Thursday, October 25, 2012

(99) Project Your Chosen Candidate into the Future in the Presidential Election; Vote Intelligently; Vote Responsibly for the Common Good with the Moral and Social Teachings of the Church in Mind; Pray


Published in the Sunday Times-Sentinel Gallipolis, Ohio November 4, 2012

Citizens exercising their right and responsibility to vote.  May they be informed and vote intelligently.

         The presidential election is less than two weeks away and each American voter has a very important decision to make.  This is probably the most important election in history.  Two new supreme court justices will be appointed.  Several serious moral issues as the right to life and religious liberty are at stake as well as the survival of Catholic institutions.  How should we go about making this very important decision?  Obviously, citizen responsibility demands that we study the background and qualifications of each candidate…….his character, principles, personal integrity, experience, leadership qualities, etc.  Is he willing to risk losing the next election, face criticism and opposition for the sake of doing what is right?  What is his record?  What are his past accomplishments that might indicate future success as the Chief of State and Commander in Chief of the military?  Learn about the candidates……. newspapers & magazines; TV debates, news & panels; radio talk shows; objective voter guides; town meetings; stump speeches; brochures, etc  On the internet just google the candidate's name for all kinds of information.  Evaluate the evidence from both sides.
 Where does he stand on the issues?   Read up on the issues, the candidates, the debates, etc.  Does he fight fairly or with blatant attack ads that try to destroy the person with little or no basis?   Is the attack ad true or simply a distorted exaggeration or outright demagoguery?  Check it out by asking after clicking on which is non-partisan.  Do his proposals for solving the nation’s ills have substance or are they simply vague generalities?  Is he honest and factual in what he says in debates and campaign speeches?  Is he realistic or is it simply pie in the sky with something for everybody, saying what the electorate wants to hear with no real commitment to back up what he says if elected?  Is the candidate REALLY interested in the common good, in serving the people, or is he mainly interested in serving himself for the power, the prestige, and personal gain or wealth?

                    Where is he on the political spectrum?  What is his philosophy of governing?  Is he on the far left that tends toward outright socialism with centralized federal control and regulation; government ownership and/or control of the means of production; a dependence upon Big Government to solve our social problems and achieve social justice; mainly government responsibility for helping the poor in a welfare state, sometimes at the expense of individual and religious liberty as well as traditional values. 

Or is he more towards the center, a liberal who believes in free enterprise, but tends towards the left and a dependence upon Big Government to solve our social problems and help the poor?  To what extent? 

Is he on the far right?  That position tends towards laissez faire with ownership and control of the means of production almost exclusively in private hands with little or no government control against abuses such as business corruption, exploitation of the worker and the consumer, unsafe working conditions, neglect of environment, etc. This type of person wants less taxes and less government spending while being indifferent toward the plight of the poor…….”Cut these lazy people off from welfare and they’ll find work”.

         Or is he more towards the center, a conservative who believes strongly in free enterprise, individual liberty, and the principle of subsidiarity, expressed in the papal encyclicals since Leo XIII.  That is limited government which should only intervene when lower entities such as state and local governments, the private sector, churches, community organizations, charities, and individuals cannot or will not do the job.  Decisions should be made as much as possible at the state and local levels, businesses, and individuals.  The role of the federal government should be limited with less federal spending.  Nevertheless the responsible conservative believes that Government must control against abuses, corruption, and blatant exploitation of the worker.  The role of the Federal Government should be to facilitate free enterprise and to assure that it runs smoothly, help small business to be able to compete, foreign relations, the military, etc. 

How does each candidate stand regarding traditional family values……the Right to Life, sexual morality, marriage?  Which candidate is more likely to make significant progress in working for peace?  A strong military?  Negotiations, diplomacy, and international cooperation?

While studying and reading about the candidates, discuss the issues with friends and acquaintances on the left and the right.  It’s a cop out to have the attitude:  “I’ll discuss anything except religion and politics”.  So vote intelligently and know who you are voting for, not simply following family tradition, the Union, the party, friends, relatives, etc.  An ignorant vote may be worse than no vote at all.

The Church does not endorse candidates, but it does preach moral principles as human dignity, human rights, religious freedom, the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, marriage between a man and a woman, social justice, the common good, a preference for the poor, peace, etc.  Any voter or candidate who professes to be a faithful Catholic must profess these principles.  The question is:  How do we achieve these goals?  Through Big Government or through individual responsibility, depending upon business social responsibility, community organizations, the churches, charities, and individual generosity?   True, the private sector often is not responsible, but must be constantly taught and formed to be socially responsible as good citizens.   We are our brother's keeper.  Vote for the common good of all rather than for individual interests.  Which candidate comes closest to the social teachings of the Church?

           Does the Obama Administration have the right to violate religious freedom and force Catholic institutions and Catholic business owners to violate their moral beliefs and provide health insurance that covers abortifacients (birth control pills), sterilization, and abortion?  Will schools provide these without the parents' knowledge?  What would happen if all those Catholic hospitals and charities close their doors rather than follow the HHS Mandate and be accomplices to intrinsic evil?  Will Big Government take them over?

If we want to shove our social responsibilities upon Big Government to help the poor and want more government services, then accept higher taxes.  If we want less taxes, then be satisfied with less government services and accept individual responsibility for helping the poor and solving our social problems by more community volunteering and charitable giving.  You can’t have both more government benefits and less taxes.  It’s impossible unless the Government keeps increasing the debt until the economy is on the verge of a deep recession and/or a financial collapse which are threatening some European countries.   Simply soaking the rich is not the answer since their investments provides jobs and their charitable gifts and foundations help the poor.  The affluent have a tremendous moral and social responsibility to not only provide for themselves, but also to use their assets for the common good of all.  After all, everything comes from God and we are stewards of our assets and God given gifts or talents both for our families primarily and also for the common good.......the Church, the community, the needy, charity, etc.   

        Many Christian organizations, including Family Research Council, 40 Days for Life, EWTN, The Call, the American Family Association, etc., are mobilizing both Christians and Jews to fast and/or pray for the remaining days until the election so that God would enlighten the people to vote for the best candidates according to His will……for life, religious freedom, and for the values taught in the Bible.  See wisdom will prevail in this election.  St. Louis Church Gallipolis, Ohio is having a novena of rosaries before each Mass for that intention.  Vote prayerfully and take your faith with you into the voting booth.    

After studying the candidates, one may try to project what each candidate would do if elected and what results we could expect in the next four years.  I tried that in 2008 in the article below.  You be the judge of how accurate I was in predicting the last four years.  Will it be accurate for the next four years?    To a large extent, I could simply change the date of that November 1, 2008 article to October 24, 2012 and it would be equally valid today.

By Paul R. Sebastian written November 1, 2008

            It is shocking to hear the mental gymnastics of rationalization among many Catholics and others who claim to be pro-life as they back a candidate who is charismatic and speaks eloquently.  But Barack Obama's voting record and actions do not match his rhetoric as he opposes some of the principal teachings of the Church.....notably all aspects of the abortion issue, cloning, gay marriage, etc.  He opposes vouchers that could revive the Catholic school system. 

            Many naively believe that Barack Obama will find common ground.  The Church can never compromise on life.  Another is that Obama's social programs to help the poor will decrease the number of abortions.  Government funding of abortions can only increase them.  Reducing the number of murders does not justify making it legal.  Another rationalization is that the pro-life movement has made little progress in reducing abortions and they are here to stay; therefore Catholics are free to vote for Obama.  In other words: if you can't beat them, then join them rather than continue fighting for what is right..

            It is so easy to foresee what would happen under an Obama presidency by his past record, public statements, and speeches.

-According to the ratings of the National Journal, he is the most liberal member of the Senate (Biden is rated as number 3).  America would make a significant turn to the secular left under a very liberal president and very liberal appointees.  The United States will continue to be a mixed economy, but with a definite tilt toward a more socialist type government where the people would become more dependent upon big government for the solution to our social problems rather than than the principle of subsidiarity.....that problems should be solved if possible at the community level, the private sector, and by individual initiative.  The Government can only do so much.

-There would be a liberal mentality of spreading the wealth through taxes and handouts which would decrease the incentives for individual initiative, self-improvement, and small business entrepreneurship which provides most new jobs. 

-He would appoint two to four liberal Supreme Court justices during his term plus a number of  federal judges who legislate from the bench, making the laws rather than interpreting it.  He voted against the confirmation of Justices Roberts and Allito.  We would probably have liberal justices and Roe v Wade for the rest of our lives.  Judges rather than Congress would have a greater influence on the laws of the land.  Voluntary assisted suicide (euthanasia) could be declared a constitutional right.  Involuntary euthanasia for the terminally ill could follow when Medicare funds are low as is occurring in Holland and we would move further toward a culture of death.

-Almost perpetuate legalized abortion to a greater degree than ever.  Obama promised pro-abortion groups that “the first thing I'd do as president” would be to sign the “Freedom of Choice Act', which would virtually nullify most pro-life laws at the state levels and effectively nullify any repeal of Roe v Wade.  He voted against the prohibition of Partial Birth Abortion and while an Illinois State Senator voted four times against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, thus supporting selective infanticide where babies surviving an abortion are left to die.  He even spoke against the act from the floor.  Barack Obama may go down in history as the Abortion President, giving credibility to the Gallia County Right to Life's newspaper ad that a “Vote for Obama is a vote for dead babies”.  No other presidential candidate has ever been so pro-abortion.  Catholic hospitals would be forced to provide abortion in opposition to their original mission.   

-Tax payer's money would be used for abortion funding for the poor and for making it part of foreign aid.   Government and private health insurance plans would be forced to pay for abortions.  Thus pro-life taxpayers and stockholders would foot the bill.  Schools would be allowed to refer a teenager for an abortion without parental consent or knowledge.

-There would be more funding for embryonic stem cell research which has few if any productive results to date at the expense of adult stem cell research which has made a number of medical breakthroughs already being used to heal.  Expect cloning research under an Obama Administration which opens a myriad of ethical problems. He even sponsored a cloning bill.  Embryos would be created for research and then destroyed after serving their purpose. 

-He would put a brake on government supported school vouchers to allow parents to choose private schools when public schools are inadequate.  Competition has made America. 

-Democratic Congressional candidates could ride on Obama's coat tails to obtain a super majority, immune from a Republican filibuster.  If any party controls both houses and the presidency, our two party system would suffer.

-The economy will inevitably rebound with the help of current measures and Obama would get the credit, entrenching him and his Democratic successors in power perhaps for the next 20 years as happened from 1932-1952. 

-Under the mantle of the so called Separation of Church and State, faith based initiatives to help the poor would be impeded if not eliminated.  Under the pretext of discrimination, faith based groups (although much more effective, efficient, and less costly than government bureaucratic agencies) would be forced to hire members of other denominations, including unbelievers, in order to receive grants, thus undermining their work.  Faith based organizations would be forced to compromise their principles in order to receive government funding for their non-religious mission of helping the poor.  As American becomes more of a secular state, more judges would rule out the “one nation under God” clause in the Pledge of Allegiance.     

-The radical activist homosexual agenda would make serious inroads and schools would be under pressure to teach that the promiscuous lifestyle of some of them is normal as readers depicting Sally having two mommies or Johnny having two daddies.  Comprehensive sex education, traditionally the province of parents, would begin in kindergarten.  Traditional marriage would be redefined, thus undermining the most basic unit of society, the family.  Gay marriage could be ruled as a constitutional right.  Discrimination and homophobia of course is wrong since they have the same rights as straight people.    

-Our enemies would interpret a premature exit from Iraq without victory as weakness and the Middle East would be thrown into turmoil and militant Islam (Jihadists) would gain considerable power.. Iran would enter the vacuum and become an even greater threat to Saudia Arabia.  Then they could control most of the oil of the Middle East.  The American people have no problem with moderate Islam, but the radical form, Jihadism is indeed a threat.  It is already being taught in many mosques around the world, including the United States, financed by petrodollars from Saudia Arabia under Wahhabism which literally interprets the Quran..

-Our anti-terrorism policies would be undermined for the sake of terrorist rights.  The War on Terror would be treated as a domestic problem rather than a war and we would be at greater risk for another 9/11, perhaps this time being chemical, bacteriological, or nuclear.

-Weakness would be perceived by Iran, North Korea, and other supporters of terrorism.  Nuclear proliferation would increase, especially if the Jihadists win in Afghanistan and then gain control of Pakistan, which already has nuclear weapons.

            DO WE WANT THAT KIND OF CHANGE, thinking only of our pocket books?  Look at the entire package.  Do we want to take these risks?  There is much more to a candidate than debating skills, speaking eloquence, and charisma.  The question is who is better prepared and has the character to handle the next crisis, the first test of the new administration?  We the people must decide which candidate has the strength, character, experience, and the leadership qualities to prevent the above very real possibilities.  It behooves us to study the candidates, find out all we can about them..... not only their stance on the issues (the best indicator is their past voting records in Congress or the Legislature), but also their character.  Since all of this is very complicated and the future of our country depends upon it, pray for God's guidance and make an intelligent and informed vote.  This election could be the most important in our lifetimes.

            Whether we agree or disagree, we can all agree on the urgency of prayer.  Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten us.  Let us pray and even fast for a day before the election, asking that the Lord's will and wisdom and will prevail and life will win. 

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