Objectively my political views lean left in American politics. I have plenty of company among Catholic voters. However, a solid group of the Catholics vote staunchly republican based on two issues: abortion and taxation. Abortion is the high moral ground vote. Taxation tends to be the selfishly motivated vote. Less taxes paid by the upper middle class and wealthy, less services for the lower and middle class.
The abortion issue provides moral cover for the taxation issue while ignoring other Catholic values and beliefs for some. This block of voters is solidly republican.
For other Catholics they do a deep dive into all aspects of how a candidate locally or nationally promotes Christian values. Sometimes they vote right, sometimes left. These issues, in addition to defending human life and the dignity of human life, include healthcare, economy, immigration, human rights nationally and internationally, environment, religious freedom, racism, and personal integrity.
This latter group, combined with prayer and personal struggle, are practicing voting a “discerning vote.” A discerning vote in Catholic ideology is an educated vote that is tested against all tenets of the faith, prayed on, and acted on. The action part is not just pushing a lever on November 2.
Whatever side a Catholic votes on, policies or projected values by that candidate or party will contradict Christian values. As Christians, when we vote for a party that goes against a Christian value (presumably because the vote supports many other Christian values), we should be taking other actions to address Christian Social issues that our vote abandoned.
If my candidate was a perfect candidate for Christian values except immigration. Perhaps in addition to my vote I am writing him/get a letter, doing an op ed, donating or volunteering to help immigrants. Our vote is an opportunity to do a litmus test on our full Christian life and where we fall short. It is not just a reflection of the candidate. It is a call to action. What will your vote be and how will your vote fall short of Catholic values? What will you do about that conflict and appearance of hypocrisy? Other than not voting, you have no choice but to pick a party or candidate that is imperfect.
The video below captures my voting process and thoughts accurately. The speaker is a well known Catholic lay person with impressive credentials. One line in this video is he believes our church is better served by seeking converts than by seeking heretics!
This is so powerful. Often during political elections we can descend into attacking secular society, non-believers, people we perceive as being sinners, other faiths not aligned with Catholicism, the political candidate or their party themselves. We can descend into party ideology, personal bias, nationalism, and herd mentality sacrificing our independent responsibility in the process.
This is a sure path to heretical voting! Rather than capturing heretics we become heretics. The exact opposite of our intentions as discerning Catholic voters. It is a good thing that Catholics do not vote as “1” voting block. To do so would remove the individual responsibility to own each issue in its own context today and then vote and act accordingly.
I know my vote today but will not share it here even though it is no secret. It will fall short of what many in the faith say is required of a Catholic voter. As an independent voter, I have consistently disagreed with their assessment in favor of a different approach (sometimes referred to as choose life democrats). This is my discerning mind. What about action other than my vote?
My vote falls shy of Pro-life calls for criminalizing and prosecuting women and doctors for abortion procedures. My faith tells me we should be doing everything we can as a faith to support pregnant Women with every option to have the opportunity to be mothers (without shaming or threatening freedom) in a manner that supports human dignity, by example, by attraction, and by sacrifice through our faith, not by secular law. If we do this well we will be supporting a pro-life culture, not just reducing abortions (legal or illegal), but promoting the dignity of life across the board.
Whether you vote right or left this November, please join me in contributing to this cause below. It is an example of supporting what I believe society and Catholics can do more of to support the dignity of all human life: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/every-mother-counts/birth-justice-in-2020.
At the end of the day we are all accountable, even charities. Here is this charities transparency and results page: https://everymothercounts.org/our-story/transparency/.
I hope you have gained some self-questioning and increased awareness by reading this blog. No matter how aware and informed we are, the depth of the spirit is always greater than our knowledge. This piece includes just a droplet of sincere contemplation, education, self-reflection, and action driven by discernment and prayer. It is by far not perfect and very fallible – but it is independent of heretical crowd sourcing and very much owned by me.
May my God find my vote, my opinions, and my actions in accordance with his will.