On the eve of the 2008 presidential election I find myself in a precarious position. For months now I have been squarely in the John McCain camp. Attesting to this point is the banner on the left hand column of this blog. But now I am not so sure. Obama is not a choice a Catholic can make in good conscience because frankly his is the worst kind of evil: Evil that smiles at you and makes you feel good about it.
John McCain is pro-life. Well, he is mostly pro-life. He has and apparently still does support Federal Funding for embryonic stem cell research. This too is a wicked evil. He supports the death of existing people for research purposes. Chances are because he is a firm believer is crossing the aisle, that he will do so on this point as well and support this again as President.
And yet we find ourselves in a situation where not supporting our less than perfect candidate may impact the election in favor of perhaps a man with the most evil positions we have ever witnessed. We know that Obama will sign that wretched FOCA, he will appoint Supreme Court Justices that will actively oppose Catholic teaching, and he will create a subservient class of citizens dependent on the government in order to firmly establish the Democrats as the ruling party for years to come.
So why the sudden scruple? It seems an obvious choice doesn't it? The Catholic Answers voting guide seems to make it clear that when no perfect candidate exists we can vote the one who will do less harm. But can I actually cast a positive vote, in good conscience, for someone who supports embryonic stem cell research?
A month or so ago my pastor, from the pulpit, put it on our consciences that it had become almost a Catholic doctrine to say it was permissible to vote for the lesser of two evils. He then opined that this was actually contrary to Church teaching because you would still be choosing evil in order that good may come of it. A week later I heard the Catholic Answers argument I typed out above. Yesterday the assistant pastor announced "Don't even think about approaching Holy Communion if you are planning on voting for a pro-abortion candidate, and thus add sacrilege to your sin."
So is it morally acceptable to support a candidate who approves of 10% of objective evil with regards to life in order to defeat the candidate who approves of 100% provided that no perfect candidate exists?
The trouble we get into here is that at least one perfect candidate does exist. That candidate is Alan Keyes. Alan Keyes is a write-in here in Pennsylvania and his platform is in absolute conformity with the Catholic Church. Keyes is on the board of the Catholic League for Civil Rights . He is running as the candidate put forward by the new American Independent Party. Keyes of course has zero chance of winning.
Then there is also the Constitution Party, the platform of which appears to also be in perfect conformity with Catholic teaching. Chuck Baldwin is also a write-in here but is on the ballot in many states. I actually saw a "Chuck Baldwin for President" yard sign not 3 miles from my house yesterday on my way to Mass. Chuck Baldwin has zero chance of winning.
And this is the predicament we find ourselves in. Alternative parties never win major elections because all the money is thrown at the two big entrenched parties. Thus we feel compelled to decided between lots of evil or just a little bit. It always seems that if we don't choose the little bit then we give a shadow vote to the greater. In fact aren't we even told this is the case? Thus our freedom is diminished by having a two party system.
On Judgment Day, yes Judgment Day, will it have been better to support the one who would do less harm in order to defeat objective moral evil? Or perhaps will it have been better to put my support towards a candidate with which my Catholic conscience can be clear about?
There is so much more I could say. But it is true that on election eve in 2008 I am for the first time in my life an undecided voter.