Sunday, October 7, 2012

Does voting for a candidate who supports evil make one complicit in that evil?

With the election just weeks away, candidates are doing a final push to inform the public of where they stand on the issues. Still, it can sometimes be difficult to know just who the better candidate is, especially on "values" issues, like the poor and the unborn. Christians and other religious people are often especially conflicted in how they should vote on these matters.

For instance, one candidate may talk more about helping the poor obtain a better quality of life - a very noble goal indeed that all Christians should embrace. On the other hand, another candidate may also want to help the poor, but puts additional emphasis on human life itself, especially that of the most helpless - the unborn and the elderly. So which matters more: quality of life, or life itself? For true Christians, the answer must be life itself, for if we don't value the sanctity of life for its inherent worth, then there can be no real quality of life anywhere.

But there is another reason we should consider in putting life itself above all else: the idea that to support a candidate who supports evil such as abortion and euthanasia can make us complicit in that evil.

The following is an excellent homily delivered recently by a very holy and wise man, Deacon Joe Hulway. He graciously granted me permission to share with you his wonderful and eloquent explanation of why Christians must solemnly consider the candidates they support, and do all they can to choose good over evil. 

----From Deacon Hulway (partially excerpted):

...In the Book of Numbers, Moses says…“Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Moses spoke wise words. And Jesus implemented those words. All the people of the Lord have been bestowed with the Holy Spirit through their baptisms. All are called to be prophets…

But what is a prophet? We sometimes think of a prophet as someone who foretells the future, and sometimes God spoke through prophets of old with exactly that intention. But more generally, a prophet is someone, guided by the Spirit, who can read the signs of current events and can interpret the will of God for the community or society.

And this is something we should all strive to do. It is not only a part of our baptismal call, it is also part of the U.S. Bishops’ call to evangelization. The bishops gave us three evangelization goals for the United States. The third goal is: “To foster gospel values in our society, promoting the dignity of the human person, the importance of the family, and the common good of our society, so that our nation may continue to be transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ.

In case anyone hasn’t watched TV, read a newspaper, listened to the radio, or logged onto the Internet, let me inform you that we have a very important election coming up in just over a month. The results of this election will impact our ability to meet the bishops’ goal, the goal to foster gospel values in our society. As we prepare for the election, we need to be prophets. We need to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and interpret the will of God for our country, our state, and our local community.

And there will always be differences in political views because different people have different interests, different experiences, and different approaches to solving problems. We can agree that we want peace in the world, but disagree whether that is best accomplished by increasing military power or reducing it. We can agree that we want to reduce poverty, but disagree whether government assistance or job creation through free market policies is the best means to this end. We can agree that education needs to be improved, but disagree whether it is a funding or an accountability problem.

All these differences are acceptable ones for Christians, for Catholics, to debate. We can have common goals, but some take a conservative approach to reaching those goals, and some prefer a liberal approach. And based on our preferred approach, we can debate which political party, or which individual candidate  is the best one for our community.

But there are some issues to consider where one of the proposed solutions is not morally acceptable. And many of these issues are the ones that pertain to life: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research. For example, we must deal in our society with the fact that many children are conceived unintentionally. The current government administration in Washington proposes two solutions to this situation. First, offer free, that is taxpayer-funded, contraception. And when that fails, provide taxpayer-funded access to abortion services.

We are being forced to pay for two morally unacceptable approaches which contradict our religious beliefs. And to make matters worse, much of this is being done by presidential mandate without any checks and balances from Congress.

I cannot stand up here and tell you which party or which candidate you should support and vote for. You need to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. But I can make sure you are aware of positions of candidates and parties that are in conflict with Catholic Christian teaching. Bishop John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois issued a letter in his diocesan paper. It says many things better than I can. He wrote: “My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding ‘political’ and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues.”

The bishop notes that, since 1992, the Democratic Party has stated that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Which is bad enough, but this year the party platform removed the word rare and also states that it “supports the right to abortion regardless of the ability to pay.” Again this means taxpayer-funded. He points out that: “The Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that ‘gay rights are human rights,’ and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.”

Bishop Paprocki recognizes that there is much good in the Democratic platform as well. He says: “There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils.” With regard to the other party, he writes: “I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin.”

The bishop wraps up his letter with these words: “Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy. I pray that God will give you the wisdom and guidance to make the morally right choices. May God give us this grace. Amen.”

Bishop Paprocki is performing his duty as a prophet. What about you and me? Roughly 50% of people who identify themselves as Catholics, plan on voting in such a way as to make themselves “morally complicit” with intrinsic evil, to putting their eternal salvation in serious jeopardy. You may pass around mass political emails, you may post articles on Facebook, but the only ones who read them are like-minded people.

Instead, consider sending thoughtful personal emails to friends and relatives who may be disillusioned with the whole political process, who may be inclined to vote differently than you or tempted to sit the election out. Explain to them your concerns in a loving way. Better yet, give them a call. Get involved; be a prophet. Get others involved; get out the vote. More importantly, save souls.

We have two presidential candidates to choose from. One claims to be a Christian, but many of his values appear to be anti-Christian, and are definitely anti-Catholic. The other is a Mormon, technically not a Christian, but his views are much more in-line with Catholic teaching. Jesus said: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.” 

(For the full context of Bishop Paprocki's letter, click here.)


These moving words by Deacon Hulway give us a lot to consider. While neither presidential candidate is planning to deny help for the poor, one wants openly supports certain evil actions like abortion into the ninth month, and wants to force Christians to pay for things they find morally reprehensible like contraception, including those that induce abortion. Doesn't voting for that candidate knowing full well what he supports make one complicit in that evil? 

What do you think?  Click on the comments link in the bar below to share your thoughts. No registration necessary.


  1. i cant find anything that says taxpayers are paying for abortions..... i thought that the hyde amendment prevented that?

    1. I'm not voting this election. Obama and Romney both supported embryonic stem cells (we all know Obummer did, but Romney did while being governor). Romney's website doesn't explicitly denounce stem cell research. It just says he was opposed to cloning while governor. He also didn't try to take on abortion while governor and was pro-choice until he changed his mind a couple of years before leaving office. I just don't trust either of them.

    2. Hi Anonymous, The Hyde Amendment does prevent taxpayer funded abortions. ObamaCare supersedes that. While some call this a false rumor, ObamaCare actually collects a surcharge to subsidize abortions. First, beginning on page 453 of the ACA, this rule describes and reaffirms the "segregation of funds for abortion services" as required under ObamaCare. Essentially, insurance plans may include abortion services in a plan subsidized by federal taxpayer dollars. To justify this inclusion, the plan will collect a $1 "surcharge" from all policy holders. Of course this surcharge will be collected as part of a larger premium payment, and not as a part of a separate collection. Additionally, plans are entirely free to advertise the total cost of these plans without mentioning that $1 of the premium is specifically intended to subsidize the abortion coverage. Further, the surcharge is only to be disclosed when the policyholder first enrolls.

      In short, the surcharge does not even attempt to resemble an actual offset of the abortion coverage cost, is virtually undetectable by the policy holder, and serves the singular purpose of providing a flimsy defense for inserting the federal government into the business of providing coverage for elective abortions.

      Additionally, on pages 364-365, the final rule makes it entirely plausible that States that have passed laws prohibiting abortion coverage will be forced to provide that coverage anyway. This would occur through the multi-state plans administered by the Federal Government. The final rule simply says that rules governing these plans will be issued at a later date, so it’s entirely feasible that these plans will be permitted to cover abortion, even when one of the States within the multi-State area prohibits it.

      And given Obama's almost religious worship of abortion itself - remember he voted four times as a senator against a bill that would require medical treatment for babies who survive their abortions - it is not a stretch that he would have no problem forcing taxpayers to pay for it. But regardless, just his vocal, steadfast support of abortion is evil in itself. Yes, I wish Romney were more unequivocally pro-life, but at least he supports taxpayers' rights not to be forced to provide for things like contraception and other abortifacients.

    3. thanks for answering, Mike! but i thought those rules only applied to the state exchanges, and that obamacare requires every state to have at least one plan that does not cover abortion, and that states can choose to not offer abortion in their plans? and i also thought it said that obamacare cant preempt state law? i had a hard time finding the right page numbers - which section/article is it in? thanks for helping me understand this!

    4. Where does ObamaCare require each state to have at least one plan that does not cover abortion? I would like to see that. But regardless, ObamaCare gives the HHS secretary limitless power to change rules anytime she/he wants, so state exchanges are not exempt from OC overall reach. That is already evident with the HHS mandate - a power granted to Sebelius directly via ObamaCare. So even if states can "choose" whether or not to include abortion, the HHS mandate does not exempt people (e.g., employers with more than 50 employees) from providing for contraception/abortifacients. Even if that clear exemption exists, under ObamaCare it is certainly not guaranteed. The government can change it any time it wants by the very design of ObamaCare as written. And it doesn't change the original point that we've gotten away from that support for abortion the way Obama supports it - even for babies after they're born who've survived the initial abortion attempt - is evil. Pure and simple. To vote for him knowing his stance is to be okay with the evil he perpetuates against the most innocent and helpless of all.

    5. i looked up obamacare on the house website and searched it for abortion. most of the abortion stuff is in section 1303 [special rules], which if you use the ppaca consolidated version, which is on the house website (, starts on page 64. the very first section (a(1)) says "IN GENERAL.—A State may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an Exchange in such State if such State enacts a law to provide for such prohibition."

      and it says later that "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preempt or otherwise have any effect on State laws regarding the prohibition of (or requirement of) coverage, funding, or procedural requirements on abortions, including parental notification or consent for the performance of an abortion on a minor"

      im not sure if Sebelius can go against that part of the act. maybe she can, but it seems like it would go against the law set by obamacare. i dunno. theres federal law against abortion funding, but not birth control funding (i think).

      i dont agree with the hhs mandate on contraception, though i didnt know it included abortifacients unless you consider birth control to be abortifacient. i saw the recent federal court case arguing that payments to employees can be spent however they want, but i imagine the supreme court will see that sometime soon. lets hope they do.

    6. sorry, but i looked at the wrong link! i was supposed to use the senate version instead of the consolidated version:

      in this one, it says: "IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall
      6 assure that with respect to qualified health
      7 plans offered in any Exchange established
      8 pursuant to this title—
      9 (I) there is at least one such plan
      10 that provides coverage of services de-
      11 scribed in clauses (i) and (ii) of sub-
      12 paragraph (B); and
      13 (II) there is at least one such plan
      14 that does not provide coverage of serv-
      15 ices described in subparagraph (B)(i)."

      the other parts i mentioned above are still in the senate version. sorry!

    7. Sure, a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage....until the HHS mandate supersedes it. Wait, it already has!! Anonymous, don't be fooled by these people. It's happening right in front of your eyes. The law means nothing to Obama's administration! Look at the welfare maneuver he just did. Look at the amnesty act he just pulled. The LAW means nothing to this president, nor do their promises ("taxpayers won't have to participate in abortion" Remember that one?). I know you don't want to see it, but these people have proven they cannot be trusted because they have already blatantly ignored laws ON THE BOOKS. But if you must continue to defend them, do so, but it's on sand, not solid foundation. By the way, I voted for Obama in 2008 - my big shame - because I thought he could be trusted. I am stunned at how he has railroaded over laws on the books, bypassing congress to do so. I would be embarrassed to vote for this lawbreaker, liar again.

    8. Remember also that Obamacare gives the HHS Secretary complete authority to enact any law she wants under the cover of Obamacare. State exchanges are not protected against this power. We are all sitting ducks. Some people just refuse to smell the coffee unfortunately. They'll defend Obama til their death.

    9. i just wanted to learn more! i said i don't like Obama or Romney!

      can you show me the spot in obamacare that says that the hhs secretary can "enact any law she wants"?

      please don't just say that i need to "wake up". all i want is to learn more. so please, show me that spot.

    10. Anonymous - not one of the posts above tell anyone to "wake up". It's interesting, the conclusions you draw. But I digress. Here's another perspective for you: where in ObamaCare does it prevent the HHS Secretary from enacting any law at anytime? I haven't found it - have you? If so, share it with us. But you won't be able to find it. And sometimes what you need to do is look at the actions already in play for your answer. The HHS Secretary came out a year ago and said arbitrarily that, under the umbrella of ObamaCare, all employers - regardless of religious beliefs - will now be required to include in their employee health plans any form of contraception, sterilization, or abortifacients (which are drugs that abort an already conceived life - not prevent a life from being conceived - so that is abortion). Nobody was able to tell the HHS Secretary she couldn't do that precisely because she is allowed to arbitrarily enact any regulation she chooses to enact under ObamaCare. I'm sorry, but what more proof do you need? And how could you not be aware of this, by the way?

  2. I commend Deacon Hulway for the courage and leadership he is showing by giving these types of homilies to parishioners. I wish the deacons or priests at my parish would educate us in what is really going on. Too many people are in the dark of the evil that the Obama administration represents. Kudos, Deacon!