By Judie Brown
Election day is upon us once again, and the same old trite comments arise.
• Dear Judie, Can we vote for a candidate who favors abortion if he is better than his opponent on other “issues”?
• Dear Judie, The Catholic Church is wrong on abortion; it’s a religious issue, not a matter to be decided by politicians or judges.
• Dear Judie, I am Catholic and pro-choice. That’s how I plan to vote.
What all of these statements have in common is a flawed understanding of fundamental Catholic teaching, not to mention logic. First and foremost, each of these Catholic voters is in a state of confusion, or as Cardinal Raymond Burke pointed out, they are the victims of scandal. In other words, the mixed messages of pro-abortion Catholic politicians and the manner in which they are dealt with by the hierarchy leave people with a false idea of what is and is not expected by Christ and His Church of Catholics in the voting booth.
Burke said, “As a bishop it’s my obligation, in fact, to urge the faithful to carry out their civic duty in accord with their Catholic faith.”
A perfect example of the scandal to which Burke referred is the Catholic News Agency’s description of the direct taking of the life of a preborn baby as “the contentious topic of abortion.” Such words suggest that the act of killing a child is but one of several questions challenging voters.
Burke, on the other hand, was not as politically correct; his passion for truth in the must-see four-minute-video which presents his comments about abortion makes that extremely clear. Burke beseeched those who hear his words to reflect on the golden rule—to understand that these babies are part of our human family. And he said, one “can never vote for someone who favors absolutely what’s called the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb or the right to a procured abortion.”
He made it a point to clarify that, in the same way we would want voters to safeguard us if our lives were at stake, so too we have to think about our smallest brothers and sisters—even in the embryonic stage of life. Put yourself in the place of that preborn child when preparing to cast a vote.
In his simple but profound way, Cardinal Burke brought home the reality of what it means to vote in matters of life and death according to the golden rule—the just and perfect law.
As the American Life League voter guide states:
If a candidate respects the dignity of human beings in some circumstances but not in others, he cannot hold the belief that every human being’s life is sacred and inviolable. That candidate, no matter how right he is on other topics, should not receive your vote.
In an increasing number of cases, elections feature two major party candidates, neither of whom is in total agreement with the Church. Some say it is “throwing away your vote” to choose an independent or third-party candidate whose position is consistent with Catholic teachings. But our obligation as Catholics is to vote for the person who reflects Catholic teaching. None of us can control the outcome of an election; each of us can vote for the solidly pro-life candidate.
It is incumbent upon each of us, as citizens of this nation who understand that laws divorced from God are not only unjust but evil, to cast our vote with Christ.
We further follow the word of St. Paul, in his Second Letter to Timothy, chapter 4, when we admonish, “Be careful always to choose the right course.”
image: Theresa Thompson via Flickr | CC-2.0