Sunday, September 28, 2008

A response to a Catholic Obama supporter

Often times in debates, especially political, it is easy for people, ourselves included, to get swept up in emotion, and to divulge their conclusions with no explanation of how they got there. This frequently results in misunderstanding and confusion and can sometimes even lead to animosity and hatred. As Christians, we have a responsibility to rise above that. Also as Christians, we have an obligation to try to live a moral life, and avoid sin. In so doing, we have to make objective judgments about actions. We do not, however, have a right to make subjective judgments about people, and this was never our intention in the comment about reflecting on your Catholic soul. We are not passing judgement upon you or anyone else. It is, however, a reminder of the fact that as Catholics, we must recognize that the protection of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is fundamental.

God is not Republican or Democrat, but God's love for all human life is one that extends beyond any political boundaries. As Catholics, we can have legitimate disagreements about how to pay for health care, education, housing, foreign policy, and many other issues. These disagreements can exist without any moral deficiencies on the part of either side. They are often disagreements about strategy, not ultimate goals. Vying for one side or the other can be morally acceptable.

The Church makes it clear that we can support a pro-choice candidate DESPITE his or her position but never BECAUSE of that position. It is completely incompatible to be both a faithful, practicing Catholic and pro-choice. Based on your response it sounds like you are supporting Sen. Obama for other reasons: health care, education, etc. Though we disagree in terms of approach to these issues, we fully take you at your word and don't question that it is your faith in Christ that motivates you to help those in need. But what the Church has always taught, and why we cannot possibly support Sen. Obama, is that human life is sacred from the moment of conception. Therefore, abortion is intrinsically evil, and advocating abortion is a sin. The right to life is fundamental; without it all other liberties stand in meaningless mockery.

Sen. Obama voted three times against a bill that would grant human rights to babies who survived abortion attempts and were living and breathing ON THEIR OWN outside the mother's womb. Such babies, instead, are wheeled into a utility closet until they cry themselves to death.

Currently, the Department of Health and Human Services is supporting a ruling that would protect pro-life doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who refuse to perform abortions. Sen. Obama would strike that rule down. Opponents of the rule, like Obama, might cite the separation of Church and State as the reason for opposing this ruling. However, the separation of Church and State was never intended to overrule the individual's informed conscience, which we as Catholics recognize to be supreme in governing our way of life.

The issue of abortion is also tied to socialized health care. If government becomes the single payer of health care, it can also dictate what it will and will not pay for. This will lead us on a path, which we are on already, that puts a monetary value on human life. We all know that pregnancies and births are very expensive. Other countries with socialist or communist medicine have child limitations, enforced by mandatory sterilizations and forced abortions. (China, anyone? Does this sound like free choice?) Already in this country we see insurance companies who would deny expensive cancer treatments, but at the same time cover physician-assisted suicide. Please refer to Oregon.

In terms of sexual ethics, Senator Obama voted for a bill to teach sex education to kindergartners. If you reply, like Senator Obama has, that this is a false claim, go online and read the text of the bill for yourself. We did. The language is in the first paragraph. As Catholics, we are taught that our sexuality was made for and brought to perfection in the context of our chaste lived vocations. As men and women we are brought to fulfillment sexually through our spouses, the Church, or our single way of life. The union of one man and one woman, as taught by the Church, is only morally permissible within the context of marriage, and only when it is free from coercion and any artificial means of contraception. The teaching of Humanae Vitae, clearly vindicated in the course of history, is highly instructive. In other words, it is when this marriage covenant is abused that natural law is thwarted and human dignity is diminished.

We are not voting on one issue. We are voting on many issues, but not all issues are equal in importance. The question of abortion is the trump card for us as Catholics. When the government can abrogate for itself the right to decide who may live or die for expediency or convenience, we are all in danger. Be forewarned: as the baby boomers move into long-term care en masse, you will start to hear arguments in favor of euthanasia much more frequently. Please pray for the disabled, both physically and mentally, already targets to the utilitarian viewpoint.

Roe vs. Wade should be overturned, not only because it makes the wholesale killing of innocent babies at every stage of development legal in all 50 states, but because it is bad law. It is the role of the legislature, accountable to the citizens of the United States, to make laws. By fiat, and with no Constitutional basis, the Supreme Court decided that abortion cannot be outlawed in the U.S. Since 1973, forty-seven million U.S. citizens have been aborted in this county. That's seven million each year, or the population of Los Angeles and Chicago combined. Forty-seven million members of our generation have been denied the right to live. The price of gas seems trivially unimportant, doesn't it?

Pro-abortion advocates think that overturning Roe v. Wade will make abortion illegal. This is not so. The issue will go back to the states, where the state legislatures, acting on behalf of the people they represent, will decide if and how abortion will be allowed in their jurisdiction. This is proper democratic procedure, after all, giving voice to the people. Forty-seven million citizens have been denied that vote in the matter.

You might still say that we are voting on one issue; in our defense, it seems the most important issue at stake. You might find that despite all this, you continue to support Senator Obama. We cannot make that decision for you. To your credit, yours is the most thoughtful and articulate defense of your support for him that we have heard from anyone. Most people just say, "Change, hope, change, change, evil George Bush, hope, change, hope." Yet we strongly disagree, and with the Church, we see that abortion is not just one issue among many. We are surrounded by a culture of death, with no regard for the value of human life. It is our responsibility to stand and be a voice for the voiceless. After all, it is for human lives that Christ suffered and died. His children are being denied life.

Please consider all of this as you determine how you will vote this November. In the meantime, we invite you and all others of goodwill to join in peaceful prayer vigil in the 40 Days for Life campaign. And remember, if life itself is jeopardized, all other liberties are meaningless.

God bless you.

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