Sin Voting: Reasons and Intrinsic Evils

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This is part of an ongoing discussion on Catholic Stand: Is it a sin for a Catholic with a well-formed conscience to vote for any Democrat?

Discussion Here To Date

This discussion has included various statements, comments, and responses:

Yes: Is It A Sin To Vote Democrat? 

And no: Is Voting For A Democrat A Mortal Sin? A Correction

A Recapitulation of Recent Democrat “Advancements” 

Initially, back in 2016, this discussion was prompted by the Democrat party’s efforts to promote the legalization of ““same-sex marriage”; and various party members’ change from chanting their mantra of making abortion “safe, rare, and legal,” to publicly celebrating abortions.  Then most of their frontrunners for the nomination in the 2020 presidential election endorsed the extension of the court-created right to abortion to include the right to infanticide. Almost all of them demand that all taxpayers pay for abortions for all citizens as “health care.” And, yes, for illegal aliens.

More recently, after this discussion was begun,  Democrats have now proposed that Americans pay for abortions for non-U.S. citizens worldwide. One Democrat candidate has stated publicly that it is established in the Bible that life begins when a human being can take a breath. Another is now espousing using abortion, funded by Americans here at home, for worldwide population control. And, really not so amazingly, the latest development mentioned at the end of this article. 

Over The Top?

The statement at the beginning of this article about mortal sin is not a fanciful, hyperbolic, or a frivolous statement. As the agenda of the Democrat Party continues to grow in evil and, as the positions of the candidates are seen to devolve weekly, the discussion in terms of mortal sin becomes more and more on point. Earlier this summer one Catholic archbishop (Archbishop Hector Aguer, Argentina) stated something similar:

Opting for a pro-abortion candidate or for a party that includes abortion in its platform is a mortal sin.  (Thos. D. Williams; Breitbart News;.16 June  2019)

Then-Archbishop Burke had made a similar statement:

Catholics in St. Louis who vote for political candidates supportive of abortion rights have committed a grave sin in the eyes of the church, and should confess and do penance before receiving Communion. (“Voting for abortion rights candidate is a sin,” SLToday.com, June 25, 2004).

These statements are not qualified with any reference to single-issue voting or other reasons that must be taken into account.  No exceptions are stated. The statements  are not couched in terms of ‘sin,’ or ‘venial sin.’  These shepherds made these statements about mortal sin not because they are concerned about insuring candidates for this or that party are elected. These shepherds are concerned about the eternal salvation of each of their sheep and the eternal damnation which is the result of mortal sin without repentance.

Do Your Homework. Yes,  That is what a well-formed conscience requires. To well-form a conscience a catholic must learn the truth, the facts and the background for issues, candidates, and parties; and this must be done especially in terms of the positions involving intrinsic evil. This includes learning what an intrinsic evil is; what are the intrinsic evils (including abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and sacramental – as opposed to ‘same-sex’ marriage); and learning that other issues do not have the moral weight of these intrinsic evils. 

‘Common Good’ Is No Criteria, Nor The Basis For A  ‘Proportionate Reason’

The crucial terms involved in this discussion are known and are defined in church teaching;  particularly the terms “evil,’ “intrinsic evil,” sin,” “mortal sin,”  “conscience, and ” well-formed conscience”’  One cannot avoid the implications of the definitions for these terms, their application in the present discussion,  and the conclusion that there is [or is not as the opposing position  may be] mortal sin by appealing to an amorphous, broad-brush ‘serving the common good’  criteria. Nor does encouraging a generalized consideration of undefined “near-term risks and challenges facing our nation’ do justice to the factors that must be taken into account, including especially the multiple intrinsic evils involved.

Reliance on a “Proportionate Reasons” exception must take into account all the intrinsic evils and a candidate’s position on all of them, as well as the candidate’s party’s positions. Such an exception cannot negate the fact that evil is an intrinsic evil. A catchall undefined ”common good” plays no role in such an analysis.  When intrinsic evils are part of the determination,  what may be in some circumstances evil have no equal moral weight;  e.g. issues involving immigration, poverty, war, literacy, hunger, death penalty, and undefined, ill-defined, or debatable “climate” crises.

Democrats, Who Are Pro-Life?

Will a Democrat who says he or she is ‘pro-life’ promise never to vote with his or her party in support of prodeath laws, resolutions and regulations?  Will a Democrat candidate that says he or she is both ‘pro-life and ‘profamily’ also promise to uphold church teaching on all the other intrinsic evils’? It is no response to say that some other party’s candidate will not do this.

At the time in 2010, every so-called ‘pro-life’ Democrat in Congress voted for Obamacare. Today 650 Obamacare state exchange plans cover abortion on demand, and this is a 23% increase over 2018. What do these legislators say now?  Sorry? Ooops? I was personally opposed to all those unborn babies now being aborted?

The point is it is not simply the candidate’s promise to be ‘pro-life’ in general. Does the candidate promise not to support each and every prodeath law which his or her party is promoting? Promise to oppose any attempt to legally degrade and destroy the institution of marriage?  Or, as  some Democrats have done, will the candidate profess to be pro-life, pro-family, and anti all the intrinsic evils, but then come voting  time, say, yes, I kept my promise, I am personally opposed and still personally opposed to this evil, but  my personal opposition, which is on record, does not mean I cannot vote with my party in favor of this?

Even if such a candidate would make all the right speeches and promises, it is a fact that such a person being elected furthers the democrat party’s pursuit of all of its cherished intrinsic evils. One or two Democrats, even some professedly pro-life could be the difference in which party controls the house or the senate. One or two such pro-life Democrats could mean control of the U.S. Senate in 2021, with the disastrous implications for the appointment of prodeath Supreme Court justices in the future. If you think Democrat-appointed justices cannot discover the “right to infanticide” in the shadows of the Bill of Rights, think again.

And now, based on what all the Democrat frontrunners for the presidential nomination of  the Party of Death have said, and  based on what it appears will be in the party’s platform for 2020, will the ‘pro-life’ Democrat candidate publicly come out against the extension of the so-called right to abortion to include the mother’s  right to kill her baby that has survived being aborted  who is now alive outside her body?

Disgraceful Actions

To say that an incumbent administration has been disgraceful [which is always debatable; especially when about half the people may agree with this, but about half believe that the incumbent had been a blessing to be proud of] in no way addresses the serious issues raised by the question at the beginning of this article. Certainly, any such “disgrace” cannot be taken into account as must intrinsic evils in determining if voting is a sin. 

Now, within days of this writing, in what many view as a condemnation of Christianity, the Democratic National Committee has publicly proclaimed its anti-Christianity position by passing a resolution denouncing Christian beliefs and actions. One part of the statement is as follows:

Those most loudly claiming that morals, values, and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views have used those religious views, with misplaced claims of “religious liberty,” to justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many  Americans,.

The scare-shudder-sneer quotes for religious liberty are in the resolution’s original language. In the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution as written by the Founding Fathers, there were no such s-s-s quotation marks.

One commentator sums up what this means for many Christians.

Christianity gets criticized for aligning with the Republican Party. I’m not comfortable with that myself. There’s great danger in tying ourselves to any political group. But what choice do Democrats leave us now? There are only two major parties. One of them has made its stand. It’s against us. We can’t vote Democrat and hold to our Christian values and beliefs.

Let me repeat that: We can’t vote Democrat and hold to our Christian values and beliefs. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything our president does. It doesn’t even mean we have to be Republicans. But for all the options seemingly open to Christians, one of them is shut tight, at least for now — by Democrats’ own decision. (Demoratic Party Passes Resolution Against Christianity, Tom Olson, The Stream, August 30, 2019)

Conclusion

If nothing else, this discussion is laying out the teaching, the principles, and the moral and theological reasonings that are involved in making a determination whether voting for a Democrat is a sin. Perhaps more importantly,  some who were unaware of these things and who sincerely do want to well-form their consciences are learning principles, truths and facts they did not know before. Hopefully, the intensity of some writers and commenters (not the least of whom is your present writer)  will emphasize rather than cloud the issues.

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7 thoughts on “Sin Voting: Reasons and Intrinsic Evils”

  1. One does not embrace perdition as a single act. It is a process with a beginning and continuous actions. In 1972, with the nomination of George McGovern, the democrat party began a process that has culminated today in an embracing of infanticide under a more acceptable name. The reluctance of our clergy to criticize the party today in exchange for a dollop more of welfare and looking the other way on criminal illegals is a moral disgrace for which they will have to answer to a much higher Authority.

  2. I don’t think I can vote in the next presidential election.

    The republican party doesn’t care much about the environment and the democratic party doesn’t care about ending abortion.

  3. Pingback: THVRSDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  4. Point taken, yet this is a factually incorrect statement: “At the time in 2010, every so-called ‘pro-life’ Democrat in Congress voted for Obamacare.” The number of Democrats who voted against it, while not impressive, is not negligible either. Of the three who remain in the House today, two — Dan Lipinski and Collin Peterson — consistently vote pro-life. They deserve their reputations accurately represented.

    What’s more, Lipinski won his last primary against a far-left, pro-abortion challenger by about 1,600 votes; his only “serious” Republican challenger, if we may call him that, was a literal neo-Nazi. No Catholic in IL-03 need be disturbed in conscience about voting for Lipinski.

    1. Nicole, I am worng, you are correct re: 2010 votes. I will not make this error again.

      Thank you for your kind and informative comment. Now you are spurring me on to learn more re both of these congressmen. I will check out their records and personal platforms on all points. Thank you.

      This discussion, debate, and these interchanges are so needed today for our country, and, more importantly, for our souls. Guy, Texas.

  5. 1. If you knew for a fact that outlawing abortion would increase the number of actual abortions (albeit of the back-alley kind), would you still vote for politicians who want to outlaw abortion?

    2. If you knew for a fact that a “pro-life” politician’s policies would increase the number of actual abortions (by his opposition to availability of prenatal care for poor women, or various other components of the social safety net), would you still vote for him?

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