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Love and politics

From the January 14, 1980 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


For many, Mary Baker Eddy gave a new approach to politics when she answered the question "What are your politics?" by saying, "I have none, in reality, other than to help support a righteous government; to love God supremely, and my neighbor as myself." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 276; Placing politics within the framework of what Jesus called the two great commandments, themselves a consolidation of the Ten Commandments, is to bring a centuries-tested moral and spiritual force to bear on our political involvement today. We need to exercise this force.

There may be no greater challenge in the months ahead, in the United States and in other countries where major political decisions are to be made, than to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" and to "love thy neighbour as thyself." Matt. 22:37, 39;

Partisan politics so often includes much that is diametrically opposite to this kind of love-centered politics. We make an unrivaled contribution to political harmony and social progress when we insist that our expression of impartial divine Love replace prejudices and misguided viewpoints in our own thinking. Love, understood as Principle, gives us perception.

It isn't always easy. But we may be more inclined to make the effort if we face up to the fact that political excess and unethical behavior are too often urged into expression by such prejudice and mistaken concepts. Emotions get involved and, quickly passing from one to another, they tend to hypnotize.

We can withstand this pull of mass mesmerism if (1) we are awake to the fact that hypnotism has no spiritual source or basis in divine Mind and is powerless to touch true thought; (2) we determine we are not going to accept antagonism or revenge in the disguise of political activism.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy lists eight moral qualities, which, when exercised, move human experience higher. They are, "Humanity, honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, temperance." Science and Health, p. 115; As one looks at the political scene, he may have to admit that qualities opposite to these—immoral qualities—claim to characterize much of today's political thinking. It's not unusual, when political candidates and issues are the focus of public attention, for some of the counterfeit, immoral qualities—inhumanity, dishonesty, disaffection, indifference, hopelessness, faithlessness, arrogance, intemperance—to be emphasized or accepted as the norm.

Recognizing that such qualities as indifference and intemperance are as immoral as dishonesty and arrogance, we will resist the temptation to withdraw from our legitimate political activity, whether it is to vote, campaign, run for office, or help clarify issues by participating in debates and discussions, formal and informal. Likewise we will be meek enough to learn, and temperate in dealing with what we learn.

As long as there are people doing things together, there will be politics. Our job is to see that love for God and man prevails; that political passion does not. Love is the spiritual, the real determiner of thought and action; passion is the depraved, unreal. Passion can seem overwhelmingly real when deliberately inflamed by irresponsible political leadership; and it can have tragic consequences that have to be overcome. But love is the real—love that flows from God, divine Love. Would there be an attempt for any kind of a benevolent government if love that reflects God were not the impetus? Love fanned into political action becomes the strong, determined spiritual power that passions would counterfeit.

Spiritual love is never weak, never silent when it should speak; it brings the sureness of finding the best solution, or the lesser of two evils, in every decision. Love, as the spiritual reality, always is accompanied by wisdom and purity of motive.

If we are to take the revolutionary position of our politics being that of love—loving God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves—we will need to grow in our understanding of God and His attributes. We will need to study divine metaphysics. This study gives us the discernment that is the basis of Christian Science treatment or prayer—the applying of metaphysical truths to the human situation. Making consecrated prayer the foremost part of our political activity, we will discover Christly qualities that many candidates have to offer; we will weigh programs in the light of their value to our neighbor as well as to ourselves. This naturally will enable us to take those steps and make those decisions that help support a righteous government.

When we submit to "politics as usual," we are not making the healing contribution a mataphysician can make. In her sermon Christian Healing Mrs. Eddy prophesies, "Pride, appetites, passions, envy, and malice will cease to assert their Cæsar sway when metaphysics is understood . . . ." Hea., p. 18.

The Caesar approach to politics—the intrigues, the force, even the political bloodshed—will yield when we love God with all the heart, the soul, the mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Time when political differences emerge will not be times of dismay. Rather, they will be seen as opportunities to demonstrate God's government on earth, in political matters.

What are your politics?

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