“Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics”

That’s the title of a pamphlet given out at church last week. It informed me of my moral role as a Catholic voter: “Service of the common good requires citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community”. In short – vote. And do not vote “for a political program or individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals “. So far so good.

The pamphlet listed five “non-negotiable” issues: 1. Abortion, 2. Euthanasia, 3. Fetal Stem Cell Research, 4. Human Cloning, 5. Homosexual “Marriage”.

No peacemaking, no feeding the hungry, no caring to the sick, no forgiveness and admonishment of the sinner, no instruction of the ignorant. Nothing about the death penalty. Nothing about the economy. Nothing about the environment. In short, the issues portrayed as “non-negotiable” involved me telling someone else how to live and what to do for themselves and others. It had NOTHING to do with me of us doing something for others directly.

It’s always them that needs to change isn’t it?

It disgusted me. I look at my Catholicism as a calling for me to do things, not as a guide to for me to shout down at others.

In the Presidential election, IMHO, both candidates are weak Christians.

But then again – as are we all. Isn’t that what Christianity is about? For us to take up our own crosses and help others carry theirs?

The pamphlet is online at Catholic.com. So is a brilliant article at Gadflyer that rips this hypocrisy to shreds.

5 thoughts on ““Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics”

  1. Hi Karl,
    I understand your conflict where your religion had “involved me telling someone else how to live and what to do for themselves and others. It had NOTHING to do with me of us doing something for others directly”
    I have been experiencing that now at church, although ny kids are in Catholic school, we attend a fundamentalist Baptist Church and they have pitted sides. It is an us against them war and it is all right against wrong, black against white, It feels wrong to me, yet if I an quoted the King James Bible the Pastor can make it all make sense and I feel like a back slidden sinner lost in the world.
    So what the answer?
    Throw away that pamphlet and vote your heart, vote in celebration of the diversity of the mankind God created and vote for the person who you feel can really help elevate us a race, as a people and as a community, to challenge us to become more than we are, and do more than we imangined, something that we have not been given credit for being able to do for a long time. It is time for us all to think for ourselves, because this time right now reflects the sad truth of what happens when the majority of the American people decide to let someone else do the thinking for them.

    I have always appreciated your message, thanks for the voice


  2. If “doing something for others directly” is not rooted in respect for the dignity of human life created in God’s image, and begin with safeguarding the right to life as the foundation of all human rights, then how could one in conscience claim to be doing good?

  3. “If “doing something for others directly” is not rooted in respect for the dignity of human life created in God’s image,”

    Oh but it *is* Bern and that’s the point. My faith is to instruct ME in how to handle MYSELF.

    If we are to stop abortion, it’s not going to be by judging and telling others what to do.

    It is by changing our own actions – helping to provide adequate health care for the poor for example – so that the choice is as clear cut as our hearts make it.

    I’m tired of the finger pointing. Time to re-read the Gospels.

  4. Certainly we have a serious obligation in the first instance to do everything in our power to ensure that no one ever feels compelled to see taking an innocent human life as a solution to a problem. But that fact hardly relieves us of our concurrent obligation to ensure that the law ultimately safeguards such life. It’s both/and.

    And it’s a matter of justice and compassion in the light of the Gospels — as well as a purely secular understanding of the fundamental human right to life. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “finger pointing” or “judging and telling others what to do.”

  5. This debate could go on and on, as it it one interpretation versus another. The fact is, it is a very personal decison to make and in doing so I don’t believe at all that the person is acting against against human life or callouslly using it as a “solution to a problem”, but this potential example of what COULD happen is used more than I care to mention in an attmept tp argue away a woman’s personal rights, but this arguement doesn’t work because it is not about choice so much as it is about belief and interpretation. Whether or not one believes that life begins at conception or not, and further more, it depends on what we all believe, God, Buddah, Jehovah, whatever, so can’t we all just look past that? Saying that this is a secular understanding of the fundamental human right to life is one that I have never even heard before, Pro-Life = Secular? It is an oxymorn!
    Being a caring gentle person who is compassionate about human life and humanity does not depend on a right wing political belief nor does it depend on the reaidng of the Gospels,(although not a bad thing to do), it is simply doing good, being good, and acting kindly, voting your heart in an informed manner and NEVER using your own personal beliefs as the artilery to force your point.
    We all live and love in this world, We all have lost family and friends and we all are suffering with our neighbors as this war continues on and more and more Americans are killed everyday. Have we forgotton the lessons that 911 taught us so quickly? Because I see less and less compassion in the eyes of my fellow man every day. Just when we should be banding together, we are pulling further away from eachother.Why do we try so hard to sabotage our own happiness and ability to peacefully exist with eachother?
    Is it really that important to feel right?

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