As serious and noble an issue as the economy is, nevertheless, it is NOT the most important nor the most crucial issue at stake this Election Day. Don't get me wrong, unemployment and underemployment, astronomical deficits and national debt, are all important. They impact the quality of life for millions of Americans. Yet, when weighed in the scales of justice, the moral issues of LIFE and LIBERTY must always come FIRST and foremost.
The RIGHT TO LIFE is under immanent threat by ABORTION and EUTHANASIA (assisted suicide). What good is employment if you are not alive to get the job? The unjust killing of innocent lives is the greatest evil any society or culture allows. Genocide is of the same category but it rarely gets the news coverage when it occurs on other continents than our own. All too often we Americans literally vote with our pocketbook. Again, I emphasize that employment is important but it is not more important nor is it even on equal par to the RIGHT TO LIFE. Defending and protecting the unborn and the terminally ill must be our national PRIORITY. Candidates, politicians, parties and platforms that advocate abortion and assisted suicide cannot be supported. To do so would be COOPERATION IN EVIL. Too many Catholics erroneously believe that as long as they DISAGREE with politicians and candidates who do support abortion and euthanasia then they vote for them for other reasons. FORMAL COOPERATION IN EVIL is the worst case scenario for it means the voter agrees with the pro-abortion stand of a candidate. MATERIAL COOPERATION is when the voter DISAGREES with pro-abortion (and/or pro-assisted suicide, pro-euthanasia) candidates but votes for them anyway. Let's be blunt. Would you vote for a Nazi even if he had a superb and brilliant plan to recover the economy? Of course not. No, I am NOT calling any candidate, politician or party Nazis. Both candidates and parties are composed of decent, good and patriotic men and women. But we must look at policies and positions candidates and their political parties endorse and promote. Abortion is homicide. It kills innocent human life. Euthanasia is likewise an act of homicide or suicide.
The RIGHT TO LIFE and RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (freedom of religion) are the two most cherished birthrights we enjoy and receive from our Creator. Government has no authority to deny or dilute these inalienable rights. Bad enough that some politicians want to protect the so-called 'right to privacy' which is a euphemism for abortion, but those same politicians want to force and compel people to violate their religious principles and provide or subsidize with public tax money those things their faith deems immoral (contraception, abortifacients, sterilization, etc.) Catholic parishes and dioceses may be exempt from HHS mandate but Catholic schools, colleges and universities are not and neither are Catholic businesses (like EWTN or other Catholic communication and social media). Furthermore, the government and courts want to further restrict and limit what pastors can preach from their pulpits by threatening to take away their tax exemption status. Blackmail comes to mind.
Many issues come into elections and most if not all are important and deserve attention and deliberation but not all are EQUAL. When slavery and racial segregation were legal, they were the most important issues on Election Day as some politicians and parties supported them and others opposed them. Today, the main civil right is a basic human right, the RIGHT TO LIFE. Religious Liberty comes a close second and the SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE is a close third. God Himself created human life and He established MARRIAGE as the union of man and woman. He built the FAMILY on the institution of MARRIAGE and the family is the cornerstone of the CHURCH (religion) and STATE (government). There would be no church and no country if there were no families. More than just a group of individuals, FAMILY is an organic UNION of people who are connected legally and/or genetically. There is also the SPIRITUAL union that exists among family members.
Which party, which platform, and which politician promises to protect our most cherished and most sacred treasures (life, liberty, marriage, family)? Which ones endanger or threaten them? These are the questions responsible citizens ask FIRST and then move on to the other issues such as the economy, immigration, health care, et al. When moral PRIORITIES are put on the back burner, the soul of the nation is at risk. When we play mental gymnastics and practice fuzzy morality by merely closing our eyes to the abortion stand of candidates and politicians, then we play with FIRE. When you play with fire, you get BURNED.
IT DOES NOT PROFIT A MAN TO GAIN THE WORLD AND LOSE HIS SOUL
Likewise, it does not profit a nation to win the economy and lose her soul, either
Confraternity of Catholic Clergy are releasing a FREE mobile app Voting Guide for handheld devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Smartphone) on October 9th. Available on your device via app store, iTunes, etc.
(Right to Life, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Marriage, Private Property, Access to Necessary Goods, War)
Other issues are important but do not rise to the same level as these. When voting ask yourself if the candidate respects these principles & values or do they threaten them? Know where politicians stand on these critical topics and make an intelligent, moral choice.
A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who supports intrinsic evils, such as abortion or euthanasia, if the voter's intent is to support those same immoral acts. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. Voting for them for other reasons (i.e., you do not agree with their position on abortion) would be material cooperation in evil. If there were reasonable certainty that the candidate will pursue such evil, then voting for him/her would also be cooperation in evil.
Only when all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, may the conscientious voter vote for the candidate less likely to advance such a morally flawed position & more likely to pursue other authentic human goods (e.g., if both candidates are not 100% pro-life as one favors unrestricted abortions while the other is against most abortions except in cases of rape or incest, one may then choose the latter person who will save more innocent lives).
These criteria are based on the 2011 USCCB letter "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" and the letter from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by then Cardinal Prefect, Josef Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion" in 2004.