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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Catholic Vote 2008 Election - Analysis of Candidates

In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI outlined a three-point rule for voting Catholics during elections (read more about this here).

The three-point rule is...
  1. "Pro-Life"
  2. "Pro-Family"
  3. "School-Choice"
The pope's three-point rule of Catholic Social Justice comes in a timely manner, as Catholics in the USA prepare for the 2008 presidential election. The idea here is to simplify the complexities of Catholic Social Justice into three main points Catholics can easily remember when they go to the polls. The following is a Catholic analysis of the candidates for president of the United States in this November's election. A red √ indicates the candidate shows a majority support for the pope's three-point rule on Catholic Social Justice...

JOHN MCCAIN (Republican) on the Pope's Social Teaching....
  1. Pro-Life - McCain opposes abortion outright, has committed to a Pro-Life presidency, and backed away from embryonic stem-cell research, hinting that his previous support of it was in error. At the Saddleback Civil Forum he stated that he believed future success in adult stem-cell research would relegate the debate about embryonic stem-cells to academics.
  2. Pro-Family - McCain opposed gay-marriage outright, but expressed his support for legal civil-unions of whatever type, at the Saddleback Civil Forum. While this position is less than desired, it is at least more defined than his previous stumbling over the matter. It would appear McCain has finally made up his mind about gay-marriage, and gay civil-unions, as well as when it would be appropriate for him to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.
  3. School-Choice - McCain came out strongly for School Choice, in which he specifically supported vouchers, something the pope has championed in recent years.
  • John McCain has selected Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.  Palin is an Evangelical who agrees with the pope on two of the three issues of major importance to Catholic Social Doctrine.  She is pro-life and supports school-choice.  While she opposes "gay-marriage" outright, she agrees with John McCain on the issue of gay civil-unions.  Because her political rivals on the Democratic ticket also hold to the same opinion, there is no major candidate who agrees with the Catholic Church on this issue.  Because of this, a Catholic may vote for her in good conscience.
BARACK OBAMA (Democrat) on the Pope's Social Teaching....
  1. Pro-Life - Obama supports a "pro-choice" agenda, and therefore opposes the pope's social teaching on human life. At the Saddleback Civil Forum, Obama said it was "above his pay grade" to determine issues of life and death, right and wrong, on this matter with any specificity.
  2. Pro-Family - Obama came out in support of gay-marriage by opposing California's referendum against gay-marriage. At the Saddleback Civil Forum, he said he favored gay civil-unions, but personally opposed gay-marriage. He did not, however, state that he opposed gay-marriage on a political level. In this Obama is in direct opposition to the pope's social teaching on the matter.
  3. School-Choice - Obama did not speak on school-choice at the Saddleback Civil Forum, but he has come out in opposition to it previously, thus opposing the pope's social teaching on the matter.
  • Barack Obama has selected Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate.  Biden is a "Cafeteria Catholic" who opposes the pope on all three major issues of Catholic Social Doctrine.  He favors abortion on demand, advocates gay civil-unions, and opposes school-choice.  As a result, Biden is no longer lawfully permitted to receive communion in the Catholic Church, and some bishops have warned him not to present himself at the communion rail.  This amounts to a default excommunication without the formality of paperwork.  Because of Biden's status in the Catholic Church, a vote for him is not only a direct vote against the Social Doctrine of the Church, but against the authority of the pope and the Catholic Church itself.  Therefore Catholics may not vote for him in good conscience.  
On the three Social Justice issues which the pope has defined as most important in our time, John McCain has come out mostly in favor of them, while Barack Obama has opposed all of them outright. A practicing Catholic, (meaning one who takes the Church's teachings seriously), cannot vote for Barack Obama in good conscience. While a Catholic vote for John McCain would be acceptable based on the pope's teaching.

This however does not obligate a practicing Catholic to vote for John McCain. The minor candidates for president serve as a "protest vote" for those who are completely dissatisfied with the above choices. "Protest votes" do count, and they are important. Though a "protest candidate" may have little to no chance of winning the election, a vote for him is a vote against the mainline political establishment. It therefore sends a message to that political establishment. When protest votes accumulate greater than 5% for any particular protest candidate, the major political party (Democrat or Republican) most closely aligned with that candidate "feels" the pinch. It hurts their party and can potentially throw a major election. Because of this, major parties pay particular attention to "protest vote" third-party voters when they clear the 5% hurdle, often adopting many of the issues these "protest voters" cite as important to them.

The following is an analysis of the most popular third-party "protest vote" candidates in relation to the pope's three-point rule on Catholic Social Justice. A red √ indicates the candidate shows a majority support for the pope's three-point rule on Catholic Social Justice...

BOB BARR (Libertarian) on the Pope's Social Teaching...
  1. Pro-Life - Barr is pro-life and supports the pope on this issue.
  2. Pro-Family - Barr's position on gay-marriage, like John McCain's position, leaves much to be desired. However, he supports the right of states to decide.
  3. School-Choice - Barr supports school-choice and therefore supports the pope on this issue.
CHUCK BALDWIN (Constitutionist) on the Pope's Social Teaching...
  1. Pro-Life - Baldwin is pro-life and supports the pope on this issue.
  2. Pro-Family - Baldwin opposes gay-marriage outright, and supports the pope on this matter.
  3. School-Choice - Baldwin supports school-choice and therefore supports the pope on this issue.
ALAN KEYES (Independent) on the Pope's Social Teaching...
  1. Pro-Life - Keyes is militantly pro-life, and ardently supports the pope on this issue.
  2. Pro-Family - Keyes opposes gay-marriage and civil unions outright, and therefore supports the pope on this issue.
  3. School-Choice - Keyes supports vouchers and other means of school choice. He therefore supports the pope on this issue.
RALPH NADER (Independent) on the Pope's Social Teaching...
  1. Pro-Life - Nader is 'pro-choice' and opposes the pope on this issue.
  2. Pro-Family - Nader is an advocate for gay-marriage and opposes the pope on this issue.
  3. School-Choice - Nader opposes voucher programs and other means of school choice. He therefore opposes the pope on this issue.
CYNTHIA MCKINNEY (Green) on the Pope's Social Teaching...
  1. Pro-Life - McKinney is 'pro-choice' and opposes the pope on this issue.
  2. Pro-Family - McKinney is an advocate for gay-marriage and opposes the pope on this issue.
  3. School-Choice - McKinney opposes vouchers for private schools, but supports charter schools, therefore her position on this is mixed.
On the three Social Justice issues which the pope has defined as most important in our time, the minor candidates Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and Alan Keyes have come out mostly in favor of them, while the minor candidates Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney have opposed most of them outright. A practicing Catholic, (meaning one who takes the Church's teachings seriously), cannot vote for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney in good conscience. While a Catholic vote for Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin or Alan Keyes would be acceptable based on the pope's teaching.

If this Catholic analysis of the 2008 presidential candidates has been helpful to you, please forward it to as many Catholic voters as you can before election day. Simply cut and paste the following link into your email...
http://catholicknight.blogspot.com/2008/08/catholic-vote-2008-election-analysis-of.html