This being an election year, and there being a need to establish standards for voting for residents of the state of Nevada, the county of Washoe, and the city of Reno, a need has been established to look to Torah, Gospel, and the teachings of the church to find those standards. This will be a series of articles looking at what those standards should be and how we might implement them when voting this November.
Jesus tells us the first standard and the most important in Mark 12:28-34:
One of the grammarians, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of the Deborah Commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is: ‘Hear, Israel/Upright of Mighty Judge! The Personal Name our Mighty Judge is the Personal Name alone! You will love the Personal Name your Mighty Judge with all your hearts, with all your animate being, with all your mind, and with all your measure…”
How do we love God? What do we give someone who already has everything? We respect what is his, including his planet, what God made in his image, all life, and in particular all human life. “How we treat our neighbor is the way we treat God, who is in our neighbor.” In Matthew 25:31-26:1 Jesus states, “As you do to the least of these my brother, you do it to me.” Matthew 26:1 begins the Passion. How we treat, our neighbor is how we treat Jesus in the Passion. It is not enough to say a person is alive, as opposed to being in a body bag. It is not enough to say, “But he did… so deserves…” How we treat the person in question is the way we treat God. When we say, “He did… so deserves…” by implication we also say, “God, who is in him did… so deserves…” Who are we to judge God?
Jesus does not say, ‘Hear Christian” or “Hear fellow Jew,” but, “Hear Israel.” The address is to community. In the Hebrew passage Jesus quotes, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, the phrase “Your hearts,” the word for “Your” is in the singular, “hearts” is in the plural. The address is to the community. We are all imperfect, having a desire to do what is healthy, and what is rotten. God calls us to love him with both desires. The writer of Deuteronomy is a pre-Freud Freudian. Our desires are in themselves neither good nor evil. How we act on our desires makes them good or bad.
Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Gentiles, Muslims and Christians all disagree on the details, but God calls us to follow this standard, in relation to politics, to business and to our personal lives. No standard deserves for us to call it a Christian standard that does not start with this premise. As this series, looks at the candidates it asks us to use this standard when choosing for whom to vote.