Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Membership has its OBLIGATIONS


The late Governor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania was a staunch Catholic AND a staunch PRO-LIFE Democrat. He was denied speaking time at the 1992 DNC because he wanted to add a Pro-Life plank into the party platform.

Casey was the role model of Catholic Democrats. He was loyal to the party but faithful to his beliefs FIRST. He put God before politics. He realized the best patriot is a person of good morals.

It is admirable that many Catholics are politically involved. Responsible citizenship is not an option but a duty everyone has.  We are morally bound to vote in elections since we live in a democratic-republic where there is a representative government. It is also a serious responsibility and obligation to vote INTELLIGENTLY and CONSCIENTIOUSLY. The only way for evil to succeed is for good people to allow it to happen by doing nothing. Apathy is the Devil's greatest ally.  That is why it behooves all citizens to know where the candidates stand on important issues and to vote with a WELL FORMED CONSCIENCE. That means using the Natural Moral Law, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Magisterium to make INFORMED decisions. Candidates, political parties and their platforms must be judged by their WORDS and DEEDS.

No party has a monopoly on truth or goodness. Whether someone is a registered Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, et al., what matters is that they EXPRESS themselves not just on election day but before and after national conventions, when legislation is pending and during the election process, especially during primaries.

There are many Catholics registered in both major parties (Democrat and Republican)  as well as other ones.  American Express' famous commercial has a slogan: Membership has its privileges.  Well, Responsible Citizenship can say: MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS OBLIGATIONS.  No matter what political party a Catholic registers, he or she has a moral obligation to express their concerns and if necessary voice opposition when candidates or platforms espouse policies that conflict with what is morally permissible. Catholic Republicans cannot just presume that the Pro-Life plank in the platform will be automatically and de facto enforced and adhered to across the board. They must be VIGILANT that abortion and euthanasia are not made 'fuzzy' for the sake of economics or other concerns. Observe and evaluate politicians, candidates, parties and platforms and call them to task if and when they turn their back on those promises made to defend life, the family and traditional marriage.

Likewise, Catholic Democrats NEED to be HEARD. Don't let the Pro-Abortion wing dominate and control your party. SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT. Make a difference and exert influence OR get out and switch.  Just as Republicans cannot presume or take for granted the official planks in the platform, similarly, Democrats should not blindly accept and allow others to shove down their throats planks and policies that contradict moral values and principles held sacred by many.  Blind participation can go both ways.  Some are apathetic and do not know or care what their party, platform or candidates espouse. Others are mindless lemmings who go along with the crowd even if the crowd is jumping off a cliff.

PLEASE, take responsible citizenship seriously. PRAY and STUDY to make an intelligent decision to your VOTE and your political affiliation (party membership).  Get INVOLVED by communicating your thoughts and concerns to candidates and party bosses.  WARN them that you are not a DE FACTO lifelong member. CAUTION them that you and others can and will leave and join another party if your voice is not heard and given respect and consideration.  Voting is one element of responsible citizenship. Being INFORMED and getting INVOLVED are the flip side of the same coin.  If more responsible Catholic voters took their conscience not only into the voting booth but also to the national conventions, politicians may not be tempted to take our votes for granted. It is a sin of omission to remain silent and say and do nothing when moral issues are at stake in the public arena of government.  Ironically, special interest groups which represent a minority of the population usually get more of their agenda heard and accommodated because they use their voice. If the majority of moral people who live by an ethical and religious code of behavior took their values and principles seriously, they would have more influence than the special interest groups. Politics is only worth doing if done well.  Done well is measured by the degree of common good achieved, not terms of office.

The RIGHT TO LIFE is the first and foremost of all our God given and inalienable rights as human beings. The Constitution does not give us these rights, it recognizes and protects them. Human life, especially innocent human life, must be protected at all times and at all cost, otherwise, a culture and civilization are doomed.

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