I’m writing this a few days after the 2020 national elections in the United States.
It has been a contentious political season and that will continue. Both candidates believe they won the presidency and there is ample evidence of cheating, fraud, confusion, and old-fashioned political chicanery.
Now that election day has passed and despite the cloudiness of the result, the calls are starting for unity. Politicians, civic leaders, and clerics are calling for unity as if it is the greatest good a society can attain.
I’m not so sure.
Unity can be helpful if you are an orchestra, basketball team, or army assaulting an enemy. In the political world it might or might not be a good thing. Unity isn’t a virtue.
Catholics point to four cardinal virtues (fortitude, justice, temperance, prudence) and three theological virtues (faith, hope, charity). The Catechism of the Catholic Church talks about seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.” [CCC 1831.]
As I said, “unity” doesn’t make the list of virtues. It is mentioned in scripture, but always in the context of something wonderful that will occur if all people are of one heart with Christ. It is achieved by conversion rather than coercion.
Unity is one of the triad of what I believe are today’ progressive virtues, which also include tolerance and acceptance. (Neither of these is mentioned in the list of virtues presented by the Church).
When today’s progressive talks of unity, it means everyone must accept and tolerate a libertine political philosophy that promotes a great many things government should do for everyone, which comes with massive control and cost. It is a philosophy that rejects the US Constitution, which seeks to protect people from the tyranny of big government.
Why should I abandon my Christian faith and my belief in the good of my country to achieve unity?
Looking around the world, I see evidence that unity is a characteristic more of oppressive governments than free nations. Certainly, the nations with the most “unity” are North Korea, China, Iran, and Cuba. Nations that believe in freedom – USA, UK, Ireland, France – tend to have a lot of bickering and sloppy debate.
Unity can work for good or evil. Americans came together to play a major role in victory in two world wars. That was a good thing.
Hitler united a suffering Germany in a common effort to conquer the world. That wasn’t such a good thing.
Today, it seems that unity depends on my acceptance of abortion, sexual immorality, forced income redistribution, seizure of private property, socialization of medicine, and rejection of religious freedom.
Under those circumstances, I won’t be much of a unifier. I refuse to be united to evil. I believe in a Christian unity that rejects audacity.