Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thoughts on Voting with a Religious Conscience

Recognizing that "Our nation faces political challenges that demand urgent moral choices", The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a number of statements after their recent meeting in Baltimore "to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with the truth, so they can make sound moral choices in addressing these challenges".

To me, one of the more significant quotes from "The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" describes the difficulty in choosing the political party which best addresses these problems :"In today’s environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity".

Often, when voting, I've had to make compromises. With of the Democrats' position on abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research, it's nearly impossible for me to vote for any Democrat, but that does not mean that I support everything the Republican Party stands for. I'm not comfortable with most of the Republicans' ideas on illegal immigration, prayer in school or capital punishment.

Neither party seems to have a rational view concerning the war in Iraq. In a statement from 2006, the chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Policy, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, wrote:

“Our nation cannot afford a shrill and shallow debate that distorts reality and reduces the options to ‘cut and run’ versus ‘stay the course.’ Instead we need a forthright discussion that begins with an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq and acknowledges both the mistakes that have been made and the signs of hope that have appeared. Most importantly, an honest assessment of our moral responsibilities toward Iraq should commit our nation to a policy of responsible transition…. Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as it takes for a responsible transition, leaving sooner rather than later.”

When you compare the "pro-life" positions of the two parties, most Republicans I know are in favor of capital punishment with the Democrats being militantly pro abortion. I believe, however, that one would have an better chance of changing the Republicans' view on the death penalty. It would be much easier to convince a conservative Christian that Jesus is against capital punishment than it would be to convince the Democrats that the unborn have a right to life.

Health care in this country needs improvement, to say the least. I don't know if socialized medicine would be quite the nightmare Republicans make it out to be, but, I know that, should the government have control over health care, the tax payer would certainly be funding abortions and I can't go along with that.

So, what does one do on election day? There's one small conciliation; with electronic voting machines, it's easy to hold your nose while you vote.

No comments: