To Catch Up:
What's going on this week?
Guest Post 1
Today's Can of Worms Post is by Kate of Just Call Me Kate. She leans to the left and will continue our week of Worms. Once again, I am honored to have Kate (who I know IRL) guest post here! Thank-you so much Kate! (Also, each post was written and scheduled to post before seeing what the others wrote - or even knew who was asked to write and from which side.)
Thank you, Rebecca, for asking me to write this post! In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that my “area of expertise” is theology/ministry and definitely NOT politics, so… here’s a grain of salt for you! The relevant parts of my life story are: I have been happily married for 4 years, I have two gorgeous children, and I am currently working on my Masters in Pastoral Ministry.
The body of Catholic thought that has most affected my lived faith for the past 10 years is Catholic Social Teaching. Since this facet of Catholicism is often called “the Church’s best-kept secret,” I will list the seven principles found in the USCCB’s list (there are other lists) but I invite you to visit the link for summaries of each principle. The 7 Principles are:
1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
2. Call to Family, Community and Participation
3. Rights and Responsibilities
4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
7. Care for God’s Creation
It is in keeping with these themes that I have chosen to vote Democrat for the past two Presidential elections.
From what I understand of the political system in the United States (see the disclaimer above!), the President does not have much power over the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade – which, of course, is the main concern of anyone who is politically anti-abortion. While s/he can appoint Supreme Court justices who may or may not reopen and overturn the case, it is important to keep in mind that no Republican has thus far appointed a justice who did just that.
I’m going to spend some time on the abortion issue for a minute – even though I am by no means a single-issue voter – because it is such a source of contention between the “two sides.” I firmly believe that, if abortion was criminalized in this social climate, all we would end up with is women and babies who die because back-alley abortions. Our society is not ready for such a step. There is very little support for the women, children, and families who are forced to make “the choice.” (And anyone who has ever been pregnant has made a choice!)
Democrats tend to offer women, children, and families the support required to choose life. The pivotal issue in the most recent election was health care reform. I asked myself: What is one of the main concerns of a middle class woman faced with pregnancy? I know what mine was, twice. That is, How am I going to pay for my prenatal care and for the birth of this child? Those who are materially poor (I include myself in this number) can “count on” programs like Medicaid to either take the place of or cover the gap left by health insurance. And, while Republicans tend to cut funding, Democrats tend to maintain or increase funding to this and other similar programs. In Obama’s case, he went a step further and suggested overall health care reform. What better way is there to affirm the Life and Dignity of each Human Person than to take their health care outside the realm of profit margins? What better way is there to assure a mother that she will not be left alone to care for her child?
Health care reform also affirms other principles of Social Teaching: Rights and responsibilities, and Option for the poor and vulnerable. Indeed, Call to family, community and participation plays a part in this issue as we are all asked, “Are you your brother/sister’s keeper?” The Catholic’s answer is a resounding YES! I AM! We care for each other in a wide variety of ways, and one of those ways is paying taxes. If health care reform involves increased taxes, then so be it. The common good is just as important as, and must be balanced with, individual rights.
To continue my defense of my “Pro-Life” stance, I’m going to point out what I hope is obvious to everyone. Human persons live all over this beautiful planet. They are not only American. They do not live exclusively in so-called First World countries. Indeed, even terrorists posses inherent, God-given dignity that no one can take away. This idea is not one that sits comfortably with the post-9/11 crowd, but it is our faith nonetheless – Christianity is often “difficult” and rarely “comfortable,” and we would do well to remember that. Catholic Social Teaching reminds us about the Life and Dignity of the Human Person. Given these Truths, I could not in good conscience vote for any pro-war, pro-torture, or pro-death penalty agenda. Likewise, I cannot support gun laws that enable Americans to protect so viciously what is “theirs” (an attitude with which Paul VI would have profoundly disagreed: “…the right to private property is not absolute and unconditional” (Populorum Pregressio, p 23). Read on for the conditions.) These are all Pro-Life issues, and I feel passionate about them.
Other “miscellaneous” issues that are represented by CST are things like living wage, immigration and the rights of immigrants. Again, Democrats tend to deal with these issues somewhat more “Catholic-ly” than Republicans.
I definitely can’t forget to mention a clear sign of the times! That is, Care of God’s creation and our current dependence on fossil fuels for energy. As our faith tells us, alternative sources of energy must be developed – and it is the Democratic leaders who are traditionally more in favor of supporting research toward that end.
All these issues combine into one giant Pro-Life issue. This comprehensive view of what it means to be Pro-Life is more than anti-abortion. And it’s why I voted for Obama.
The Can of Worms continues. What do you think?
The Can of Worms continues. What do you think?