21 April 2012

Spiritual Duty and the Upcoming Election

J.M.J.

It is now essentially certain who the two principal candidates will be for the November 2012 Presidential Election in the United States. It is all virtually certain that one of those two men will be the next President. Therefore, it is left for good Christian men and women to determine the best candidate in accordance with the Faith. 

This is not a decision that can be left merely to secular principles. One cannot shirk one's Christian duty by claiming that this is not a religious matter, but rather a secular one into which religion should not be interjected. We are intended to put our Faith into action. We must put our Faith into action. We are responsible for taking reasonable actions to fight evil wherever we can. We are responsible for helping to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth. 

The election of the American President is not outside the realm of religion, but rather inextricably intertwined with it. The Presidency is inherently a secular post, as the United States is not a theocracy. Yet, that does not mean that religious principles cannot and should not guide one's choice in the voting booth. People in general have many varied reasons for choosing their candidate. Some of these are quite ludicrous, such as the candidate's physical appearance. Some vote based on their bank book, i.e., for the candidate they think will be most financially beneficial to them. When one boils off all the superficial reasons for voting a particular way, one is left to focus on the essence of the candidates. Which candidate is the best? Which candidate will make the best President? Which candidate is best for the country and for the people? These questions, when the superficial considerations are removed, can only be answered from a standpoint of faith and morals. Once considerations of petty politics, money, power, greed and so forth have been eliminated, there is nothing left but the character of the candidate. 

In this upcoming election, one candidate has proven that he stands for intrinsic evil. His constant opposition to religious freedom and his perpetual attempts to suppress the Church are troubling in the extreme. Under the Obama regime, personal and religious freedoms have deteriorated greatly, while Islamists and others have been given preferential treatment to the detriment of others. Abortion is now considered an absolutely sacred right by his administration. Attempts to control free people have been numerous, such as the Obamacare mandate to purchase health care or face legal penalties. Indeed, Christians are rapidly being placed in the position of having to choose between their conscience and the law. Given another term in office, he would surely make use of it to further his socialist goals, perhaps leading to the destruction of the United States as we know it. 

The alternative candidate, Mitt Romney, is nevertheless a subject of much controversy among Christians and conservatives, largely due to his Mormon religion. His stance on abortion also troubles some, given that it appears he supports it in some cases. The various religious considerations have left many Christians with the choice of voting for Romney or not voting at all. The reason for this is that they do not wish to support a candidate who, while better than Obama, still represents religious positions with which they do not agree. While it is good that they are working to discern the proper choice based on faith and morals, it misses the big picture. It is virtually inevitable that Obama or Romney will win the election. Therefore, the moral choice for a Christian must be the one that minimizes the opportunity for evil to impact the world. Sometimes one must vote for the candidate that is "the lesser of two evils." Now, the alternative to the choice that represents evil may not inherently be evil, and thus is better referred to as the "more perfect candidate." In a case such as we face, this follows from proportionate reason. If we abstain from voting, and we would have voted for the more perfect candidate, then we are supporting the position of the greater evil. An abstention from voting for the more perfect candidate due to that candidate's flaws and position, his embracing of anti-Catholic principles, and so forth, is no different than casting a vote for the candidate that represents intrinsic evil. That is material cooperation with evil. Therefore, proportionate reason must be exercised and a vote must be cast. Not voting when it is within your power to do so is not standing on principle. It is cooperating with the forces of darkness to allow evil to flourish on earth. 

Each person must vote first and foremost according to the faith and morals of Christianity. As people with the gift of free will from God, the choice of candidate to select and indeed whether to vote at all rests entirely with the individual. It is not the Church's place to tell individuals for whom to vote. However, it is the Church's right and duty to provide pastoral advice on the principles of the Faith and their application to the choice of candidate. In this election coming in November, the economy is not the most important factor. The ongoing military conflicts are not the most important consideration. Neither are health care or government scandals. In this election, the most important issue is each person exercising the individual right to cast a vote in opposition of evil.