In the last 300 years, how many liberal democracies have been founded? Of those, how many ban abortion today? - ZippyCatholic
[Zippy, by the way, has a series of good posts on the subject at hand. You can start here and work your way north.]
There's an election coming, in case you didn't know. It's the most important election in our lifetime. Hell, it might be the most important election ever. It appears that what's at stake is the notion of liberty and self-governance enshrined in our Declaration and Constitution. The moral health of the nation, yea, even the very survival of Christianity, is at mortal risk. We stand on the precipice of losing them forever. It is, therefore, your duty to vote in this election if we are to Save Our Country. You might have to hold your nose, but hold it you'd better. The smell of a Republican victory might be a little rotten for the next four years, but nothing compared to the hellish stench wafting over the land after a second Obama coronation. With Romney there is hope; with Obama, there will come the loss of Truth, Justice and the American passion for moral restraint and material reticence.
Or so I was told in a recent email exchange with an old friend. He sent me a link to a youtube video in which Mitt Romney tells a crowd about how he helped find someone's lost daughter. He gets applause after finishing the story. It was a nice thing he did. I guess the point in my friend's sending it was to demonstrate the size of Romney's heart...as compared to what? Obama's? Romney will do this sort of thing and Obama won't? Could be. Nevertheless, I told my friend I wouldn't be voting for Romney or anyone on the presidential slate, and sent him links to a couple of my posts explaining why. My reward for sharing?
Not to vote in a state where the race is so close and which state could decide the presidency is to be morally complicit in handing the race to Obama, the most pro-abortion, anti-traditional marriage president imaginable. Do you think for a moment that Romney's Mormonism, whatever funny underwear he's wearing, or whatever he believes about Christ, God, or the Holy Trinity is more dangerous than our current President's Rev. Wright styled "Christianity"? You have got to be kidding! Look at Romney's record: how could you possibly think his appointees would be more hostile to Catholic teaching than the HHR secretary and Justice Sotomayor? You wouldn't countenance a Pax Christi Catholic sitting on his hands while people are being murdered next door!...John Paul II said in one of his books that the Church does NOT teach that only Catholics or even just Christians are the only ones who will enter the Wedding Banquent of the Lamb: the only place in Scripture where Jesus expressly prescribed what has to be done to enter is in Matthew, where He said that at the End, when people are clamoring to be recognized by Him as faithful, the only thing that will matter is not what they professed to believe, but what they did re feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, tending the sick, and protecting "least among us." THAT is being Christ-like, whatever your professed religion or lack of it. (and he expressly said that when some at that time cry out to Him: "Lord! Lord!" he will reply that he knows them not.)Damn. What I mean to say is that it looks like I'm damned. I'm "morally complicit in handing the race to Obama." Not voting is just like sitting on my hands while someone next door gets murdered. Romney is not Christian, but he's more Christian than Obama. Failing to vote for the non-Christian Christian Romney is just like failing to observe the corporal works of mercy. After all that I hardly felt Christian myself.
Maybe I'm not a very good one, but I'm plenty stubborn. So I reiterated my list of complaints about Romney and the back and forth continued. He even hauled in a friend, a female, "an extremely thoughtful young Catholic I've known for years." Her reaction to my decision? A sampling:
Sweet mother of God! I hate to say it, but it's people like your friend who are the reason conservatives make little headway...It's not that the Republican party is the conservative party, but it's the only party on hand right now that we have any chance of making the conservative party. The Democrats epitomize and uphold the Culture of Death. Their platform celebrates intrinsic evils...
So rather than voting for the guy I don't entirely agree with but who can probably be influenced in the direction I want, I'll vote for the guy who not only does what I don't want, but who forces me to do what I don't want? I don't think so....
No abortion except in the case of rape or incest? Sign that bill tomorrow! Celebrate! That is so much of what our side wants. And if abortions became that rare, do you know how much custom and culture would be on our side to start to sway those final cases toward life?...
The selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot gives some hope that perhaps this will finally change if Romney/Ryan win...
Your friend seems determined to be ideologically/theologically pure. He will vote only for someone who shares completely his values and theology. I guess if he were someplace like Texas or California, he could maintain his purity of conscience with no real harm done. But in any contested state, not voting for Romney quite simply is a vote for Obama. Can his conscience really be clear with that vote? While he claims to care about the dignity of human life and the teachings of the Church? Shame, shame on him if he sits out this vote!
I'll be praying for him.
Okay, I've had it. It's time to give all you navel-gazing, 'salvation is from the Republicans' politibots what they call on the web a reality check.
1. So rather than voting for the guy I don't entirely agree with but who can probably be influenced in the direction I want, I'll vote for the guy who not only does what I don't want, but who forces me to do what I don't want?
This is pretty simple, so simple that even people like you who (unlike me) care about "the dignity of human life and the teachings of the Church" can understand it: a non-vote is not a vote. You can say it over and over and scream at yourself in the mirror until your face turns purple, but a vote for no one is not a vote for someone. The people who vote for Romney are voting for someone. The people who vote for Obama are voting for someone. A vote for no one is not only not a vote for someone, it's not a vote at all. Can you do that math? The only reason you'd think a non-vote is a vote for someone (for the 'other guy', the 'bad guy') is that I've declined to join the aggregate whose numbers will eventually add up to a victory for one or the other. The reason I've declined to do that is that I think one guy is a bad guy and the other a really bad guy, and that the bad guy is bad enough that I don't wish to support him.
But look out, here's some more math. The chances of my vote resolving the election in any way whatsoever are so astronomically small that, as I told my friend, "you'd have a better chance on Nov. 6th of being witness to the Second Coming than you do of influencing the outcome." Therefore, my reason for casting a vote must rest on some more important factor than the extremely unlikely possibility that it will have any actual effect. It will rest upon my answer to these questions, which is really just one: what does my vote say about me? What stand am I taking? What exactly am I endorsing? And my answer is that I would be endorsing the political ambitions of a man who has said: that children conceived by rape can be legally murdered; that children conceived in incest can be legally murdered; that a child whose mother's doctor tells her that her health or life is endangered by the pregnancy can be legally murdered; that "leftover" human embryos are eligible for medical cannibalization and therefore can also be legally murdered; that we ought to have a Federal Marriage Amendment and enforce the Defense of Marriage Act while at the same time preferring that the Boy Scouts admit openly gay scouts and scoutmasters, that states allow benefits for homosexual "domestic partnerships," and (before the NAACP) that he hopes "to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation," and who, while running for Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994 said that "I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent," and who has made it clear that he has every intention of institutionalizing the current policy of allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military. A man who, in other words, on all facets of this latter issue, is incapable of striking a consistently trustworthy note.
2. It's not that the Republican party is the conservative party, but it's the only party on hand right now that we have any chance of making the conservative party.
This is similar to my friend's sentiment that "I still think him [Romney] more likely to be swayed on these three or four issues in the future than Obama is on any one of his myriad supports of intrinsic evils."
To which I must ask: what dream world do political enthusiasts inhabit? You will never make the Republican Party the conservative party. Why? There aren't enough conservatives, that's why. You will always be a scattered remnant and useful fodder in a vote-getting scam. If you believe that children conceived by an act of rape should not be murdered, you are an extremist. Mitt Romney thinks I'm an extremist, and yet you want me to vote for him. If you believe that homosexuals are human beings with the same rights of citizenship as all the rest of us, but that their sexual activity deserves no special recognition in law (which is what is meant by advocacy for "openly gay" this and that), then you are, in Mitt Romney's book - if not an extremist - at least bigoted in some sense. But after four years of his homosexual equality babble, it will be become Republican doctrine. Progressivism is a snake that swallows us in increments, a little more with each election, and a man who finds victory running as what is commonly called a 'moderate' will not be "swayed" in your direction. Moderation, not conservatism is what got him where he is, and he'll dance with the lady he came with.
3. No abortion except in the case of rape or incest? Sign that bill tomorrow! Celebrate! That is so much of what our side wants. And if abortions became that rare, do you know how much custom and culture would be on our side to start to sway those final cases toward life?...
Again, what world do you live in, the real world or the one in which fantasies come true? What bill might she be talking about? There is no "bill" that will overturn abortion law. It's legal because of a Supreme Court decision. Short of a constitutional amendment (which you will never get), or the Court's self-reversal, no legislation will suffice. Well, maybe Romney will appoint judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Maybe. But it's a very long shot. John Roberts thinks it's settled law. I'll bet Kennedy does too. Even Scalia doesn't think the constitution prohibits abortion. And even if they did overturn it, the issue returns to the states, where most will continue to allow some measure of it, and many a very lot of it. Which leads to the important point: no individual, no legislature, no court, no human institution of any kind should be granted the authority to declare a class of human beings to be less than human and thus fit subjects for legal murder.
How important is this "life issue"? Well, when I told my friend that Romney's enthusiasm for experimenting on leftover embryos was "sort of like being in favor of taking the gold from a Jew’s teeth because because they’ll be no good to him after he’s been gassed," his response was: "you can't be serious that being for embryonic stem cells is morally equivalent to gassing Jews or murdering infants as they are being born. To make a moral equivalence between Romney and Obama is to exceed the sanctimonious scrupulouness of the Scribes and Pharisees."
Actually, I can be serious, ala Pope JP II in Evangelium Vitae, quoting the Declaration on Euthanasia:
"Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying"...As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others.For pointing out which my friend further rewards me: "As the devil can quote Holy Scripture to tempt Christ; I presume he can quote the Catechism and Church Teaching as well in his attempt to confound us." See how it goes? By not voting for Romney I do the devil's work. My God is there no escape?
Here's the reality, you conservative, pro-life Romneyites: you live in the Abortion Nation. After forty years, it is by now an embedded social institution , originated, of course, by another institution, the highest court in the land, and further validated by the submissive acquiescence of all the other relevant institutions. It will not be overturned. Why? Because your fellow citizens do not want it overturned. Some people want some restrictions, but they want it. Plenty of other people don't want any restrictions at all. Every now and then a President, like Reagan, will make disgruntled noises, but presidents are powerless.
As evidence of the gravity of the crime, here's a graph I ripped off from Beth Impson, who got it from someone else. It says something very vivid about those forty years (click to enlarge):
The urgent need to vote for Romney seems to be based on the premise that somehow we'll be rolling back the numbers of the murdered, that millions of babies will be saved who might otherwise have died. Fine. Someone tell me how that's going to happen. Details, please.
4. The selection of Paul Ryan for the VP slot gives some hope that perhaps this will finally change if Romney/Ryan win...
"Some hope" would be funny as an understatement if it weren't so tragic. The writer seems not to have noticed that it is the Catholic Ryan who has been co-opted by Romney, not the other way around. He is now the mouthpiece for all of Romney's abortion exceptions and his homosexual equality agenda - without presumably believing them himself - because this will amount to a "movement in the right direction," as though we were embarking on some backward march away from Roe v. Wade and the gay rights agenda, when in fact we end up making our peace with them. And what does this say about Ryan himself? Lydia McGrew (here and in other places) once made an important distinction between a man voting for a bad law in order to minimize some evil and actually proposing the law himself. Well, that's what Ryan must now do, advocate on behalf of plainly immoral positions that he does not himself adhere to. While I can't bring myself to condemn him for it, I can only say that if I were in his shoes, I wouldn't do it. You can't "make the Republican party more conservative" by observing the liberal's rules. You have to draw a line, abstain, withhold your consent from the game itself - because it's rigged to perpetuate itself.
5. Your friend seems determined to be ideologically/theologically pure. He will vote only for someone who shares completely his values and theology.
Aside from being false, this is stupid. We've never had a President who shared my theology. Ever. And we've only had one since 1973 who shared my values: Reagan. So it turns out that a president can share my values. Why is that so much to ask when I'm really asking for very little, for the bare, civilized minimum: that a decent human being ought to declare himself in favor of the proposition that every conceived human life, without exception, from cradle to grave is sacred and cannot be murdered for any reason whatsoever under any circumstance whatsoever, and that no human or human institution has authority to say otherwise? What's so unreasonable about that?
Oh, I forgot. That makes me an extremist. Actually, I think my friend's friend is less offended by my purity than by the fact that I'm not pragmatically pure like her. But I would like to re-ask a question I posed a long time ago: why do I have to compromise my beliefs while the politician does not? Why should I vote for someone who quite literally holds certain of my beliefs in utter contempt? It's all right to get sick and tired of something, isn't it? Good, because I'm sick and tired of it and I'm not going to play anymore.
6. I will pray for him.
This, after all the vilification. Not that she will pray for Romney to change his mind, for Obama to re-convert to his professed Christianity, or for those millions who will actually vote for him to come to their freaking senses. No, she'll pray for me.
The purpose of her prayer is to get me into a voting booth when what I need are prayers for my soul to get me into heaven. What transformation would she hope for? That I see the need to compromise with evil in order to defeat it? To tolerate the virtue of moderation so that conservatism might be perfected? I'm afraid I don't feel a miracle coming on, but that's exactly what we need, because what we have right now isn't working.