Bishops aren’t gonna take it

Bishops

While I’m not always a fan of the decisions and proclamations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), their response to life issues in our upcoming national elections have been exemplary.

This article from the New York Times a few months back demonstrates their deep commitment to the protection of the unborn. Even when there is creeping liberalism on many other issues, they seem to stand very strong on life.

Here’s some gems:

Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark said: “I think he’s being illogical, as are all of those who take the stand that ‘I’m personally opposed to abortion but this is my public responsibility to permit it.’ To violate human life is always and everywhere wrong. In fact, we don’t think it’s a matter of church teaching, but a matter of the way God made the world, and it applies to everyone.”

Bishop Baker noted that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had declared abortion a “grave moral evil.” About Mr. Giuliani, he said, “I can’t understand personally how a person could fudge it if they were holding that perspective and the Catholic bishops had made that an official statement.”

The thrust of the article is that Giuliani, as a Catholic, has no right to go round supporting or allowing for abortion and the Bishops aren’t going to let him get away with it. They have, at least, made their positions clear.

Pragmatic Voting

Which brings us to another interesting question. Does casting a vote for a candidate say you are affirming everything that candidate stands for? I used to think so, but I’m not so sure anymore. By the by, I know I’m very dogmatic about a lot of things, but I am very genuinely curious as to what you guys think here. I’m kind of at a middle groundish sort of place.

On the one hand, it seems like there’s a certain sense in which you’re throwing your hat in the ring with the candidate you cast your ballot with. On the other hand, has there been a candidate while readers of this blog have been alive (if ever) whose every policy and personal belief we would wholeheartedly support? Certainly not since I’ve been old enough to vote.

Perhaps instead of thinking in terms of ‘the lesser of two evils’ we ought to think in terms of which candidate best advances our causes. This comes down to a pretty pure pragmatism, which I hate, but am starting to think might be necessary.

For instance, I have thought of myself for a while as a single issue voter. A candidate’s stance on abortion would make or break my support of them. But if we are given a Hilary or Obama vs. Giuliani ballot next November, I can’t in good conscience support any of those candidates 100%. Do I just not vote, or do I vote for the one who might appoint a Supreme Court Justice who could do some good?

Another angle: Many conservatives have ragged on Justice Alito because he ruled with the majority in a New Jersey State Supreme Court ruling that upheld late term abortions. But Alito was simply upholding stare decisis and voting with the standing law of the land, which was his job as a judge. Do we censure him for not voting with what he knows to be right? Can we be that absolute about this? Is a judge supposed to uphold the law of the land or vote according to his heart?

Politics is a messy, sticky, yucky business and we need to think critically about it. Any thoughts on who to support in upcoming elections?

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