Well, it's happened. The people have spoken, and Barack Obama has just been elected president of the United States. But this is not a political post, although I'll pause to note that never before have so many trusted a man who has been so untested on the national stage. After watching the election last night, I'm trying to move through the fear, anger and frustration to figure out just what this means for me and for other Catholics.
Many others are speculating on the ramifications of the policies Obama and the majority-Democrat Congress will enact. Economic and military policy aside, I predict a lifting of all state restrictions on abortion, national legalization of gay "marriage" and other measures designed to demoralize conservative Christians. The effect on the culture will be to make us even more unfashionable and socially unacceptable than we already are. Already we're being characterized as "bitter," "hateful", and "racist" over our stubborn refusal to celebrate this win, and Day 1 post-election has barely begun. There will be no need to muzzle free speech with laws when social pressure makes dissenting speech unacceptable. The laws will also be seriously detrimental to Catholic charitable works. Already Catholic charities in some states have shuttered their adoption operations rather than adopt out children to gay couples. A law mandating that all hospitals and doctors provide abortion may do the same to Catholic hospitals. Our country will be the poorer for it, but sadly few will notice.
Our response to this coming darkness cannot be anything other than to shine even brighter. We can't afford not to! Remember that Christianity was born into an equally dark time and stood in sharp contrast to the excesses of Pagan Rome. I hope we won't see Christians vs. lions again anytime soon, but I think it's going to affect every one of us profoundly. We may be at risk of losing our careers or our friends if we speak out about our beliefs. We need to not be afraid to call evil, evil even if we are accused falsely of bigotry and hatred. The best witness we can provide is a life well lived in the service of Christ, fearlessly proclaiming him in deeds and words.
I have a sense that personal sacrifice is going to be required of each one of us. In the near future I will be trying to discern what I am being called to do. In the meantime, may God help us as we face what is ahead.