Election Year 2020 – Be Informed

Voting as a Christian

As Christians, we do not leave our faith behind when we enter the voting booth.  We understand that politics, like every other part of life, must be illuminated by God’s light or we will stumble in the dark and lose our way. A generation ago, a large majority of Americans shared this view. Call it the Classical Christian worldview. It was the common foundation for our social and political life; we assumed it like the ground beneath our feet. Today, however, that foundation is under attack from another worldview, one that rejects God, or at least ignores him, as it makes the self supreme.  Let’s call it the Radical Selfist worldview.

The Classical Christian Worldview

The Classical Christian worldview holds that we have received our lives as a gift from a God who loves us, and that we are accountable to him. It believes in moral laws that God has written on our hearts and clarified through his revelation – from the Ten Commandments given through Moses, to the Sermon on the Mount proclaimed by his only Son, Jesus Christ. This is his blueprint for us, his design for our happiness and fulfillment.

This blueprint reveals to us certain foundational moral principles. Among them, we see:

  • That every human life, of every race and nation, born and unborn, is sacred and
    has equal rights and dignity;
  • That we are created male or female according to God’s plan;
  • That sexual relations are meant for marriage between one man and one woman;
  • That the free exercise of religion is a sacred right.

Though we are imperfect human beings, we work to build our lives on foundational principles such as these, as we raise our families and shape our social and civic communities.

The Radical Selfist Worldview

The Radical Selfist worldview opposes everything we have just described, rejecting the idea of a God-given blueprint. Everything is up to personal ‘choice.’ We can choose our own gender, our preferred exercise of sexuality, our definition of marriage, and even whether a child in the womb shall live or die. Radical Selfism preaches tolerance until it gains power, at which point it seeks to silence and to punish those who disagree with it. Unfortunately, this worldview has been promoted and amplified by many in Hollywood, the mass media and even public education.

Political Consequences

The current political landscape essentially forces us to choose between these two worldviews. This choice has weighty consequences at every level of government, from the White House and Congress to state and local officials. Since Supreme Court and other federal judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, presidential and senatorial elections are especially critical. This is made even more critical by the fact that Radical Selfism has relied on the courts to produce outcomes unattainable by popular vote, such as legalized abortion and same-sex marriage.

The most telling indicator of Radical Selfism is advocacy of abortion, by which man wrests from God the very power over life and death. By far the most grave human rights violation of our time, abortion has already cost the lives of more than 60 million unborn babies in the U.S. since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Moreover, where we find abortion advocacy, we invariably find it clustered with other positions characteristic of the Radical Selfist worldview.

 

What is a Christian voter to do?

While we cannot expect perfection from any political candidate, it is vital that Christians support those most closely aligned with the Classical Christian worldview, and oppose those aligned with the Radical Selfist worldview. For Radical Selfism, with its worship of ‘choice’ in place of God, inevitably produces bitter fruits: moral and civil breakdown, destruction, and death. It is simply impossible to achieve lasting harmony and peace without adhering to the foundational principles of God’s plan. Therefore, let us intensify our prayers and our efforts to elect candidates who stand up for the God-given principles and rights on which our nation was founded. Our future, and the future of our children and our grandchildren, is at stake.

 


Comparing Republican and Democratic Party Platforms

Typically every four years, each major party, Democratic and Republican, develops a “Platform” which articulates the guiding vision, values and principles of that party in terms of what government is for and how it should serve the people. The Republican Party has chosen to stay with its same platform from 2016, while the Democratic Party has developed a new version for 2020.  Both of these are linked below, while a handout featuring excerpts on key issues can be seen here. 
While legislators are not bound by their party’s platform, a study by Stephen F. Austin State University professor Lee Payne found that, over a period of 25 years, members of Congress in both parties voted in line with their party platforms 82 percent of the time. This makes the examination of these platforms a good exercise in voter education.
You can access the platforms in their entirety at the links below, or you can examine excerpts chosen because of their connection to core principles of Catholic teaching and the natural law. The Diocese of La Crosse does not endorse parties or candidates but wishes to lend its voice in forming consciences for faithful citizenship.

Wisconsin Bishops – Faithful Citizenship Resources

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC), the public policy voice of Wisconsin’s bishops, is distributing two series of resources to help Catholics reflect on their duties as faithful citizens.  Catholics are encouraged to utilize these resources as they navigate the election process and fulfill their responsibilities as voters.

The first and longer five-part series includes the following:

  1. Letter from the Bishops/Overview of Catholic Social Teaching
    Letter from the Bishops, Overview of Catholic Social Teaching – Spanish
  2. Forming Consciences
    Forming Consciences – Spanish
  3. Life & Dignity of the Human Person/Poverty & Economic Justice
    Life and Dignity of the Human Person/Poverty & Economic Justice – Spanish
  4. Religious Liberty/Immigration & Solidarity
    Religious Liberty/Immigration & Solidarity – Spanish
  5. Marriage & Family/Care for Creation
    Marriage & Family/Care for Creation – Spanish

The shorter three-part series includes:

  1. Letter from the Bishops/Overview of Catholic Social Teaching
    Letter from the Bishops, Overview of Catholic Social Teaching – Spanish
  2. Forming Consciences from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
    Forming Consciences – Spanish
  3. Select Quotes from the WCC’s five-part series.
    Select Quotes from the WCC’s five-part series – Spanish

Additional resources outside of both series include:

  1. Candidate Questions & Wisconsin Voter Information
    Candidate Questions & Wisconsin Voter Information – Spanish
  2. WCC Guidelines for Church Involvement in Electoral Politics
    WCC Guidelines for Church Involvement in Electoral Politics – Spanish

While the series and resources are designed for parish bulletins, they can also be reproduced on a parish website or on posters.

As in years past, the WCC materials are based on the U.S. bishops’ statement, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States (www.faithfulcitizenship.org).

Kim (Wadas) Vercauteren, Executive Director of the WCC, explained that being a faithful citizen involves much more than voting.  A faithful citizen translates the social teachings of the Church into concrete economic, political, and social policies.

At the close of their opening letter, the bishops of Wisconsin write:

“Catholic social teaching . . . is crucial to proper discernment.  Its proper application can lead to finding effective solutions for many of today’s most pressing problems.  This is why it is so vital for the laity to know and live this teaching.  Some people may disagree at times with this social teaching, but they acknowledge that it is consistent.  As Catholics we support the unborn child and the mother.  We support individual rights and the common good.  We support the rule of law and mercy.”

The WCC’s resources are provided to parishes through the diocesan offices responsible for respect life and social concerns.  They are also available on the WCC website at www.wisconsincatholic.org.