Voting Right

As I was scrolling through this week's Catholic Carnival, I found another post from Jay at DeoOmnisGloria about these midterm elections titled Voting Priorities. In it he says, "I strongly believe you can quickly ascertain the moral quality of a candidate by their stance on this one issue. By their choice of whether to protect the innocent unborn, you can understand how they will choose to rule in other issues of weak versus strong."

While I agree we have a moral duty to vote for those candidates who defend the unborn (and thereby uphold the common good), I would be careful to claim that such a stance on the part of a canditate serves as a moral litmus test for that candidate. Most Republicans are wedded to big business and corporate interests whose commitment to the common good is dubious at best. I would hesitate to claim that the candidates endorsed by National Right to Life are champions of moral virtue in the romantic way that Jay has described; most often they have embraced the pro-life camp as an effective political strategy.

I don't see how the Republicans have demonstrated that they care about the other weak and vulnerable classes of our society. Their commitment to Catholic Social Doctrine is singular in their defense of the unborn. And the otherwise laudable commitment of the Democratic Party is notably lacking in this one respect. Neither party vindicates the Church's moral teaching on human sexuality, so that's a moot point. Politicians are not moral champions; both partisan platforms are as morally reprehensible as the candidates they put forth. But we as Catholics have a moral obligation to only vote for those candidates who propose to support the fundamental Constitutional rights upon which this country was founded in keeping with the natural law.

In other words: the moral litmus test will not be read in our elected officials; it will be read in those of us who elect them.

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