Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We will vote for...

When the 2008 Presidential Race narrowed to McCain and Obama, I received a slap in the face from the culture of death. In a speech given last week, Archbishop Chaput commented, “I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed ‘abortion-rights’ presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973.” The natural reaction, not response, by dissenting “Catholics” trying to undercut the issue is that we shouldn’t be focused on just one issue. Thankfully, Bishop Kevin Farrell and Bishop Kevin Vann of Dallas and Fort Worth issued a wonderful response to this line of thinking. (Credit to AmP for posting the info.)

The USCCB provided guidelines back in November last year and Bishops around the country are courageously responding to Democrats and “Catholic” organizations trying to peddle their version of Catholicism. In this open war, lives literally hang in the balance. Some might scoff at the term “war,” but I recommend today’s post from AmP to provide justification.

So with less than two weeks left, I have discerned (a bit late) that I could not stand before Christ one day without having tried to stand for what the Church is teaching in this election.

So let’s make it real. Here’s our personal perspective on the candidates, neither of whom we endorse, but one of whom is the clear choice for the best chance of promoting the culture of life in America for the next four years.

Abortion
  • Through Obama’s website, words, and past political actions, Obama has said that he will initiate, support, and approve legislation that will protect killers, violate the sanctity of life, and annihilate millions of defenseless and innocent babies living in their mother’s wombs. We cannot support such an institution of death.
  • McCain’s words and record prove him to be more pro-life than Obama, and he will support and approve legislation protecting life in the womb and the family while advocating to overturn harmful legislation. However, McCain’s stance on abortion is not perfectly in line with Church teaching. He thinks abortion would be permissible in cases of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother.
Stem Cell Research
  • McCain supports federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Obama supports increasing embryonic stem cell research. Both of these stances are incompatible with the dignity of human life. Thankfully Palin has stated that "My personal opinion is we should not create human life -- create an embryo and then destroy it for research -- if there are other options out there... And thankfully, again, not only are there other options, but we're getting closer and closer to finding a tremendous amount more of options, like, as I mentioned, the adult stem cell research."

Bottom line #1: McCain’s not perfect, but he’s a better candidate than Obama for the culture of life. The other issues are also important. The Democrats might argue that pro-lifers fail to provide for the future of the mother and the child facing abortion. These same Democrats would also criticize our current financial structure, which fails to support those in poverty. These and other issues are relevant and I don’t know that Republicans have an adequate solution. The Catholic Church does. Bottom line #2: neither party platform is completely in line with Church teaching. So we have to make the best choice as Catholics.

On making such a choice as a human, much less a Catholic…
God commanded: Thou shall not kill. The Jews from the Old Testament did not have Jesus to convert their hearts. They needed such a law to guide their choices. When Jesus came, died, and rose from the dead into heaven, His fulfillment of the Law gave humanity a new way to live: through love (Matt 22:37-39).

If we give Jesus our hearts, He heals and restores them. Then we realize that we don’t need God’s fifth commandment if, in our hearts, God's love reigns. “To love is to will the good of another”(CCC 1766). In loving, we want to see every soul live forever with God. (For us sinners, this is a continuous process and I’m not saying that anyone, especially me, is perfect.)

The Bishops of the United States have made it clear that danger to life is the most important issue to consider in voting. For those who have surrendered to Jesus, the Bishops are confirming what is in their hearts. For those who are confused, resisting Jesus, and/or resisting His love, the Bishops’ teaching is imperative.

We will vote for McCain and continue to pray for legislation to protect life within the womb. Because even though Jesus is holding out His Sacred Heart to us, some people still need the Old Testament law: Thou shall not kill.

Photo (ceiling shot of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the Catholic University of America campus in Washington, D.C.) credit: NCinDC

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really resent your depiction of all of non-pro-life people. Those of us who believe women and families facing major life decisions such as having a baby, deserve a plethora of choices so that they can do what they feel is best for them, whether that means having a baby, terminating the pregnancy, or giving the baby up for adoption. I am most definitely not part of a culture of death, as you call it. What about pro-life people who bomb clinics and threaten doctors? Is that a culture of life? what about people who cannot afford to provide a safe and warm home, food and education for the children they have and constantly worry about making ends meet? Is that a culture of life? I refuse to be condemned for my choices to choose a healthy and happy sexual, spiritual life that includes birth control and the option to have an abortion. And surprise! I look forward to having a baby someday too.

*carrie* said...

Frances,

Thanks for sharing your stance. I received a newsletter from my mom this morning that compared the two candidates, and feel JM is the better choice for us to make.

Frances said...

Carrie,

Actually, that post was written by David. After he wrote and revised it several times, he asked me to review it with him. We worked together to make it something we could both stand behind, but it's definitely his voice coming through. :)

I got a Focus on the Family Action letter about the elections/candidates in the mail yesterday. I really appreciate the sensitivity and boldness with which Dr. Dobson makes a case. In this instance (as in most) our views are the same. I'm going to hold on to the hope that enough people in our country will vote for the "better choice," as you say.

Diane said...

Thanks so much for this post that backs up it's beliefs so well! As for how we'll vote, ditto! AND we'll pray that all the voters learn and understand why JM is the right choice. It's scary to hear the effects of the propoganda out there! Nov 5th will be an interesting day, to say the least.

Mom

Rebeckah said...

Wow. I love babies. So much. I would NEVER have an abortion. I don't think other people should either. But you know what? It's not really my business if they do or not. I don't believe God would want me to vote on this one issue alone. I hope I will be able to show God's light and love with my words and actions every day. I don't think that saying I am Pro Life makes me any better or worse of a christian. That's just my opinion. I know for sure that God is ultimately in control and he knows who our next President will be.

David said...

To the anonymous soul,

I read your comment earlier today and have been reflecting upon it with a prayerful heart. Years ago, my stance on abortion was not too far from what you've stated.

Suffice to say that I've accepted truths and facts, and I laid down my defenses and opened my heart to God's love. All I ask is that when you read the following words, receive them before throwing up walls.

You stated that you "believe" that choices should be available to families, and I agree. The Catholic Church teaches that there are some times when having a child may not be in the best interest of the family, and we are called to make prudent decisions in planning a family. The Catholic Church advocates using NFP, not the rhythm method. NFP, which is as effective as condoms, allows for scientific timing of your love-making, but if God wants you to bear a child, His will is allowed.

The Church teaches that "terminating the pregnancy" is a choice of “intrinsic evil.” In the past, even Planned Parenthood has stated that a fetus is a live baby. There is no justification for terminating life, even if we "believe" there's a grave reason. Ending another person’s life is called murder and that’s a fact; it’s not a belief. Ending the life of a child in the womb is therefore murder and that’s a fact.

I cannot condone the horrific actions of some "pro-life people.” To act in a violent manner is a foolish way to be a loving example because even anger is considered a violation of the commandment "Thou shall not kill." While these people may advocate against abortion, they are advocating for violence in another form.

If people "cannot afford to provide a safe and warm home, food, or education" for their kids or future ones they can follow NFP. If a woman, or couple, is pregnant and faced with financial issues then that child can be offered up for adoption, as you mentioned. They can also go to a crisis pregnancy center, like Room at the Inn (www.rati.org), to receive housing, food, counseling, and an opportunity to obtain a skill or education to help support their child.

I cannot condemn you and I don't want to. Only Jesus can do that and He's the merciful Lord. I can and will condemn abortion because it ends a life. I can condemn contraception because it removes God from the situation. As I mentioned, with NFP, if God wants there to be a child, there will be one and He will provide. We just have to trust in Him. Using a barrier prevents God's will and it shows Him that we don't trust in His plan or His providence.

As for the culture of death, anyone who uses contraception, advocates for the ending of life in the womb, and supports legislation that protects ending life in the womb is a part of the culture of death. Again, it is not for me to judge another human being. It is my responsibility to condemn acts, which hurt human beings - especially those who can't defend themselves.

Again, I admit that I was a part of the culture of death for years. It wasn’t easy to accept the truth. It gets easier to admit it as I grow. I am grateful for God’s mercy and love.

I do hope you have a child someday. I know that child will be loved.
Peace be with you.

David said...

Rebeckah,
I’m very happy that you would not have an abortion. As for others considering abortion or advocating abortion, I believe it is my business. The Catholic Church, using Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Natural Law, teaches that abortion, killing an unborn baby, is an “intrinsic evil.” As a Christian, I want to protect the baby that can’t protect itself (Psalm 82: 3-4). Moreover, I want to protect the mother who desires abortion from sin. I don’t want to stand before God and say, “I’m sorry that I didn’t do anything to try to stop this evil from occurring.” That won’t fly with our Lord (Ezek 33: 8-9).

There is also a Jewish maxim that illustrates this concept: “If you’re in a boat and someone drills a hole under their seat, you will sink with them.”

Lastly, I would say that one cannot be a Christian without being pro-life. All praise and honor to the Lord, who is in control.

leezy said...

Hey guys...I find your views interesting if somewhat one-sided. Like everything in life, there are always so many facets to consider when delineating in one's mind what is such and such and what is not. Because of your current place in life (and your strong religious beliefs) it is no wonder that you concentrate on the abortion issue as the deciding factor in your candidacy choice, as well as deciding which candidate is more firmly encamped in the "culture of death."

Although I tend to agree with most of what you have written, I would also urge you to research and reflect on the ways in which John McCain inhabits the culture of death, even more so than Barak Obama. This is not written in defense of Obama, rather, I think it would be beneficial for all of your readers to hear what you say on other crucial issues.

Quickly, I am very concerned about John McCain's voting history where the war is concerned. I'm also mortified over his repeated declarations over the need for a stronger military presence. This is not culture of life material.

I am horrified by his support of capitol punishment, coupled with his support of the 1994 Biden bill which expanded the number of capitol offenses and simultaneously limited the number of capitol offense appeals (I know that Obama supports CP as well, but at least his voting and bills have been with an eye to mitigate the process - less wrongful convictions, etc.). These actions do not speak to a culture of life either.

And gun support...Oh goodness. McCain has supported this issue again and again. And once again, while Obama supports it, it is with caution. I'll mention here McCain's ties to George Soros. This should be a very scary link to McCain for anyone who purports to live a culture of life. It should, even with his (mediocre) stance on pro-life issues, give one pause on how well he fits the bill for a culture of life vote. Overall, writing everything down, column-style - does McCain really come out as the better (Catholic) candidate?

Again, this is not a campaign statement for Obama! I just think we should all know what we are getting ourselves into on all of the issues at hand.

Peace and love to all!

David said...

Peace be with you, Leezy,

It’s always recommended and appropriate to consider the full picture when making a decision. I wholeheartedly admit that my desire to adhere to the teachings and guidance of the Catholic Church focuses my attention on all life and protecting it. Our daughter’s existence confirms that teaching and guidance in our lives.

With evidence, I can safely disagree with your perspective that John McCain inhabits the culture of death more so than Barack Obama. Our post specifically states, “Here’s our personal perspective on the candidates, neither of whom we endorse, but one of whom is the clear choice for the best chance of promoting the culture of life in America for the next four years.” I made it clear that McCain is not perfectly in line with the Church’s teaching on abortion and stem cell research. As already stated, McCain, while not perfect, has been adamant that he will not pursue removing the current restrictions on abortion. He has made any number of references to the fact that he will protect the unborn life. His position within the culture of life is far from “mediocre.” (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/issues/95b18512-d5b6-456e-90a2-12028d71df58.htm) Obama, on the other hand, has been excruciatingly adamant that he will protect the “choice” to kill unborn babies. He stated to Planned Parenthood that his first act as President would be to remove all current restrictions on abortion.
(http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=11918 & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUl99id2SvM.)
McCain will protect life more than Obama.

As for “other crucial issues,” I believe that abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and protecting the sanctity of marriage are the most important issues we face in the United States for the important reason that they are non-negotiable. On Jimmyakin.org this particular issue is addressed well in regards to its relevance to abortion: (http://jimmyakin.org/2008/09/elections-votin.html)
“We…know that in Catholic moral and social thinking not all moral issues are of equal weight, nor do all involve moral absolutes. For example, in an oft-quoted passage from his 2004 memo to Cardinal McCarrick, then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, contrasted the grave and intrinsic evils of abortion and euthanasia with the less black-and-white issues surrounding capital punishment and waging war:
'Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.'”
While the idea of receiving Holy Communion is not a focus of this response, the weight of abortion as an issue compared to war and capital punishment is.

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is unfortunate and the USCCB agrees that it is unfortunate. (http://www.usccb.org/bishops/iraq.shtml) Yet, the troops are there, and I support those men and women obediently risking their lives. Is pulling all of the troops out right now the best course to ensure a greater peace and stability in the region? Is adding more troops the best way? I don’t know these answers. I know that killing is evil.
The point I’d like you to consider is if Obama supports the murder of babies, why would I trust such a man to lead an armed force as strong as the United States’? Doesn’t logic dictate that if he’ll allow free reign for the murder of babies, he’ll make decisions without regard to the value of life using the most powerful military on the planet? Here’s a small post done by Devin and Katie on the success of the US forces in Iraq in relation to the increase of troops. http://www.devinrose.heroicvirtuecreations.com/blog/2008/10/17/peace-returning-to-iraq/

This is part of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Capital Punishment from the Catechism. “Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent." Therefore I agree that both candidates are equally culpable in this issue, as I don’t have any evidence to the contrary.

As far as gun support, guns are no different than the instruments doctors use to kill babies. It’s the hands of the killer that manipulates the tool. There are no laws for the limitations of scalpels or sautering irons that can be purchased. The underlying disease here is a loss of respect for life by those who use the guns.

The bottom line is that since Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, if you combined all of the deaths from wars in which the US was involved, all of the people murdered due to capital punishment in the US, and all of the people murdered with guns in the US, you would not even come close to the 47 million babies that have legally been murdered.

Lastly, you’ve made several accusations about McCain not being culture of life “material.” Does advocating for a stronger military presence guarantee that the increased presence will result in more death? The latest surge was shown to increase peace (see Devin and Katie’s link above). On the other hand, reducing restrictions on abortions guarantees more death. Does the fact that McCain supports the use of guns mean that there will be a huge up tick in killing once he’s elected? Not necessarily. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act will guarantee that more killing will take place. You mentioned George Soros and McCain. I don’t know if I’d call that association an indictment for the culture of death. Your only legitimate argument about McCain and the culture of death is his support of capital punishment. To learn more about the culture of life and how it should be applied, I encourage a thorough reading of Pope John Paul the Great’s Evangelium Vitae where the concept originated. (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html)

Bottom Line: As a Catholic, when faced with two candidates who support evil in one form or another, the goal is to choose the candidate who supports less evil. We should reduce the level of evil we will face. McCain has proven to be that choice.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSEaDov37R0)

Missy said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNzmly28Bmg

This scares me terribly...

Missy

David said...

It scares me too Missy. We're praying hard.