By Dave Andrusko
In just 33 days Americans will make a monumental decision: who will be the 44th President of the United States. This will the 13th presidential election in which I have cast my vote and never have the stakes been higher.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila, writing in the Denver Catholic offers counsel as he addresses the question, “How should a Catholic vote?” He is not telling his parishioners whom to vote for, of course, but rather what principles should inform their decision as a Catholic.
Archbishop Aquila explains that he told a group of Catholics at a dinner gathering that he is not keen on either presidential candidate but
Then I said that they need to reflect on the platforms of both parties, with an emphasis on the human life issues. Everyone at the table knew well the teaching of the Church on life and the dignity of life. They knew that Catholics in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion.
Conclusion #1. Platforms do matter. Conclusion #2, there have been major alterations and additions to the two major parties’ platforms:
This year there are some critical changes to the two major parties’ platforms that some at the dinner were not aware of. Most important is that this year the Democratic Party platform calls for the overturning of the Hyde Amendment, a provision that both parties have voted to include in the federal budget and on other spending bills for 40 years. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer money from being used for abortion. The platform is aggressively pro-abortion, not only in funding matters, but in the appointment of only those judges who will support abortion and the repealing of the Helms Amendment, which prevents the U.S. from supporting abortion availability overseas. Conversely, the Republican Party platform is supportive of the Hyde Amendment and just this year strengthened its support for life by calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, banning dismemberment abortion and opposing assisted suicide.
Conclusion #3. Catholics (indeed all people of faith) need to keep in mind freedom of religion/freedom of religious expression and conscience, “and the ability for faith-based organizations like the Church to provide charity through shelters, hospitals, homes for the elderly, etc., without fear of government interference and the existence of a respect for religious values. In that vein, the subject was raised of the Health and Human Services mandate.”
As you will recall, Catholics and other faith communities have fought the HHS mandate requiring religious institutions and individuals of conscience to pay for health insurance plans that cover medical procedures and drugs contrary to their religious beliefs and consciences. “Most surprising to me,” Archbishop Aquila wrote, “was that all at the table were practicing Catholics who are involved in their faith, and a couple of them had neither heard of the difficulty the Obama Administration has created for the Little Sisters of the Poor, nor the litigation that has occurred trying to force them to violate their consciences.”
As I mentioned at the top, naturally the Archbishop is not telling Catholics how they should vote come November 8. But he is telling his flock to
look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family, and the poor. Finally, do vote, as every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process.