PRO-LIFE BASICS: For whom should I vote in the November 2012 election?

First of all, let me say that I do not believe that an elected official can end abortion. What I do believe is that Americans, one by one, need conversion to the truth that a child exists from his biological beginning and is, from that point forward, a member of the human family.

When a Catholic enters the voting booth, he must evaluate what his vote will mean for the good of the nation including restoration of the culture of life. Likewise, Catholics must realize that intentionally voting for anyone who embraces an agenda of evil is sinning against God. Informing yourself on each candidate’s positions is the only way to safeguard your precious vote.

American Life League has developed voting principles that will help you resist pressure to compromise fundamental moral principles in favor of expediency or perceived short-term political gain—and avoid being deceived by propaganda. These principles are tailored to Catholics but are suitable for any voter, since they are firmly rooted in biblical principles. The full-length version of American Life League’s voter guide is available at www.ALL.org (search for “American Life League Voter Guide”).

With regard to intrinsic human rights, there are four actions that are so intrinsically evil that no Catholic can knowingly advocate for or promote them without imperiling his salvation: abortion, euthanasia, human embryonic stem cell research, and human cloning. These are non-negotiable.

Be aware that candidates do not always adhere to their party’s platform on these four nonnegotiables. A political party may claim that it is pro-life, but that does not guarantee that all of its candidates are pro-life. Likewise,a political party might support decriminalized abortion, but that does not necessarily mean that all of its candidates support abortion.

In elections featuring two major party candidates who do not totally agree with the four nonnegotiables, some consider it “throwing away your vote” if you support a third-party candidate whose positions are consistent with Catholic teaching. However, our obligation as Catholics is to vote for the person who reflects Catholic teaching. Section 73 of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), which speaks of “limiting the harm,” is frequently used to justify voting for “the lesser of two evils.” But Pope John Paul II did not say it is permissible to vote for a candidate whose position on any of these four non-negotiables violates Church teaching.

If your well-formed Catholic conscience tells you the third-party candidate is the best choice for the babies, the disabled, the elderly, and the infirm, then that’s a pretty good indication of what you should do in the voting booth on Election Day.

The stakes are high, and truth—not politics—is the solution. Vote as you know Christ would have you vote. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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About the author

Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president of American Life League and served 15 years as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.