Catholic political activist looks at how much tone matters

Deal Hudson CNA US Catholic News 11 20 12 Mr. Deal Hudson. CNA file photo.

Catholic political activist Deal Hudson says the results of the 2012 elections have caused him to reflect on the tensions between evangelism and politics and the need for Christians to show patience, good humor and God's love amid "political rancor."

"There is an inherent tension, almost a conflict, between what Christians must do in a political campaign and what Christians do in evangelization," he said Nov. 20 in an essay at Catholic Online.

Hudson is the president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and formerly led Catholic outreach at the Republican National Committee.

"In politics we focus on moral standards, standards of conduct and action; as evangelists we reach out to those whose failure to keep those standards have left them cut off from God and feeling alienated from the Church and its teachings," he said.

Catholics in politics insist that people respect certain moral standards but as evangelists Catholics also "call these people to 'come home' even if they have not been living by them, if they have broken God's laws and commandments."

In one conversation Hudson had after the election, he noted that people become Christians "because of love, God's love."

"People are burdened with guilt, with their sins and failures. They need and want forgiveness, redemption from the past, hope for the future, they want a happier life and to be with God in eternity," he said.

Hudson stressed he did not want to dismiss political efforts to defend "the Christian vision" and moral laws that protect the common good. However, the election prompted him to engage in self-examination.

"I do regret those times my own voice became angry or bitter, and I apologize to any and all who witnessed those moments," he said.

He said Christians in politics should "pay close attention to our tone" in what they are communicating in their manner of speaking and in their presentation to the world.

"Would anyone of good will who disagrees with us see or hear that we are attempting to share a gift or would they say we are 'puffed up' with pride?" he asked.

"Our kindness, patience, and good humor in the midst of political rancor can be witness to the heart of our faith, to the heart of the Church," he said.

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