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Voting with a clear conscience

Votando con la conciencia limpia

 

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life

September 25, 2006

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There are ten easy steps to having a clear conscience in regard to how you vote on Election Day.


1. Vote!


First, make sure you actually vote. Election Day is Tuesday, November 7. The Catechism tells us that voting is a moral obligation (n. 2240). Take advantage of early voting if your state allows it, and if you’re going to be out of state or are homebound, use an absentee ballot! Bring your voting decisions to prayer.


2. Know the candidates.


Be sure you know where the candidates stand on the issues.


3. Reject the Disqualified.


If a candidate came forward and said, “I support terrorism,” you wouldn’t say, “I disagree with you on terrorism, but what’s your health care plan?” Similarly, those who permit the destruction of innocent life by abortion disqualify themselves from consideration.


4. Distinguish Policy from Principle


Most disagreements between candidates and political platforms do not have to do with principle (“Is there a ‘Right to Crime?’”), but rather with policy (“How do we reduce crime?”). But the dispute over whether there is a right to life does deal with principle, and is therefore more fundamental.


 5. Weigh other issues properly.


Not all issues have equal weight. The Catholic Church teaches that war and capital punishment, for example, may at times be morally justified, but abortion and euthanasia never are.


6. Keep your loyalty focused on Jesus.


Your loyalty to Jesus Christ must be stronger than your loyalty to any political party.


7. Remember, the Party Matters.


Elections do not only put individual candidates into power; they put political parties into power. Consider what the parties stand for, and how the outcome of the election affects the balance of power.


8. Distinguish “choosing evil” from “limiting evil.”


If two opposing candidates both support abortion, then ask: Which of the two candidates will do less harm to unborn children? This is not "choosing the lesser of two evils," but rather choosing to limit an evil, and that is a good.


9. Support the candidate with more than your vote!


Additional activities include donating to the campaign, volunteering for the campaign, handing out literature for the candidate, making phone calls and visits on the candidate’s behalf, sending emails, using yard signs and bumper stickers, and praying for the candidate.


Elections are not contests between two candidates. They are contests between two teams. The bigger and more active team will bring in the most votes.


10. Mobilize as many other voters as possible!


Each of us has one vote, but each of us can mobilize hundreds, even thousands of votes. Focus on mobilizing those who agree with you rather than convincing those who don’t. If you can take the day off on Election Day, do so. Spend the day contacting people by phone and email, reminding them to vote, and helping them get to the polls.


Having done all this, rejoice in a clear conscience, and trust the Lord to bring about the victory for a Culture of Life!


[Note: To obtain Fr. Frank’s booklet, “Voting with a Clear Conscience,” which has an extended commentary on these same ten points, visit www.PoliticalResponsibility.com.]

   
 
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