I'm feeling extremely conflicted over this election. For a variety of reasons. In general, my politics in the U.S. incline to the left. I'm very much in favor of drastic measures to cut our reliance on fossil fuels, conserve natural resources, and halt deforestation, climate change, and overfishing. The environment is the biggest issue we have faced in this country for a long time, and poses a serious threat to the survival of civilization and of many other species as well. At the same time, as a Christian I believe that abortion is a grave moral evil, and a species of homicide, which should not be legally or socially tolerated in a civilized society except in extreme circumstances (rape, incest, severe threats to the health of the mother, or when the fetus is itself terminally damaged.) Barack Obama is not a run of the mill Democrat on this issue: to put it charitably, he is very, very, very, very pro-choice. That doesn't make him a bad person- many of my friends are pro-choice, and I believe most of them are honestly and sincerely mistaken. But it raises the question of whether I want to stand up and counted in support of a man who is for essentially no restrictions on abortion whatsoever.
Although I'm not a Catholic, I agree with Archbishop Chaput's remarks that it is permissible to vote for a pro-choice candidate if and only if you are willing to explain and justify that vote, with a sincere heart, to the victims of abortion if you meet them in the afterlife. (Presumably, unborn infants, being innocent of personal sin, go straight to heaven.) I think I could justify such a vote honestly. I would not vote for Barack Obama based solely on his position on taxes, for example. Human life is more important than a difference of 5% in the top marginal tax rate. But there are other issues that do have that extreme moral weight, like the environment. More people, and more innocent children, will be killed by rising sea levels, desertifying croplands in Africa, by the collapse of the Amazon ecosystem, or by the collapse of global fisheries, than will be killed by abortion. Furthermore, the destruction of the natural environment is, in its way, just as much a crime against nature and nature's God as abortion is.
I can make that argument, and I will. But I'm not happy about it. WIth that in mind, I am hoping that you vote for Obama, for Democratic members of congress, and also for pro-life ballot initiatives in Michigan, California, South Dakota, or wherever else you may live.
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