My position on this matter is that I don't think it can be said absolutely and without fear of refutation that there are no proportionate reasons which would make a vote for McCain morally acceptable. I think that this is where the debate tends to get stuck, because proving this lack of proportionality beyond the shadow of a doubt seems to be elusive. Some may end up convinced that this lack of proportionality indeed exists and mandates a vote for a third-party candidate or no one at all, while others may remain convinced that the need to keep Obama from taking office and beginning his term by keeping his promise to resurrect the horrific "Freedom of Choice Act" which would increase the number of abortions in America.
I respect both notions, and find sympathy with both viewpoints. But it can be disheartening to remember that many of our fellow Catholics aren't worried at all about the morality of voting for McCain, because they intend to vote for Obama. Doug Kmiec's new book, titled Can a Catholic Support Him? is talking about Obama, not McCain; Kmiec is currently traveling the country as part of Obama's "faith tour," an effort to convince religious people in battleground states that it's morally fine to vote for the most rabidly pro-abortion and even pro-infanticide candidate ever to run for the presidency.
In the article above Deacon Keith Fournier argues against Kmiec's flawed position in favor of Obama. Kmiec responded, and his response was also printed here. I'd like to take a look at one section of it; responding to a notion that he is ignoring what various spiritual leaders have said Kmiec replies:
Not so, I have relied upon these fine teachers of the faith in order to undertake the proper inquiry into whether there is proportionate reason allowing the choice of a candidate who has an alternative way of promoting human life other than a thus far futile, and in any event, insufficient effort to criminalize some, but not all, abortion practice.But Kmiec has apparently missed this recent report which says that abortion rates are at a 30-year low, or this one which highlights the drop in teen abortion rates precisely because of what he calls a "thus far futile, and in any event, insufficient effort to criminalize some, but not all, abortion practice..."
The bald truth is that abortion rates will increase under a President Obama. He plans to tear down all of the laws that have successfully been passed which have incrementally reduced abortions in some states; he has always opposed parental involvement laws which might arguably be the biggest reason for the drop in abortion rates that we see at present; he plans to create a culture where opponents of abortion might face federal fines and even prison time for peacefully protesting abortion; he plans to elevate judges to the Supreme Court who will ride roughshod over abortion opposition, and entrench the pro-death position so firmly and irrevocably in our laws that nothing but a collapse of the Republic itself will undo it.
There is, in my mind, no justification whatsoever for a Catholic to cast a vote in favor of Barack Obama. If proportionate reasons are difficult to find for Catholics to vote for the pro-ESCR McCain, I can't even imagine what possible proportionate reasons could exist that would allow a Catholic to vote in good conscience for the most pro-abortion candidate since the advent of legal abortion on demand in America. I've heard people try to justify such a vote on the grounds that it is imperative that we end our involvement in Iraq (a position I agree with), but given that Obama's former adviser, Samantha Power, said that her candidate couldn't be held to his initial timeline I wonder on what optimistic grounds people think Obama will be more competent in getting us out of the Middle East than McCain will be? So on mere hopeful speculation, some Catholics are apparently willing to vote for and support a man who doesn't think a woman's right to an abortion ends with the birth of the baby.
At least when I'm arguing with Mark Shea or Zippy or others over whether a Catholic might or might not vote for McCain without committing a sin, I have some idea where they're coming from. The Catholics who want to support Obama are Catholics I find impossible to understand.