Today I raise an important question: Is it proper for a Catholic to vote precisely as a Catholic? That is, to make political choices based primarily on Catholic values and principles? I would answer Yes. Emphatically, Yes!
We Catholics, have let our secular society in which we live give us a kind of inferiority complex. We too often speak and act as if the biblical understanding of man and woman and for that matter, of human society, were in some way inferior, or as if it were somehow unfair for us to advance our Catholic views and values in the public arena.
We need to remind ourselves that our Catholic perspective on life does not originate with people but with Jesus, the only Son of our Creator. It was God, the Father, who created the human race and who established the human family. He is the One who understands how it is supposed to operate, and He is the One to consult when we are seeking wisdom about how to correct the problems caused by that human society. When we argue for a biblical principle, it is not merely our own idea we are putting forward, but God’s wisdom and plan for the human family.
We ought not let ourselves be intimidated by those who ask us accusingly, “But aren’t you trying to impose your views on others?” Of course we are! That is the very nature of our political process, is it not, to advocate positions one believes to be right and just, trying to persuade others of their rightness, trying to get them adopted as public policy. That is precisely what every political party, every self-interest group, tries to do. In a sense, it is what every citizen tries to do every time they cast a ballot or write a letter to their mayor or congressman or president. Our political system is based on this continual tug of war among competing points of view. To attempt to silence one participant in the process, as some are trying to do with the Catholic Church, is intellectually dishonest and an attack upon our American system.
Nor should we allow ourselves to be taken in by the current rhetoric about the separation of church and state. Many use this phrase to mean, in effect, separation of moral value and public policy. Some have even gone so far as to insist that any position that can be traced to a Catholic teaching should be banned from any political discussion. You can see what that has resulted in as we look around society today. By this so-called logic, one might just as well repeal laws against murder – after all, the fifth commandment is certainly a Christian teaching. Separation of church and state does not mean separation of values and voting. Our constitution does not require that when we enter the polling place in November that we check our beliefs at the door. So how will you vote? Will it be as a Catholic? I hope so for the sake of our nation!