(Aside from the candidates’ personal qualifications to do their jobs, that is.)
Abortion shocks the well-formed conscience, especially when it’s not necessary to literally save the woman’s life. Also, I never knowingly met a Gay person until I left the Catholic Church in the early ’90s. And I’m a virgin, but I still feel a little weird about birth control, and sex ed in public schools. And yes, I’m concerned about Islam’s progress in Europe and North America, when they don’t seem able to rein-in their radicals enough to prevent something as heinous as 9/11, the East Africa embassy bombings, the Cole bombing, 7/7, or Madrid.
Catholic radio is telling you to vote Republican for one, more, or all of the above reasons, or more, though they’re really not allowed to endorse candidates or parties. Some or all U.S. Catholic Bishops are pronouncing abortion a transcendent issue. Now, I’m a Catholic-trained ethicist. I studied 5 years for the priesthood and religious life. I attended 11 years of parochial school (Balto. Catechism questions and answers!), 4 of Catholic high school, 4 of Catholic college, and 2 of Catholic graduate school. I don’t have a Ph.D., but I respectfully disagree with the idea of abortion as transcendent political issue. Fr. Frank Pavone’s (of Priests for Life) logic that without “life” no other issue matters, is an emotional slogan, not a philosophical or theological or moral argument. As such, it does a disservice to the Catholic tradition of moral theological reasoning.
I submit that the Global Warming Cataclysm and the restoration of (small-D) democratic, constitutional, law-respecting, internationally-cooperative government to the United States, are the two most important issues in this campaign, not only for Americans but literally the entire world, more than 6 billion people, exponentially more than are affected by the “conservative Catholic” issues.
Global Warming is expected to create at least a billion refugees by mid-century, and many will die of GW-related disease, hunger, thirst, war, and instability. Some scientists believe it may transform much of the surface of the Earth, in bad ways. And if my cumulative analysis is correct, by 2200 we will lose one-third to two-thirds of humanity because of the Global Warming Cataclysm and other parts of the coming “Perfect Storm”: Peak Oil, Third-World ‘dirty’ industrialization, the spread of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles and asthma and allergies, and the (temporarily) declining planetary magnetic field with rising cancer rates from reduced solar shielding. To be honest, neither major party is positively addressing these latter issues yet. And the Republicans have been at the beck and call of Big Oil for 8 years — Bush and Cheney are oilmen, talk about the fox in charge of the henhouse — and have dropped the ball even on the Global Warming Cataclysm, whereas the Democrats say they’ll start trying to work to lessen and counteract its effects, the most compassionate, realistic plan available.
Linked to this is the restoration of respect for law and international aid and cooperation to the U.S. government. What Washington does or fails to do – politically, economically, militarily, culturally – affects the entire world like no other single country. We are today’s Rome, for good or for ill … the world’s sole hyperpower.
In the U.S. about a million abortions take place each year. Even if each involves a father, mother, doctor, nurse, etc., that’s still a few million, against 6 billion plus, and tens of millions of lives if not more; plus, the Global Warming Cataclysm’s effects have been building since the dawn of industrialization in 1750, and will continue building even after we start doing something about them, so the longer we wait, the worse it will be, especially for the world’s weakest and poorest.
OTOH, what have the Republicans really done about abortion anyway, besides use it to raise funds and votes – “red meat for the base”? There appears little to gain even on the abortion front by voting Republican, whereas Democrats for Life is gaining traction within their party by proposing to prevent most abortions performed in this country by working to remove their social causes: The 95-10 Initiative.
So I conclude that morally a Catholic should vote Democratic, and support Democrats for Life.
Not to mention the Democratic stands on all the other Catholic Social Teachings of the last century or more!