I was searching the internet for information about judges on the ballot in Colorado and found one website with some recommendations. Then I noticed a link to a YouTube video, with the headline, “Father Ed Meeks on Christian Duty to Vote.”
Clicking on the link, I thought to myself, “This can’t be. Why would Father Ed be on a Colorado website?”
Finding the video was surprising because our family attended Father Ed’s church, Christ the King, in Towson, Maryland for 10 years. At the time, it was part of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. It migrated for a brief time to the Anglican Church in America, before being received into the Catholic Church. It’s now Christ the King Catholic Church.
It was also surprising to see that Father Ed’s sermon, “Staring into the Abyss,” has gone viral – with 1.6 million views when I first watched it. Three days later, as I’m writing this article, the video has garnered almost 1.9 million views. That doesn’t count thousands more viewers who’ve seen the video as it’s been reposted on other sites.
Father Ed is married with four grown children and seventeen grandchildren. He can be a married Catholic priest because the Church created a special “ordinariate,” an organization to receive priests and churches that had been part of the Anglican Communion.
It’s a beautiful church, tucked up against a wooded greenbelt north of Baltimore. Our three sons were born during the time we attended, and we have many good memories and relationships from those years, worshipping and growing with other believers.
We had twin boys in 2000, with a 2-year-old toddler running around the house. I tell people that we would not have survived that exhausting season without the kindness and generosity of Christ the King members. People brought meals, took our oldest son on outings, visited us when my wife and twins were in the hospital, held and changed babies, helped us move to a new house – and so much more.
I can picture a children’s Christmas program at the church, with our then 4-year-old twins wearing sheep hats at a manger scene – scowling at all of us for making them do so. One Christmas I was thrilled when one of them actually sang along with the children’s choir, instead of just standing there, staring straight-faced at the audience. I told him, “That was great! You sang along with everyone!”
He turned to me with a grin and said, “I was singing a different song from everyone else.”
I remember the celebrations of All Saints’ Eve – a longstanding Christian tradition before it morphed into the dark celebration of Halloween it’s become today. The kids would dress up as saints or biblical characters. Our oldest came as St. Sebastian one year, carrying a tree branch behind his back and wearing a toga, shot full of rubber-suction arrows.
There’s much more I could add, but all that to say, I’m partial toward Christ the King. I watched the sermon and later contacted Father Ed, and his wife Jan.
The talk began with a statement about the importance of this election. Father Ed said, “This will be for me personally the 14th presidential election I will have voted in since reaching the age of majority, and this one is unlike anything I have ever seen.”
He added, “I believe that at this moment in time in history you and I find ourselves as part of a society that is staring into the abyss, and that how our nation votes on November 3rd will determine whether we collectively step off the cliff into that abyss, or step back from it, if only temporarily.”
Father Ed then challenged the church, saying that “it is time for faithful Catholics and other Christians to stand up courageously and forthrightly to confront the evil that has overtaken our culture and say enough is enough.”
“Whether you are aware of it or not,” he continued, “there are powerful forces in government at every level, as well as in the mainstream media, and in the Silicon Valley technocracy, that are working aggressively to silence the church, through legislation, lies, intimidation and censorship.”
He then points to the “foundational principles” found in Scripture and the church’s 2,000 years of teaching, explaining that some issues are “clearly more important than others” and that we can have “differences of prudential judgment and opinion” about other, secondary concerns.
Father Ed identified those “non-negotiable values” that should inform Catholic votes, citing Pope Benedict XVI’s 2012 Apostolic Constitution entitled Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity). He said, “Among the list of non-negotiable values which he identified, chief among them are the sanctity of life from conception to natural death; the sanctity of marriage, as a lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman; and the preservation of religious liberty.”
Father Ed explained, “Not that other issues are unimportant, but these three are foundational to who we are as human beings and to what kind of society we are constructing.”
Father Ed and Jan Meeks live out the values he preached about, with their marriage, family and ministry. They have been active in the pro-life movement for years. And despite what pro-abortion critics falsely claim, they’re not just concerned about saving babies and ignoring the needs of mothers and their children.
Jan Meeks shares some of their story in that movement. In 1977, they began fostering pre-adoptive infants as the babies waited for the finalization of joining a family. With two children already, they eventually fostered and adopted a baby girl.
At the same time, they began providing a home for unwed teenage girls, “where they could be cared for, counseled, and have the space away from outside pressures to make an informed decision between parenting and adoption.”
In 1985, they helped found and were house parents for Sparrow House, a home for unwed teenage girls. They helped direct the ministry for almost 25 years. The home is now part of the Gabriel Network, which “offers long-term, comprehensive support to pregnant women and their families.”
With regard to religious freedom, Father Ed is a thoughtful, brave member of the clergy who is willing to speak the truth about important issues, in a day when religious freedom is under fire and many are afraid to address controversial topics.
He mentioned the growing threats to liberty, describing efforts to force nuns and business owners to violate their faith by offering contraceptives, some of which may cause abortions. He talked about the continued shutdowns of churches across the nation, due to COVID restrictions. And he mentioned the push to keep Christian foster care and adoption agencies from receiving federal funds.
Focus on the Family has always believed in the “non-negotiable values” discussed in this sermon. We also believe in the importance of social responsibility and engaging the culture, bringing our principles into the political arena, too.
Father Ed put it this way, “And so the bottom line, brothers and sisters, is vote. And when you do, think with the church, while also understanding this: that no one running for public office is ultimately the solution for what ails America, only God is. That’s not a statement of resignation to the inevitable, it is rather a statement of hope.”
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