In former times, if a pious Christian was involved in public life, he probably wasn’t too well. They would have considered him crazy. Today, it is the opposite. If a pious person isn’t concerned and pained by the way things are in the world, he is the one who has lost his mind. - St. Paisios the Athonite
TODAY you cannot stand indifferent to the public square. You cannot leave matters to the powers that be, as if they are benevolent and working for our good. There are many national and international leaders who are clearly opposed to the faith and vision and to the ethos of the Orthodox Church, to the sanctity of life and man as made in God’s Image, to the integrity of the family and to the purity of the youth.
Taking part and taking a stand today, witnessing to truth in society as an expression and confession of our faith in Christ, is an expression of our love for our neighbor and our Lord.
Saint Paisios says elsewhere:
“Too many Christians don’t want to take on and remove an evil in society, so as to maintain their peace and quiet, the status quo. This means that they have no love. But, later we see these same people working hard for their own interests. That is why a certain spirit reigns today: with so-and-so we need to have good relations, so he will say good things about us, with others we need to have it good so he doesn’t drag us throw the mud, and so on. And others keep silent, they don’t talk, for fear they will write about them in the newspapers, etc.”
And elsewhere, the Saint spoke about voting:
“Vote for the one you believe it is best; the one who loves God and our country.” They always gave the same reply: They are all the same, Father. Then he added: “Well, look here. All olive trees are the same; all of them are affected by the same disease called dakos. However, some are affected 100% by it, others 80% and others 50%. Since we are in need of olive trees, we have to look for the ones that are affected the least. When we go to vote, we should always bear in mind two things: a) how much the candidate loves God and is thus a conscious member of the Church, and b) how much he loves his country and look solely after its interests and not his own. If someone uses another criterion to vote, he is acting out of self-interrests and is not behaving like a true Christian. Later on, divine justice will allow him to pay for his mistake.”
Taking the criteria laid down by the great elder and Saint, and applying it to the situation in America, we can easily come to see, first of all, for whom we should NOT cast our vote.
Orthodox Christians obviously cannot support corrupt politicians who lie and use their power to become rich.
Or, those who want the government to force Christian homeless shelters, adoption agencies, and other charities to endorse same-sex marriage, transgender identity, and experimental cross-sex drugs and surgeries.
Those We Cannot Support with Our Vote
Furthermore, Orthodox Christians cannot vote for:
1. Those who are aggressively pro-abortion and support a law which has allowed for the murder of 60 million human beings since it was passed.
- a. Those who support abortion for any reason, or no reason, up to and - believe it or not for some - even beyond the moment of birth.
- b. Those who want the government to fund abortions, who will force Americans to pay for this grievous sin.
- c. Those who support physician-assisted suicide.
2. Those who endorse same-sex marriage as on par with true marriage, thus undermining Christian morality and furthering the de-Christianization of society.
3. Those who advocate for the repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protects the religious conscience rights of health care workers who decline to assist with abortions and protects Christian adoption agencies which chose to place babies only with heterosexual couples.
4. Those who support the Obamacare mandate requiring religious ministries to provide contraceptive and abortifacient drugs to their employees - despite that this would force them to trample on their conscience and their Christian Faith.
5. Those who are for implementing a nationwide lockdown if the “science” demands it - a lockdown which would, to be sure, once again mandate the closing of Orthodox churches.
6. Those who claim that the Orthodox Christian understanding of sexuality and gender is rank “discrimination” and thus walk in step with the radical pro-LGBT Orwellian “Equality Act” cannot be a recipient of our support.
7. Those who sound positive and inclusive — they say they want “protections” for people and want to fight “discrimination,” — but this rhetoric is deceptive.
8. Those who are twisting the notion of discrimination in order to force Christians to violate their beliefs.
9. Those who aim to force transgender ideology on the American people. The same people who want sign legislation that will force Christian schools and ministries to hire people who oppose their religious convictions on sexuality and gender. The laws will also force these ministries — which hold that God created humans male and female — to open women’s sports and women’s restrooms to biological males, to refer to biological males by female pronouns if they “identify” as female, and to pay for transgender surgery in their health care plans.
10. Those who not only pledge to fight religious freedom at home. They pledged to make a America into a global force of enforcement of the extreme agenda of the Neo-Marxists which seeks to decimate the Christian vision of man and pressure Orthodox Christian countries into denying the Faith.
11. Those who are for “cancel culture” even on the Supreme Court and demonize those who oppose the extreme LGBT agenda.
12. Those who brand conservative Christian nonprofits “hate groups” due to their beliefs on marriage and sexuality, listing them along with the Ku Klux Klan.
13. Those who single out those who adhere to traditional religious beliefs and moral convictions, aiming to limit their ability to live by their consciences and ostracizing them from polite society.
14. Those who describe opponents of the radical LGBT agenda as “the dregs of society.”
15. Those who are supported by, and support, outspoken Socialist and Marxist forces and would open the door to making American a socialist country.
16. Those who are largely silent before the rioting and burning of buildings by Marxist, anarchical mobs in many American cities.
Consider the Lessons of History
Wherever socialism has sought to gain a footing, it has led a charge against, and persecuted terribly, the Orthodox Church. We have a host of millions of martyrs in the 20th century which testifies to the destruction which comes in the wake of socialists and Marxists coming to power. Socialism and Marxism inevitably lead to totalitarianism, where the government takes the place of God in the lives of its subservient citizens.
Let us remember the years leading up to the Russian Revolution and the prophetic voices which called the nation to repentance. It was 120 years ago and the great wonderworker St. John of Kronstadt, among many others in the Church at the time, stood prophetically calling the people of Russia to repentance and calling out the godless Marxist-socialist leadership. Listen to what was said of St. John and how he stood, not indifferent, but actively opposing the zeitgeist of his day:
“Being himself an image of meekness and humility, love for every person, irrespective of nationality or religion, St. John adopted an attitude of great indignation towards those godless, materialistic, and liberal trends, which subverted the faith of the Russian people and sabotaged Russia’s thousand-year-old government. Subsequent events of the bloody Russian Revolution and the triumph of the godless and inhumane Bolshevism showed how right was the great saint of the Russian land in his warnings and prophetic visions.”
St. John himself wrote and preached:
“Russia, if you fall away from your faith, as many of the intellectual class have already fallen away, you will no longer be Russia or Holy Russia. And if there will be no repentance in the Russian people—then the end of the world is near. God will take away the pious Tsar and will send a whip in the person of impious, cruel, self-appointed rulers, who will inundate the whole earth with blood and tears.” (— Sermon of 1905, in Father John of Kronstadt (50th Anniversary Book, Utica, N.Y., 1958, p. 164)
Brothers and sisters, if we are not in pain for the state of the country and the world, we are in a spiritual coma. We are teetering on the edge of anarchy. Or, rather, simply insanity, according to the words of Saint Paisios: If a pious person isn’t concerned and pained by the way things are in the world, he is the one who has lost his mind.
We must ask God for more love even as the spiritual, moral and even political upheaval of American life is at the doors. It is the eleventh hour. We will all give an account before God for our passivity and indifference, and fear, unless we sincerely repent. Unless we fall on our knees and ask God for mercy, AND also express our love for our country by going to vote for a candidate who at least respects God and Christians, and shows love for his country, or at least, for one who is - according to St. Paisios - “affected the least” by the disease of the day, the zeitgeist of the age, the spirit of the world, which is the spirit of Antichrist.
May God have mercy on America and bless her to keep socialism at bay and continue to be a safe, peaceful place for Orthodox Christians to work out their salvation.