Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rejecting the Culture of Death

I'm still mulling over the various notions floating around about this upcoming election, and whether or not one ought to vote for McCain. I'd like to say up front that I deeply respect everyone's individual conclusions in this matter. Too often, when we weigh and measure the moral implications of our actions we can place burdens on our neighbor that are far beyond our power to levy.

I am, obviously, neither a moral theologian nor a student of moral theology, aside from those studies which come up from time to time in the course of a Catholic's life, as we try to navigate real-world situations and determine what the most morally correct option for our course of action might be. The arguments and discussions about the morality of voting for a candidate who supports at least some intrinsic evil, though, always seem to come back to whether one is doing so:
  1. in spite of but never because of the candidate's support of evil;
  2. with the express intention of limiting a graver evil;
  3. always respecting the notion of proportionality.
The Church seems at the present time to be discussing these matters, too, especially here in America, and so far what has been written would seem to bear out what I've written above. I think that a person, abhorring McCain's ESCR stand, could nonetheless legitimately conclude that the graver evil would be for Barack Obama to be elected and tear down what little protection for the unborn we've managed to put in place these last eight years. I would encourage anyone who is truly unsure about this to seek spiritual guidance from a holy priest, if at all possible; combox debates may be fun and interesting, but we'd be foolish to consider them a source of absolute moral authority.

Whatever one decides, and indeed, whatever the outcome of this election may be, I think it's going to be the case that Catholics are going to need to work harder and harder to reject the culture of death. I know that people are already doing amazing things, from sidewalk counseling and prayer in front of abortion clinics to participating in the various March for Life events to providing pro-life resources to Catholic and other religious schools and colleges to lobbying for specific bills and legislative actions to writing letters to providing material support for women in crisis pregnancies and so on; there is always a great deal to be done, and there are always heroic people signing up to do it.

But it may be time to start thinking about what does and doesn't work in the pro-life movement, and to start to figure out ways we can be more effective in keeping the sanctity of life at the forefront of our efforts.

Some of the things we've been trying to do are the same things we've been trying since Roe v. Wade first became the law of the land. Perhaps we need to try some fresh, new ideas to get the word out to more and more Americans that life begins at conception, that abortion is murder, that ESCR and other early killings are still killings of the innocent, and that America has become a nation which, instead of protecting the innocent unborn, the handicapped, and the elderly, now preys upon them, calls them worthless, and makes them easier and easier to kill.

When the dust settles in November we have to be ready to get up again and start working to build a culture of life, one family, one person at a time. It's entirely possible that our future as voters in America is chancy at best; there may come a day when a candidate like Obama is opposed by a Kay Bailey Hutchinson, or some other pro-abort Republican who makes no pretense of valuing the unborn. I hate to be a pessimist, but we ought to start preparing now for that future; it could be closer than we think.

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