Catholic Voters Need to Rethink Morality

If Catholic doctrine calls for the sanctity of all human life, then why is it that church leaders implicitly endorse Republican candidates that are pro-life at the expense of all else. In fact, the sanctity of life doctrine stands directly in opposition to the death penalty as well as abortion. Nevertheless, The Tablet, the official weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn, is far more enamored with abortion than the death penalty and our President who executed approximately 30 people as the governor of Texas in 1999.

At least once a year, Catholic churches around the Diocese of Brooklyn celebrate a special, sanctity of life Sunday Mass. What this amounts to is a largely elderly audience receiving a sermon on the evils of abortion. In itself this is not wrong; however, priests would be better off encouraging their flock to support unwed, single women who choose life. The problem with pro-life conservatives is that while they despise abortion, once the children are born they are unwilling to use public money to support these brave women. According to CNN, Catholics voted for President Bush over Senator John Kerry by a 51 to 48 percent vote. A closer look at George W. Bush's beliefs and policies make this fact perplexing to say the least.

Bush is a Born-Again Christian, who most likely believes that his way is the only way. Therefore, if you are not Born-Again, then you are not saved and cannot go to heaven after death. This means Catholics can expect to languish in hell for all eternity no matter how virtuous their deeds. From the Born-Again perspective, no matter how hard one tries to be a good human being, it is only by God's divine grace that we're saved. Read Jonathan Edwards sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" for the Bush perspective on human works. Remember Bush's speech during his first Presidential election campaign at the openly anti-catholic Bob Jones University? Bob Jones University is the same University that prohibited interracial dating until this rule became public fodder. Is Bob Jones University the type of organization that Catholics want their President to be affiliated with?

And what about social justice? President Bush opposes a living wage; meaning, hard working Americans should toil away to live in poverty. Meanwhile, the underemployed are deprived healthcare. The United States is the only nation in the G-8 without national medical care. If you have money, the U.S. does offer the best healthcare in the world. The problem is that millions are without that money or insurance. Is there anything more un-Christian than denying the sick healthcare, or forcing the working poor into bankruptcy to receive proper healthcare. According to Congressman Pete Stark, "Our lack of a guaranteed health care safety net indirectly plunges millions into bankruptcy and financial ruin who, once sick, cannot afford to pay for their high medical treatment costs out-of-pocket."

Catholics can no longer be single-issue voters; voting solely on the basis of a candidate's position on abortion is plain immoral. Catholics need to be vocal inside and outside of church about the neo-con agenda to dismantle the New Deal and Great Society programs that provide a modest safety net for Americans. Respect for the sanctity of life means protecting and caring for the unborn as well as the living. Morality is more than talking a good game. That's symbolism over substance. True morality is implemented through innovated social policy that helps all Americans.

About The Author

Peter Mennona, Jr. is a graduate of The New School University in NYC. He currently teaches High School in NY.

[email protected]

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