.
In the United States, a founding and fundamental principle is that government derives its power from the consent of the governed. Therefore when government acts, it does so in our name and with our consent. Today certain actions of government threaten fundamental principles which pose grave threats to the unborn, the elderly, and to our cherished freedoms such as the freedom of religion.
For a citizen to remain politically inactive is to give consent to the actions of government. We all have an important moral obligation to speak up on major issues that affect the dignity of the human person. At the last judgment those whom Christ condemns to hell for all eternity are condemned not just for actions and things that they did, but for things they also ought to have done but did not do so. It is an unjustified excuse for a citizen to claim that his or her religion is a private matter. Chesterton said that a person can no more have a private religion than he can have a private sun or moon.
It is my hope that our entire student body will take the time to register to vote and to exercise that right to vote on November 6 in order to promote the culture of life and the principle of religious freedom at a time when both are threatened. The opportunity to make a positive influence on the actions of our government has reached a “hinge” moment in our history that may not come again if we do not vote.
It is also a duty for we the living to honor all those Americans who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedoms. The eyes of all of those Americans who made our country a “city on a hill” for so many people throughout the world are looking to us. Let us take our Lord’s words, “to render unto Caesar” to heart by faithfully fulfilling our responsibilities as citizens of our country and of heaven.