I am so fed up with this election (is it November 7th yet?). I have been stubbornly attempting to ignore anything even remotely connected to it. I have refused to watch any debate, I have “hidden” my political advocate Facebook friends, and I have been flat out avoiding Twitter.
Then, almost by accident, I stumbled upon a blog post that outlined the moral implications of this election. In it, the author asserted that the way in which I vote has eternal implications – not just for our country, but for my soul.
He quoted Bishop Lori:
“The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, standing for something that is intrinsically evil, evil no matter what the circumstances? If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, shouldn’t be voting for such a person.”
Lori certainly is not the only one to point out the dangers to salvation that can be found at the voting booth on November 6th. Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois recently commented:
“A vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”
I’ve spent many hours in prayer and consideration since reading these words. I realized that while I knew where I stood on most of the hot-button issues of this election and had (along with most of the country) already made up my mind about who I was going to vote for, I hadn’t truly considered the weight of these issues – nor had I really considered the many important issues that no one was talking about. If my soul is on the line, perhaps a little more due diligence was in order.
So, I took to the magical interwebs to find out what the Church really teaches in regard to voting and my soul.
Here is a short compilation of what various Catholic/Christian bloggers and theologians are saying:
- Voting for Obama may be a mortal sin.
- Voting for Romney may be a mortal sin.
- Voting for a 3rd party candidate may be a mortal sin.
- Not voting may be a mortal sin.
Well, that’s it – I suppose we can all just jump in the hand basket and get ready for Hell…
I decided not to give up hope just yet. I imagined that perhaps this collection of would-be political theologians was missing some essential Truth – some nugget of salvation that would save my immortal soul from the imminent damnation of the 2012 Presidential Election.
The core of the “you’re going to hell if you vote for (insert candidate name here)” argument is based around the Church teaching that we cannot condone intrinsic evils with our votes. As the Bishop’s document Faithful Citizenship states:
There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. (22)
I figured this idea of intrinsic evil seemed to be a good place to start informing my conscience on who should get my vote (if anyone).