Electoral Anguish

I have a deep, heartfelt pain about Election Day.

No, it isn’t the fear of my candidates losing. It is knowing that many of my fellow Catholics, people I sit near in Mass, people who want to do good for others, people who seem like kind and gentle souls, will vote for candidates who are on the wrong side of serious moral issues.

I’m talking about the non-negotiable issues – at least they are non-negotiable according to the Church.  Abortion.  Euthanasia.  Embryonic stem-cell research.  Gay marriage.  Human cloning.

Knowing that these five things are just flat-out wrong, why would a Catholic vote for a candidate who supports one or more of them?  There are several possibilities:

· The voter simply doesn’t know better, is poorly informed, uneducated.

·  The voter disagrees with Church teaching.

·  The voter knows the candidate is wrong on one or more of these issues, but believes other factors are more important.

It is this last rationalization that is most painful to me.  The errant voter’s thought process goes something like this:  “Well, I know Sen. Snodgrass supports abortion, but he also supports increased government programs to help the poor.  And Catholics are supposed to help the poor.  And if there are fewer poor people, maybe there will be fewer abortions.  So as a Catholic, I really should support Sen. Snodgrass.”

OK.  This is where you have to pay attention, because I expect some readers are thinking the voter just made a completely logical, moral argument.  No quite.

Remember, I called these five issues “non-negotiable.”  That means there isn’t any question that each of these is wrong.  In other words, the Church doesn’t recognize a circumstance in which any of these actions is permissible.  For example, human cloning is wrong all the time, not just most of the time or except when a scientist thinks he can create a second Einstein.

In the case of my “logical” voter’s analysis, there is the decision to support a candidate on the wrong side of abortion (a non-negotiable) in order to support a negotiable (some might even say highly debatable) position. 

Sen. Snodgrass supports big government programs to help the poor.  But whether they will actually help the poor is uncertain.  In fact, in the wake of the War on Poverty and Great Society programs, we have more people in poverty and a higher abortion rate.  The intention to help may be laudable, but the result is debatable. 

My feelings about such issues as the size of government, the best way to deliver health care and tax rates are, in my mind, obviously correct.  But people of sound mind and heart may disagree.

But we know for certain that an abortion results in a dead baby.  Euthanasia kills.

I pray that all voters, but especially my fellow Catholics, will remember the non-negotiable issues when they vote.  These are the matters of heaven and hell.

About Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a writer and consultant. He lives in the Chicago area and has a wonderful wife, son and daughter. He enjoys fishing and occasionally catches something. He tries to play the piano and sings a little. In addition to writing for Regnum Christi Live, he blogs at Laughing Catholic. And you can follow him on Twitter: Jim Fair (@fishfair).
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