Monday, September 15, 2008

Catholic Voter's Guide

As we approach this election, those of us who are Catholic are being called upon to make a moral stand. I don't care if you are voting for dog catcher or the president - if you take your Catholic faith seriously, you must "cast your vote in an informed manner consistent with Catholic moral teachings and fundamental human rights." (Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics)

It is our duty to vote. It is one of the duties we bear as citizens of this nation; the greatest nation in the world. Men and women have fought and died for the freedom we possess, and for this, we must take our duty seriously as well. As a Catholic, we have an added responsibility - "A well formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law that contradicts the fundamental content of faith and morals" (CLP 4)

Some things are always wrong. There are 5 non-negotiable issues which we as Catholics must use as our litmus test when it comes to whether or not to vote for a candidate, whether on the local, state or national level. These are:

1. Abortion - Our Church states "it is never to obey it, or take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it" (EV 73) There is a reason that this is the number one non-negotiable issue when it comes to voting.

2. Euthanasia - Again, another issue of killing innocents. It is unacceptable to kill someone - even when you frame it in the pretty terms of a "mercy killing". Killing, is killing. You cannot square up killing as a "compassionate act". It just isn't.

3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research - There are no valid medical reasons to destroy human embryonic beings in order to obtain the embryonic stem cells when they can be obtained from adults and those will provide the same if not better results. And even if there were valid medical reasons, again, it is not morally acceptable to harm these innocents.

4. Human Cloning - This is explicitly against the Church's teaching on the dignity and purpose of a marriage - to procreate. Additionally, when cloning occurs, the rejected or unacceptable clones are destroyed. See Non-Negotiable Issue #1 - since each of these clones are a human being, they are being killed.

5. Homosexual "Marriage" - Marriage is the union of a man and a woman - period. Homosexuality is immoral, and the promotion of "marriage" between homosexuals is doing a disservice to those people who are already living in an immoral state. The Church believes that when it comes to legislature that "the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."

So what is a faithful Catholic to do with this? When comparing candidates, you must:

1. Not merely vote based on political parties. Nor just because your parents or grandparents voted a particular party. You need to research each candidate and find out what their positions are regarding the Non-Negotiable Issues.

2. Not vote for someone because they are a "star", "look good" or say what sounds good. This should really be a no-brainer.

3. Not vote for someone because they say they are Catholic. There are plenty of candidates and politicians who say they are "Catholic" but do not espouse basic Catholic teaching.

4. Determine which candidate can promote the common good, versus "what's in it for me".

5. Not vote for candidates who are "right" on lesser issues but morally wrong on the 5 Non-Negotiable Issues. There are a reason why they are in the order they are in. If both candidates that you are comparing do not espouse the Catholic view on issues 2-5, but one of them is in favor of abortion, and the other is not - the choice should be obvious as to which candidate you should cast your vote for. Our duty is to vote for the candidate who is most likely to do the most good -or worst case, the one likely to do the least harm.

When it comes to Election Day - or any day really - our conscience should be our warning bell that we are about to do something wrong. The problem is that many Catholics aren't informed enough on key issues that are intrinsic to their faith. When this is the case, their conscience isn't trained to "sound off". If you are unsure of what to do, place your faith in the unwavering teachings of the Church - you will always make a moral decision.

1 comment:

Chris K said...

Amen! I couldn't have said it better myself (not even close).