Again today, I’d like to comment on the theology of the morning newspaper. On Friday of this weekend, I find in the Houston Chronicle an article on the fact that we now have our first Muslim in Congress. A Muslim is a follower of Mohammed; down through the centuries since Mohammed founded his religion in the 7th century, which he called Islam, his followers have been called Muslims, Mohammedans, Saracens, Turks (although not all of them came from Turkey) and Moors (although not all of them came from Morocco.) This first Muslim congressman of ours is a Democrat from Minnesota who has just been elected to the House of Representatives. His name is Keith Ellison. As I read the article, I found out that he is a convert from Catholicism to Islam. He became a Muslim when he was attending Wayne State University in Detroit. When the reporter who wrote the article asked him why he had converted from Catholicism to Islam, he is reported to have replied, “I really don’t know. Something about it just fit for me.”
Let’s consider this, since it is a sign of our times: here is a fairly young man, American, Catholic, who in college renounced his Catholicism, his Christianity; renounced Our Lord Jesus Christ as the son of God, and his Blessed Mother and the saints; renounced the sacraments of the Church; renounced the Blessed Trinity, and basically renounced most of the principles of western civilization, which is essentially Christian and Catholic. And when asked why he made this fundamental change in his thinking, his beliefs, his life, he answered: “I really don’t know.” And this man is elected by a state which is at least nominally Christian to represent them in our national Congress. He may well have to vote on such things as war and peace, on taxation, on immigration, on the death penalty, on abortion, on homosexual marriages, on all sorts of things deeply touching the lives of his constituents. When asked how he voted the way he did, will he answer: “I really don’t know”? If a man in college can change his creed from Christianity to non-Christianity and then, when asked about it says, “I really don’t know why I did it,” is he qualified to represent his constituents in the halls of political power in our land?
I wonder what sort of religious education he had when he was a child. What did he understand about Christianity, about Catholicism, about his relationship with our Divine Lord? How authentic was his prayer life, his reception of the sacraments, his devotion to the Mother of the Lord? How does he see the moral law? His moral obligations? Is there any right and wrong for him?
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict has spoken often of “the dictatorship of relativism,” in which nothing really matters and your truth and falsehood may be totally different from mine. Christ says to us: the truth will make you free. The pagan Pilate sneers at Christ: What is truth? And our new Muslim congressman says, “I really don’t know.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.