There has been much debate about what is the best way to evaluate candidates for public office from a good Catholic, Christian, and moral standpoint. Basically, much of it has been needless. Consider that God has clearly defined murder with the 5th Commandment, and the Church has clearly addressed any complicity in murder as well as dissent of doctrine in Canon Law 1329, and 1397 and 1398. It's a no-brainer and yet the bishops need to study this further? Can you say stalling tactics? In an effort to expedite the process, I would like over the next several installments, to show them the total futility of "studying the issue" and take action as soon as possible.
It really is quite simple. Thus, in this first installment I propose first things first, for the answer is found in common sense and the life cycle itself. Each phase, equally important and valid in its own terms, must nevertheless be reviewed as life itself dictates, in order of appearance and accordingly prerequisite in time to the next stages. Once such a view is accepted and undertaken, it is clear which issue is of paramount and central significance in judging candidates for office from the Catholic standpoint. This view takes as its only theme the life cycle itself, as created by God and impacted by societal and economic realities, and rightfully ignores such trivialities as political correctness and convenience.
The Life Cycle in Question
As human beings in this society, we all pass through various stages of physical, social, and economic development or passages, and those stages, in their rightful order, present the appropriate order by which we should evaluate candidates for public office.
The stages do not dictate order of importance, for surely the needs of the elderly and infirm are no less and may even be more than those of healthy adults. What the stages do propose, however, is that we cannot rightly be conscientious of one stage without having been conscientious of the stages preceding that stage, since irresponsibility in handling an earlier stage merely spreads difficulty onto all subsequent stages. Our purpose and theme, then, is to instill God Almighty's morality and Word into each stage in turn as each stage appears in our life cycle thus infusing The Creator's Will and Word from the very first foundations of life through each succeeding stage in order as each individual experiences the particular issues and concerns of each stage.
Given these considerations, our life cycle would be:
- fetal development
- financial security
- family creation
- old age
- testamentary issues
Some of these stages, such as family, health, education, vocation, employment, and financial security, will surely continue and overlap with each other depending on the particular situations of each person. It is safe to say, however, that any moral, ethical, and conscientious candidate to public office should develop and maintain a policy and plan dealing with each of the above stages consistent with his or her ethical and moral positions.
Opening Issue and First Litmus Test
If one is attempting to determine the fitness of a young man seeking a job in one's company, and one discovers that said young man believes that murder is acceptable, then surely one would stop the process in its tracks and disqualify that young man without even needing to consider subsequent issues. The crime of murder is so great and its advocacy so heinous that any subsequent positives will pale in comparison and thus there is no need to continue considering the unfortunate young man. Anyone would agree that the phrase, "Sure, he believes in murder, but did you know that he never steals?" is absurd to say given the content involved.
Since the opening stages to our qualification process are conception, fetal development, and birth, any candidate for public office whose policies, beliefs, conduct, and voting record run counter to the integrity, safety, respect, and protection owed to these most innocent members of society, must then be necessarily disqualified from any further consideration given the serious and preliminary nature of these positions and these stages.
Thus, a candidate's stand on abortion and contraception are critical to further consideration of that candidate. In short, it is of little consequence that a candidate has good views on education or retirement benefits, later life stages, if he or she supports abortion, which harms conception, fetal development, and birth, the initial stages in our discussion.
To continue to consider such a candidate would be akin to continuing to consider a possible date for one's daughter after discovering that he favors murder.
Given such a horrible discovery, would it matter to any father that said young man never steals or is a fine athlete? Surely not!
Therefore, a candidate's stands on abortion and contraception should present, to the moral and conscious Catholic voter, the first hurdle that said candidate must overcome on the road to receiving that Catholic voter's vote.
Those candidates whose record and conduct prove harmful to life must be rejected outright without consideration on such later issues as their education or retirement views, which become useless once an advocacy of death has been established.
Fruits of This Kind of Analysis
Once we establish and accept the above points, then it becomes clear that God Almighty has established a fair, orderly, efficient, and inherently moral plan for judging candidates to public office from a Catholic standpoint. The fruits of this kind of thinking are that candidates such as John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, and their ilk should be disqualified outright and certainly not given consideration as "Catholic" politicians in any way whatsoever. I cannot speak for all of you, but I can only say that I do not care what someone believes about education, vocation, healthcare, the economy, care for the aged, or international affairs if that candidate believes that killing an innocent human being for any reason, much less convenience, can ever be justified.
A Pro-Choice position, then, should be an immediate disqualification from further consideration for public office on the grounds that it is an immediate insult to the very same life process established by our Creator and thus renders the candidate a poor choice ipso facto from the start!
I can no long continue considering such a candidate any more than I can continue considering a potential employee for my company once I discover that said job applicant thinks killing is acceptable for fun or convenience! To do so would surely make me a clueless employer! Similarly, any Catholic voter even thinking about voting for Kerry needs to have his or her Faith checked at the nearest spiritual hospital, for surely they have lost their way somewhere and somehow! The fact that half of Catholic voters appear to favor Kerry only makes this situation more disturbing, revealing, and tragic!
In an age where candidates and potential employees are judged on questionable grounds and even more questionable moral and ethical standards, God Almighty has provided us with an excellent order on which to evaluate any candidate to any position, office, or role consistent with the Word and Will of The Almighty. That order is the life cycle presented here. Given that cycle, it is clear that abortion is the most fundamental litmus test for evaluating anyone even claiming to represent any ethical or moral position whatsoever. We must recall that Christ has told us that, "Amen, I say to you: as long as you did it to one of these, My least brethren, you did it to Me" (Matthew 25: 40)!!!