It started innocently enough. My daughter was attending a retreat at the church. As a part of the retreat the participants were encouraged to attend reconciliation. Before you attend confession you go through an examination of conscience. That’s a rabbit hole by itself.
She got hung up on several things that alarmed her and I can definitely see why. One of them alarmed me. The examination of conscience said that voting for pro abortion candidates was a sin. So, in other words, voting for Democrats is a sin. Where can I even get started on that?
Okay, I know where. There is no such position politically. I’ve never heard of any politician being pro-abortion. I’ve never met a single person that would classify themselves as pro-abortion. I can’t say the viewpoint doesn’t exist because it is impossible to prove a negative. However, I can assert that the Catholic Church is distorting the truth in a document about truth. The irony is palpable.
The truth is that some people are pro-choice and some people are anti-choice. Anti-choice is a negative term, so we can use the pro-life substitute. The point is that they believe in the sanctity of life. That is not a wrong viewpoint. However, the pro-choice viewpoint is not the 180 degree opposite. It is a belief in privacy and the rights of self-determination over each individual’s body. Most pro-choice people are privately against abortion in most circumstances, but simply leave it to the individual to decide.
That might seem like splitting hairs, but the truth is far different and one of the reasons why the distortion is so hurtful. Truth is a four letter word, but one of the things that pro-choice politicians do is seek other ways to lower abortion numbers. If we follow the facts then we would see that abortion rates have been lower under Democratic presidents than under Republican presidents.
Admittedly, one cannot directly attribute any of that to a single policy or decision. It is impossible to definitively say that Democratic policies had anything to do with it. However, it should be telling that when you go back to the Reagan administration you see rates remaining level while they went down under every Democratic president.
There is a difference between posturing and actually doing something. The best way to limit the number of abortions is to limit the demand for abortions. You do that with contraception. You do that with sex education. You do that by financially assisting young families to take off the financial pressure. The church even had a program called “The Gabriel Project” that did this very thing.
However, all of this is just a cursory irritation. The real problem is calling voting for a person a sin. Voting is a choice. It’s a decision that calls for hard choices for anyone that’s a committed Catholic or Christian. Sure, it is hard reconciling our church’s teaching on abortion with a pro-choice position. It should be hard reconciling the church’s stance on life in general with a party pushing the death penalty, wars of choice, and are more supportive of police departments that kill so many unarmed suspects. Wouldn’t that also be a sin?
Wouldn’t it be a sin to support candidates that call for treating refugees as less than human? Wouldn’t it be a sin to support a candidate that places children in cages? Wouldn’t it be a sin to support a candidate that so cavalierly handled a pandemic that over 600,000 Americans died on his watch? We can play this tit for tat game forever as I’m sure Republicans reading this can rattle off a similar list of sins.
The overwhelming point here is that if voting for any particular candidate is a sin then voting for any candidate is a sin. They all commit sins. We all commit sins. We either weigh which sins we can live with or we turn that part of our brain off and pull the lever. Either way, I’m not taking responsibility for what a politician does. Either way I vote they will do something objectionable. I choose to vote for the candidates with the least objectionable positions. That’s what responsible citizens do.