This morning on NPR, I heard a very brief story about the Vatican removing the restriction on Catholics from voting for people who approve of abortion. The official word is that people can vote for whomever they wish, as long as personally they are against abortion.

On the one hand, I’m puzzled about what it means to be “against” abortion, and yet vote for someone who intends to allow it to continue, if not help it progress. If you’re against it, why would you place someone in power that intends to further it?

On the other hand, I’m not naive enough to think that anyone should really vote for someone based on one issue alone, and this frees Catholics to vote based on a wider range of issues.

I won’t get into whether or not a Polish Pope in Italy should control a huge number of American voters in our Presidential election.

3 thoughts on “Catholic activism

  1. I don’t think that he controls American voters, but bearing in mind the anti-Bush sentiment in much of Europe, I can’t say that I’m surprised that the Pope gave a little push in the Kerry direction.

    Of course, it’s not as if some US bishops haven’t already tried to use the Cahtolic policy on abortion against Kerry. One could regard this as simply a balancing move.

    While one might argue that it’s inappropriate for religious figures to use their influence in foriegn elections, the Pope can point to the entire Middle Ages as precedent, eh?

    On a gut level, I find it more amusing than anything else.

  2. I don’t think he really controls American voters either, but if they were all good Catholics who did what the Pope told them too, he would.

    I agree about the Middle Ages, but I don’t think those were right either. 🙂

  3. As to “how can you be against abortion but vote for someone who allows it to continue,” you’re not thinking very hard there. A moment’s thought would bring up the difference between thinking something is wrong, and thinking it should be illegal — we are told in the NT that calling someone a fool is a grave, grave sin, but I don’t think one would want to live in a state in which insulting people was illegal.

    You might say, “but calling someone a fool doesn’t do much harm, it’s just punishable by hellfire. So you’re only hurting yourself when you do that, whereas by aborting a fetus you hurt someone else.” However…

    II think the following set of beliefs are very common together — (a) non-born-again-Christians are hellbound (b) aborted fetuses are not hellbound — under those assumptions, it is a far worse thing to prevent someone from being a born-again Christian than to abort a fetus, because in one case you’re only cutting a finite Earth life short, whereas in the other case you’re damning someone to hell. Would it therefore follow that we should make it illegal to teach anything but Born-Again Christianity?

    And even granting that despite all that one still thinks that abortion should be illegal, it doesn’t stand to reason that making abortion illegal is the *most important* issue there is. If Hitler were against abortion, would that make him an appropriate candidate to vote for? (Godwin’s law, I know, whatever.) You addressed this in your second to last paragraph.

    So your puzzlement may cease. 🙂

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