Thursday, September 30, 2004

Proportionate Reason to Vote for a Pro-Choice Candidate?



I am pro-life.

I was Vice president of my college Right to Life Society. I have counseled people out of having an abortion. I have participated in Operation Rescue. I have written all my legislators opposing abortion. I have volunteered with the Gabriel Project. I have marched on DC against abortion. I have debated representatives of Planned Parenthood publicly. I have contributed money to the pro-life cause. I support a Constitutional Amendment for the Right to Life that includes the unborn. When I was only about nine years old, I went door-to-door handing out pamphlets against abortion. I pray daily for the end of abortion.

I have always considered abortion a dominant issue in my vote, and I have never voted for a pro-choice candidate for President. I even voted for Bush in 2000.

However, I will likely vote for Kerry.


Because when the state is the direct agent of murder, I consider this a graver evil than the state allowing murder to occur. I honestly believe that this constitutes what Ratzinger called "proportionate reason" to "materially cooperate in evil" by voting pro-choice.

The Church teaches that abortion considered in general is graver than war considered in general. This is because abortion is always wrong (intrinsically evil), while not all wars are wrong.

Yet, some wars are wrong.

I admit that I can't find any explicit statement of the Church that says permitting abortion specifically is a lesser evil compared to an unjust war specifically. Nevertheless, I think sound and orthodox principles of Catholic theology lead naturally to this conclusion.

An unjust war is not the moral equivalent of permitting abortion. It is the moral equivalent of the state mandating abortions.

It doesn't matter how many people die in each scenario when comparing war and abortion. This line of reasoning should apply when comparing the exact same issue (two pro-choice candidates, but one supports some restrictions, while the other doesn't).

What matters is whether an individual is doing the killing, or whether the entire nation is doing the killing.

In a democracy, when the government kills, we all participate to some degree. Compare the number of people involved in the act of committing murder rather than the number of people murdered.

I believe that is the right way to judge which is the graver evil.

When the state kills, this is a more serious threat to building a culture of life than when the state allows killing. There is a difference in the culture that is created between the state allowing something and the state mandating something.

Even if Cardinal Ratzinger were to explicitly say to me that he did not intend his statement on "proportionate reason" to be interpreted the way I am using it, I would respond to him, "But now that I have made the argument, are you absolutely sure I am wrong from a God's eye view?"

The state allows pornography, but we can tolerate this more than if the state forced people into pornography and forced the broadcast of pornographic material during prime time. When the state acts as a direct agent of any sort of evil, it is always worse for society than when the state allows an evil to occur.

Even God permits evil, and we do not sin my omission everytime we allow something evil to occur. We know that evil is occurring in many parts of the globe, and we do not sin if we oppose the evil but are currently powerless to stop all evil everywhere it occurs on the planet.

Federal funding of abortion makes many pro-lifers more upset than simply allowing abortion. Some get upset merely because they believe federal funding increases the number of abortions.

Yet, many pro-lifers get upset about federal funding of abortion because they do not want their own tax dollars spent on what they deem murder. This is the exact principle I am getting at about the war in Iraq. Regarding this war, I must say to Bush, "Not in my name. Not with my authority. Not with my tax dollars."

If I oppose abortion and still vote for Kerry for other reasons, it does not make me pro-choice or pro-abortion. Even Bush is pro-choice compared to me and most Catholic pro-lifers.

Also, even if Kerry wins, I can try to stop individual abortions from occurring, and some of Kerry's own programs might help reduce abortions better than Bush's programs. If Bush wins, I cannot stop a single death in Iraq.

Both candidates support embryonic stem cell research, and Bush is for the death penalty. Bush is not pro-life at all. Keery's social policy is more in line with the Church's teaching.

An unjust war involves murder in my mind.

Bush and anyone who knowingly and willingly supports the policy of unilateral preventative war is acting in a way that I believe is gravely immoral - more immoral than permitting abortion.

The Vatican does agree with me that unilateral preventative war is evil!

I can't judge whether Bush or anyone supporting Bush are in sin, since I can't know your hearts to know who much you are acting with full knowledge of what is at stake. I am not judging hearts, but examining an action. The act of unjust war involves the direct and voluntary killing of innocent people, which is always and everywhere wrong.

Even knowing that he was mistaken on WMDs in Iraq (which he should have known from the UN weapons inspections), Bush says he would do it all over again. Even knowing there was no tie between Iraq and Al Queda (and there never was any evidence a tie existed), he says he would do it all over again. He even hints he might do it again to another country. This is a man who makes immoral judgments whether he is personally in sin or not!

Indeed, by acting as an aggressor, the United States has made the insurgents in Iraq defenders of an attacked nation, and therefore, even the combatants in Iraq are innocent of any crime. I hope the Iraqi's do experience liberty and democracy, and maybe their resistance to us will unite the nation of Iraq in a way it never was united historically.

I would support any U.S. service person who refused to fight in Iraq. Indeed, any soldier who knows this war is unjust has a moral obligation to lay down his or her arms and refuse to fight.

I cannot judge the heart of another. I also do not condemn those troops who believe they are fighting a just war.

I may think the troops honorably carrying out their orders are morally mistaken on objective grounds, but this does not mean they are in subjective sin. I support the troops, pray for them, and want them to come home safely as quickly as possible.

When they return, I have no condemnation for them, and will rejoice that they made it home alive. I can even admire the heroic courage they display in their willingness to lay down their lives for what they believe - even if their belief might be mistaken.

While I cannot judge others, I am saying that I would consider it a mortal sin for me, personally, to vote for G.W. Bush. It is something I absolutely cannot do in good conscience.

In fact, given the gravity of the matter, it is not even sufficient in my mind to merely refrain from voting for him. I sense God saying in my conscience that I must do absolutely everything I can that is moral, ethical and legal to get Bush out of office as quickly as possible - even if that means voting for Kerry.

Some say that a vote for Kerry is not a moral means to remove G.W. from office.

It wouldn't be moral to vote for Kerry if I supported his view on abortion. I don't. I am not voting for Kerry. I am voting against Bush, using "proportionate reason" to "materially cooperate with evil" in order to limit the harm done to the sanctity of human life by Bush's policies.

Some say that Kerry was for the war as well.

Based on everything Kerry has ever said, it seems clear to me that Kerry is saying he would never have gone to war in the fashion of unilateral prevention, which is precisely what is unjust. Kerry would have met the minimum requirements of a just war.

There are those who may think that even voicing such an opinion in such strong language places American troops in jeopardy. This is mistaken thinking.

As Commander and Chief, George W. Bush is currently the sole person responsible for unnecessarily putting the lives of American troops at risk by sending them into harm's way without just cause. Those who speak out to try to correct the President are not the cause of harm to American troops.

Failed U.S. policy by an incompetent or immoral President is the cause of harm to American troops. Anyone who supports this failed policy and this failed Presidency by their vote in November shares some of the burden of guilt with the President for every person (Iraqi and American) who dies in Iraq afterwards.

Unilateral preventative war is immoral because it is the direct and voluntary killing of innocent human beings. Because the state is commissioning the act, it is a graver evil than permitting abortion.

Peace and Blessings!

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