Call Yourself Catholic? Vote Like a Catholic

On 10/29/2010, in Catholic, Fact, by Tom Voiland

Elections Have Consequences as We’re Now All Too Familiar With

Coming into the 2008 Presidential election, this country was torn apart by war and facing an economic cataclysm.  This reality served to virtually destroy the Republican brand, something the GOP is still dealing with.  The political tsunami that is about to hit the Democrats to the benefit of Republicans is much more a referendum on President Obama and political liberalism than it is a love affair with the Republicans.  Although the GOP brand is in the tank, the Republican platform is still a winner and congruent with traditional American ideals.  These ideals are borne of the Judeo-Christian ethic which is the benchmark of how we should all decide to vote, or should I say for whom we decide to vote, especially Catholics.  The Republican platform is pro-life, anti-embryonic stem cell research, and anti-homosexual marriage, to name a few elements.  Sounds like a marriage made in Heaven for Catholics, right?

I’ve been a political junkie, a wonk if you will, for most of my adult life, probably since the 1992 election.  But it was the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan when I was sixteen that introduced me to how important national elections are, how very consequential they have become, and exactly who votes.  I’m a cradle Catholic and Conservative and it’s only recently, say the last two Presidential cycles, when I became aware that Catholic and Conservative are not politically synonymous, that Catholics are not only overwhelmingly Democrat, but worse yet “vote” for Democrats greater than 50% of the time; 54% for Barack Obama.  How can this be?  Candidate Obama was unabashedly pro-choice, pro embryonic stem cell research and at the very least completely sympathetic to those who wish to redefine the traditional – and Scriptural – definition of marriage.

I’m convinced that the proliferation of technology, especially in mass media – Cable news and the Internet mostly, has allowed our national politics to somewhat shape a lot of our social norms and mores.  No greater example than the fact that the definition of “sexual relations” (infamously spoken by President Clinton in denying his affair with a 21 year old intern) has broadened significantly amongst younger Americans since our nation was drug through the sorid details of President Clinton’s infidelity with Monica Lewinsky.  The Office of the President holds tremendous power and influence in so many ways.  So when we have a protracted national discussion about whether oral sex “is” sex because the President of the United States (Clinton) said to the nation it is not, and subsequently it is proven that American youth have broadened their definition of non sexual activity and increased their participation in that activity, that power and influence is all too apparent.  There’s even a name for it; the Clinton-Lewinsky Effect – look it up.  I wonder if Catholics who voted for Bill Clinton are proud of this legacy.

Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility

When I look at voting statistics from the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections, I’m again perplexed to understand that an average of 50% of Catholics voted for the Democrat candidate.  If there should be “any” monolithic block of voters for the Republican Party (based on the GOP Platform), it should be Catholics.  To make this point, please consider the following excerpt from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document; Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship;

“As Bishops, we seek to form the conscience of our people. We do not wish to instruct persons on how they should vote by endorsing or opposing candidates. We hope that voters will examine the position of candidates on the full range of issues, as well as on their personal integrity, philosophy, and performance. We are convinced that a consistent ethic of life should be the moral framework from which to address issues in the political arena.  For Catholics, the defense of human life and dignity is not a narrow cause, but a way of life and a framework for action.  A key message of the Vatican statement on public life is that Catholics in politics must reflect the moral values of our faith with clear and consistent priority for the life and dignity of the human person.”

A summary version of the Bishops’ teachings on Catholic voting responsibility can be found here and a video on Catholic voting here.

What’s interesting to me is that certain Catholics will read the official Catholic guidelines for creating an “informed conscience” and come away with the notion that such a conscience can vote Democrat.  In my opinion you can’t.  The Democrat platform is materially flawed, almost antithetical to what Catholics believe.  Now I can here people, Catholics screaming at me through the Internet; “What about the poor, what about healthcare, what about immigrants?”  To you I say this.

Regarding the poor; Democrats supposed license on assisting the downtrodden in our country is hogwash.  The difference between Democrats and Republicans “is not” that one wants to help and the other doesn’t, but the manner by which we provide the help.  Democrats and liberals want to provide that help through welfare and government programs, shown to be an abject failure.  Republicans and Conservatives want to provide that help directly, via our own wealth, not our taxes, or through non-profit and faith-based organizations funded by citizens who practice a Christian and civic duty to share their wealth with the less fortunate.  Regarding healthcare; the same thing, the difference is a matter of tactics, not desire.  One side wants to fix the private sector problems, the other side – Democrats – want to kill the health insurance industry in favor of a government run system.  On illegal immigration, the difference lies in the “illegal” part.  Republicans and Conservatives are just as sympathetic as Democrats and liberals.  However, we want an immigrant’s first action as a member of our society to be “under the rule of law.”  That’s the difference.  We do not want to reward criminal acitivity or felons.

Five Non-Negotiable Issues for All Serious Catholics

Some things always are wrong, and no one may vote in favor of them, directly or indirectly.  Citizens vote in favor of these evils if they vote in favor of candidates who propose to advance them.  Thus, Catholics should not vote for anyone who intends to push programs or laws that are intrinsically evil.  These five issues are called non-negotiable because they concern actions that are always morally wrong and must never be promoted by the law. It is a serious sin to endorse or promote any of these actions, and no candidate who really wants to advance the common good will support any of the five non-negotiables.

1. Abortion – The Church teaches that, regarding a law permitting abortions, it is “never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it”.  Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.  The child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child’s, who should not suffer death for others’ sins.

2. Euthanasia – Often disguised by the name “mercy killing,” euthanasia also is a form of homicide.  No one has a right to take his own life (suicide), and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.  In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include doing something intrinsically evil to another person.

3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research – Human embryos are human beings. Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo.  Recent scientific advances show that any medical cure that might arise from experimentation on fetal stem cells can be developed by using adult stem cells instead. Adult stem cells can be obtained without doing harm to the adults from whom they come. Thus there no longer is a medical argument in favor of using fetal stem cells.

4. Human Cloning – Attempts . . . for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through ‘twin fission,’ cloning, or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union.  Human cloning also ends up being a form of homicide because the “rejected” or “unsuccessful” clones are destroyed, yet each clone is a human being.

5. Homosexual “Marriage” – True marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other form of “marriage” undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.  When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, 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.

The Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes – Almost

Although elections are always significant, it really wasn’t until the election of 2000 that the “this is the most important election of our lifetimes” phrase began its decent into a cliche’.  It’s been used ever since, every two years.  Although overused and thus diminished, this platitude can still ring true.  1980 was the most important election of our lifetimes.  Can you imagine four more years of Jimmy Carter?  Was 2000 not immensely important?  Can you fathom President Gore?  As the years have passed and as our national politics have become so much more sectarian, our politicians so much more partisan, and our government so much more detached from the voters, my interest in the entire process has only grown.  Reason being is that this viral and cancerous dysfunction within our national political system has hurt America, has made us weaker as a nation I believe.  And I want be an American, one voice, that helps strengthen this great nation once again.

So it goes that I say that the 2010 mid-terms are the most important elections of our lifetimes (almost).  I state this because the message an absolute and complete thrashing of the Democrat Party will send and the corresponding and complete repudiation of the President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid liberal agenda can go a long way to restoring the true American brand in so many ways.  First, that the United States IS NOT a liberal citizenry; we are moderately to mostly Conservative.  We are a center-right nation – period.  Secondly, that Americans want less government, less government spending, a low income tax structure, a strong national defense, and for the federal government to “facilitate” capitalism, not step on it as with Obamacare, Cap and Trade, etc..  Lastly and most importantly, that the United States – namely its chief diplomats – overtly and unapologetically assert American Exceptionalism.  We’ve earned the right to be the unmitigated world leader and our President and his/her administration should do nothing to diminish this, like apologizing for America or incessantly bowing to various world leaders, but I digress.

Now you’re asking why I’ve qualified the election importance cliche’ with “almost”?  Because the 2012 Presidential election cycle will be even more important than these mid-terms and for all the same reasons.  Although still the planet’s only superpower and still tremendously influential in all aspects of global issues, the “power gap” between America and the rest of the world has shrunk.  That is dangerous because by far the United States is the most qualified to lead from a moral, technical, traditional and theological perspective than anyone else.  I believe it is our divine right to be the fiduciary of world order.  All Catholics, genuine Catholics, not CINOs should take note and cast their votes for America.

 

35 Responses to “Call Yourself Catholic? Vote Like a Catholic”

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  4. TiminChgo says:

    Wrong, wrong, wrong! If you call yourself a Catholic, you are obligated to vote as a good citizen of our nation, not as a good Catholic. Religion is personal and non-rational. It cannot be used as a substitute for rational thought or as a basis for decision making impacting “the common good” in the civil sphere.

    In America we are free to believe whatever religious traditon we want to, and feel free to live those beliefs in our daily lives. But we may not try and force others to live their lives in accordance with OUR beliefs. In our secular America, the Constitution supersedes religious dogma every time, and when people vote as a “Catholic” instead of a “Citizen” they disrepect the Constituion and their fellow citizens.

    • Tom Voiland says:

      Wrong, wrong, wrong you are my friend and on many fronts. First, if you are Catholic you are obliged to consider Catholic doctrine “in all” your decision making, voting is just one slice of that belief system. Second, for Catholics, the “basis” for rational thought is Catholic doctrine and Christian doctrine should drive our “civil sphere”. The latter is no longer as true as it once was in this country, but those times are quickly returning as shown by the mid-term elections. As it is abundantly evident, you don’t get the whole message of the post. Catholic doctrine equates the “fullness of Truth” thus should be the foundation of how a Catholic decides to vote. Neither I in this post nor the Catholic Church (Rome) state anything that dictates “forcing” people to do anything. Christians entire challenge in life is to take Christ’s teaching – the fullness of which lies in the Catholic Church – and make “the right” decisions. It’s called free will. Lastly, NOTHING supercedes religious dogma, in this case Catholic doctrine. And as Christians we have been told by the Author of the Universe – Jesus Christ – to love and respect God “ultimately” and all other respect flows from that.

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  33. Roy Bault says:

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