Friday, November 2, 2012

Why this Catholic Votes Republican

Voting isn't exactly optional for Catholics. It isn't all that easy either. With both major parties holding positions that run against Catholic teaching, our choices are not exactly clear. Usually voting has more to do with one’s philosophy of government than our faith. We have a tendency to bend our faith to fit our politics rather than working to make our politics more in line with our faith.

I have always voted Republican in major races (except once in my college ignorance when I voted for a very pro-abortion Senator—God forgive me). Why do I vote Republican? Allow me to explain.

The number one factor determining how people vote is how their Dad votes. That is largely true for me. My dad was raised with the understanding that Irish, Catholic, and Democrat were a package deal. As the Democratic Party shifted more to the left in the 1970’s Dad became increasingly disillusioned, finally registering as a Republican in the ‘90’s—just as my interest and understanding of politics was beginning to form.

My philosophy of government plays a large part in how I vote. I believe in small limited government. However, the biggest reason I vote Republican comes down to moral issues—first and foremost abortion.

Pro-life voters are often criticized for being one issue voters. While I assure you there are others, the reality is that if we cannot take care of the most innocent and vulnerable humans among us then other justice issues seem rather empty. We also need to remember the harm abortion does to women and families. Being pro-life is not anti-woman, it’s pro-everybody.

It is true that Republicans, including Mitt Romney, are often wishy-washy on abortion. The defining difference is that the Republican party has a pro-life plank in their platform while the Democrats have a very pro-abortion plank in their platform. Romney wants to de-fund Planned Parenthood, while Obama has made funding Planned Parenthood with tax dollars a priority.

There is an increasing wave of secularist priorities in the Democratic party. Just in the past year there has been a growing hostility to religion or any value or moral that could be construed as religious. Two examples are same sex “marriage” and the HHS mandate that requires religious institutions to include contraception and abortifacients in their employee health insurance plans.

Catholics who vote Democratic often explain that vote from a social justice stance. They are concerned with poverty and the widening gap between rich and poor. I too am concerned with these issues, I just don’t agree with the solutions offered by the Democratic Party. 

Some would have you believe that voting Republican would mean leaving the poor out to dry. At the very least we can be assured that no politician in his/her right mind on either side of the isle would advocate removing the “safety net.” No one would advocate eliminating temporary assistance programs that fill the gaps while someone works to become financially stable. The trend among the Democrats, however, seems to continuously expand and redefine who needs assistance from the government and what form that assistance should take.  At times it smacks of paternalism. Helping people is one thing, steering them to become increasingly dependent on government is another.

The Church teaches that it is up to the individual to form his or her conscience and vote accordingly. The U.S. Catholic Bishops have a guide on voting called Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship designed to help us sort through the issues. Chances are, you have made up your mind by now. If not, let your conscience be your guide.


  1. Thank you. You gave me a place to send my 18 yr. old, who is frustrated and not sure he even wants to vote, to arm him with information that hasn't come from his parents (who he is certain knows nothing).

  2. I always like to tell the story of my unborn grandchild and my daughter. You see, at 5 months an ultrasound showed that the baby was anencephalic - no skull - as long as the baby was in the womb the baby lives. Once the baby is born, she dies. I don't know if you have children, and for sure I know that you have never experienced what it feels like to have life stirring in your womb, but what would you do in this case? Sentence your daughter to continue bonding with a baby that will die at childbirth or would you terminate the pregnancy, i.e., have an abortion? This is what it means to have a choice.

    1. Annie, thank you for your comment. First let me say I am very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain your family went through.

      I do have children, seven. We have also lost two children to miscarriage. Not nearly as painful as what your daughter was faced with, but still two children that were very much ours.

      In the same situation, my wife and I would have chosen to carry the child and love her and hold her as long as we could. Would it have been painful? More than I can imagine. But I also firmly believe that God always finds purpose in the pain. This is one of the lessons of the Cross. Part of that purpose, as it was on the Cross, is to help us become who he created us to be.