We have become very confused as a nation on what constitutes a “human right.” The most basic right of all (the right to life) has been redefined to exclude human life in the womb. And the right to religious liberty (our “first and most cherished liberty”) is being set aside in favor of other “rights,” which are not rights at all, but which in fact, represent intrinsic evils. So now we have concocted the following false “rights” to supplant our true rights. These are some of the false “rights” that are currently being promoted:
- ¨ The “reproductive right” of a woman to kill the child in her womb,
- ¨ The “right” of homosexual couples to “marry” and the obligation of everyone else to recognize this as “marriage,”
- ¨ The “right” for people confused about their own gender to demand that others refer to them by the gender they have chosen for themselves (and to let them use the men’s or women’s restroom of their choice, based on that decision).
I truly do not think our nation can survive if we allow such confusion to flourish and to be promoted by our leaders and our Supreme Court.
Catholics, unfortunately continue to vote for candidates that are hostile to the core values of our faith. The practice of our faith is gradually being criminalized and Catholics continue to vote for those who are responsible for this effort. I believe they do so because they feel they may be promoting the good of the poor or those who are discriminated against, or any number of other good reasons.
Even our bishops seem to be divided about how to interpret Church teachings. At the core of this debate is how to weigh one issue against another. This touches upon the hierarchy of values and how we can promote the common good: which things we can tolerate or support and those we can not.
In all of this, we cannot ignore the attack on innocent life by legalized abortion. Perhaps we have become numb to the staggering numbers of innocent lives that are being lost due to abortion. We tend to react to things we can see and abortion is a hidden evil.
It might be different if our leaders were lining up 100,000 innocent people per month in our communities every day for firing squads because their views differed with those of the current administration. But the result is the same: innocent lives are being terminated. Imaging trying to make a case to vote for a candidate who said publicly that they will do everything in their power to ensure that these death squads continue to operate and will appoint Supreme Court justices who will do the same! In addition, they pledge to use tax dollars to fund these death squads in our country and throughout the world. Would you put a sign in your yard asking people to vote for that candidate?
I recognize we face difficult choices and there are many issues to consider, including the character of the candidate. But what does it say about one’s character if one can coldly sentence millions of innocent babies in the womb to death, even up to the last day of the ninth month of pregnancy, with their little bodies halfway out of the womb? (partial birth abortion) What does this say about our country?!
We are faced with making moral choices in every area of our lives, not the least of which is the voting booth. There are no perfect candidates and it can be very difficult to weigh one issue against another in choosing a candidate to vote for. But our Catholic faith demands that the “service of the common good require[s] citizen’s to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.” As faithful citizens we are called to “bring our moral convictions to public life” in how we vote. (USCCB, Faithful Citizenship)
Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for life explains it this way: “Some people see life issues as linked arithmetically; they are lined up and counted. Actually, they are related geometrically. People sometimes say to me, ‘Abortion is only one among many issues.’ I respond by saying, ‘Yes, and the foundation of the house is only one of many parts of the house.’”
Among the dignity of human life issues, abortion “necessarily plays a central role.” The Bishops explain that a public official’s being “right” on some aspects of these issues “can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life.” “Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters . . . All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation . . . Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.” (USCCB, Living the Gospel of Life, 23)
As Pope Saint John Paul II explained, the common good, “is not simply the sum total of particular interests; rather it involves an assessment and integration of those interests on the basis of a balanced hierarchy of values; ultimately, it demands a correct understanding of the dignity and the rights of the person.” In general, we find that the language the Church uses for abortion is more insistent and absolute than the language it uses for other issues: care of the poor, discrimination, death penalty… “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”
For the sake of the common good, the protection of innocent life is fundamental, and must come first: “Civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being.” (Pope Saint John Paul II) “If such great care must be taken to respect every life, even that of criminals and unjust aggressors, the commandment “You shall not kill” has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenseless human beings” (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 57 & 71)
As you consider who you should vote for, consider this passage from the Word of God:
“You shall not… stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:16