The Diocese of Manchester passed out a voters’ guide. As previously mentioned, this immediately worried me.
It begins with a disclaimer that they don’t endorse any candidate, party, or PAC, but outlines seven issues. (Bold captions are their headings, the rest of the text is my commentary on it, unless quoted, in which case it’s quoted from the aforementioned publication.)
The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person.
Of course this covers abortion, but they also include “destruction of human embryos for research,” an “intrinsic evil.” (Of course, one’s “dignity” is the exact terminology used by proponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide to promote one’s right to euthanasia when they’re in pain and near death, so it’s an ironic wording choice.)
Curiously, they add “This teaching also compels us as Catholics to oppose genocide, torture, unjust war…”
Of course, I oppose genocide and torture. The “unjust war” bit is interesting: I can think of only one thing that they might be referring to, but I don’t know if they’d be so vague if that’s what they meant.
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
It starts off that family, “based on marriage between a man and a woman” (of course they’d add this), is fundamentally important. While I’m not sure why the families have to be between a man and a woman, I’m also not sure what this one is trying to say. It basically just talks at length about how policies should work on supporting families, their needs, and “the common good.” (Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is universal health care.)
Rights and Responsibilities
They start off with right to life (anti- abortion and death penalty), but then add “Each of us has a right to religious freedom”–obviously the church isn’t going to oppose this, but I’m a bit proud that they’re eager to support peoples’ rights to not be Catholic, too. And then they add that we all have the right to “those things required for human decency–food and shelter, education and employment, health care and housing.” (Emphasis mine.)
Option [sic] for the Poor and Vulnerable
Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
They call for a living wage and “opportunities for legal status for immigrant workers,” which seems to amount to tacit support for affording humane treatment to illegal immigrants.
I’m going to quote this one verbatim because it’s so well-done: “We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Our Catholic commitment to solidarity requires that we pursue justice, eliminate racism, end human trafficking, protect human rights, seek peace, and avoid the use of force except as a necessary last resort.”
Care for God’s Creation
“God’s Creation” is then implicitly defined as the Earth.
All in all, I’m left with a positive note. One thing that drives me mad is when people try to use the church to justify atrocities. The “moral majority” often seem to be the same ones advocating killing illegal immigrants as they cross the border, torturing suspected terrorists, opposing health care, and fighting living wages. I wish they’d come to their senses about same-sex marriage, but I really can’t fault them on abortion, which is a much trickier issue. I thought I’d be outraged by this guide, but, in actuality, it seems to support many of the things I support, and, for the most part, does so very tactfully in a way that still requires that people think for themselves.