Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How should a Catholic vote?

Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, writes:

Some will argue that faith has no place in politics. But the notion that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause somehow forbids either a public official or a voter from taking into account personal religious values when deciding matters of public policy is absurd.

After all, some of the most important movements in our history — the abolitionist movement which ended slavery, the civil-rights movement, which finally made racism morally unacceptable in America — were born as religious movements.

Some people believe that "Church and State should be separate". By that, they mean that Conservative Christians shouldn't vote according to what they think is right.

I think that is an extremely dangerous proposition. It's akin to setting up the thought police. In fact, Catholics who adopt that point of view already self-censor, and have an "internal thought police" or "internal inquisition" if you will.

People must be able to follow their conscience, that is-- do what they know to be right. That is one of the most fundamental principles of moral behaviour.

If the culture or the state compels people to not vote their conscience-- that would signify that they feel they have the right to override and individual's sense of right and wrong.

Are consciences sometimes badly formed? Yes. Does that mean the principle is bad? No it does not.

Because the corollary is that if a conscience is correctly formed, and knows what's right, but doesn't do it, then truth and justice cannot prevail.

The potential for totalitarianism is great when you do not allow people to act according to their own views, and impose only one correct worldview by which they must behave and act.

It is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion-rights politicians. It is time that Catholics shine a bright line of separation between themselves and all those politicians who defend the abortion-rights regime of Roe v. Wade.


Imagine the effect if this year millions of Catholic voters simply say “no” — no to every candidate for every office of every political party who supports abortion rights.

It’s time Catholics stop accommodating pro-abortion-rights politicians and it’s time to start demanding that they accommodate us. This is the only decision that offers the real chance for real change, because no candidate or political party can withstand the loss of millions of Catholic voters in this — or any other — election.

Part of the problem in Canada though, is that a large number of pro-abortion Catholic politicians are from Quebec, but there is total apathy on the part of the Church to discipline these politicians, and the pro-life movement there is weak. If the pro-life movement wants to make political inroads, we have to work on the situation in Quebec.

I mostly agree with what Carl Anderson wrote, but I do have a strong objection to the following statement:

In this election, if a Catholic cannot vote for the pro-life candidate, then not voting for that office may be the sincerest expression of faithful citizenship.

Voting is a moral obligation. I believe the best expression of faithful citizenship would be some form of declining a ballot or even spoiling a ballot. Staying home is not expressing oneself politically, and Catholics cannot afford to do this.

I think that while what is said is true, Carl Anderson has some work to do in his own back yard. There are pro-abortion politicians in the Knights of Columbus. I never heard of them being censured or disciplined in any way.

H/T: The Black Kettle

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