Who Ya Gunna Vote For?
Imagine a terrorist attack in which every man, woman and child in the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota was killed. As horrendous as this would be, fewer people would have been slaughtered than the number of children aborted in the United States in the last eight years.
The abominations to the sanctity of human life and the indifference to the teachings of the Catholic Church in this period extend well beyond abortion. There have been restrictions on religious liberty, coercion of individual conscience, the approval of same-sex marriage, a growing legality of physician- assisted suicide, sanctions on public prayer, the creation of special “rights” for LGBT individuals, the elimination of a distinction between genders in accessing public bathrooms, a movement towards creating children with three genetic parents, and experimentation with human-animal chimeras. God has been largely marginalized and religion is being driven from the public square.
How many more societal and governmental abuses can the Church sustain and still carry out its mission to evangelize and minister to the faithful? How much more repression can it bear and still remain an influence on public matters, helping to develop the moral underpinnings necessary for a government of and by the people?
On November 8, we will have an opportunity to change course by voting for the next leaders of this nation – those who will set its direction and shape its culture. This election is about much more than jobs, the economy, immigration, health care, defense, and foreign policy, as important as these are. It is about the future and, by means of lifelong appointments to the Supreme Court, what will happen in the next 40 years or more. It is about the values that underlie our society, and the kind of country we wish to pass on to our children and grandchildren.
From a moral perspective, the most important issue facing the nation is assuring the sanctity of human life. The Catholic Church has an immutable position opposing the wanton destruction of human life through abortion and euthanasia, actions which it calls intrinsic evils, and on redefining the source of life as anything but the union of one man and one woman. On these moral items, there are sharp differences between the positions of the two major presidential candidates, their vice-presidential running mates, and their party platforms.
One candidate believes unequivocally that every woman should have access to abortion, the other affirms that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be violated. One stood arm-in-arm with the president of Planned Parenthood and told her: “I will always have your back,” the other will prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds. One will retain the Obamacare mandate that employer health plans must include coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections, the other will get rid of the mandate.
One has promised to nominate Supreme Court justices who will ensure that abortion and same-sex marriage remain legal, the other will nominate justices who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. One wants to repeal the Hyde and Helms Amendments which prohibit the use of certain federal funds for abortions, domestically and abroad, and the other wants to make them permanent.
One will continue the current executive action allowing people to use public bathrooms, changing rooms and homeless shelters matching their gender identity, the other believes the states should decide the
matter. One will urge Congress to make gender identity and sexual orientation a protected right in every aspect of public life, the other opposes this action. One will continue special considerations for gender and sexual self-identity in the military, the other wants the development of a military based on competency. One believes that religious teaching should change to accommodate LGBT rights, the other told Catholic leaders: “I will fight for you…I will defend your religious liberties.”
Which of the two candidates is more likely to continue the current Administration’s view that Catholic schools, hospitals and charities are not sufficiently religious to qualify for the Obamacare mandate’s narrow “religious exemption”? Which one is more likely to continue efforts to force pharmacists, doctors, nurses and other health professionals to violate their consciences and provide abortion-producing drugs and abortions? Which one is more likely to restrict the rights of military chaplains to preach and counsel in accord with their religious beliefs?
When you consider their vice presidential running mates, would you prefer one who is Catholic but has a record of voting for abortion and same-sex marriage, or one who is an Evangelical Protestant and who as governor passed some of the most restrictive laws against abortion in the nation? Would you prefer one who as a senator received ratings of 100% for his voting from both NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and Planned Parenthood and a 0% from the National Right to Life Committee, or one who as governor received 0% ratings from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood and a 100% from the National Right to Life Committee? Further, the party platforms on which they are running are polar opposites regarding moral issues that the Catholic Church considers immutable. One party is opposed to the Church’s positions, the other is in agreement.
Unfortunately, both of the two presidential candidates have major character flaws, and the morality of some of their past actions is repugnant and reprehensible. If judged only on character, the choice of whom to vote for is difficult. Their stated positions, running mates and party platforms, however, should also be taken into account.
One of the two candidates will become president, and each of us will bear some responsibility for the outcome. Our choice is limited, for a Catholic in good conscience cannot vote for a candidate who promotes an intrinsic evil. The person who does not vote or votes for a third party nominee will only help elect the less desirable candidate.
Before you vote, strengthen your understanding of the Church’s positions on moral issues, those that are non-negotiable and those that allow prudential judgment, learn the views of the candidates, give the matter prayerful reflection, and then – and only then -- cast your ballot.
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Lawrence P. Grayson
Editor, Pro-Life News & State Pro-Life Couple, Maryland State Council, Knights of Columbus
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