As we draw closer to Election Day, I would like to invite you to consider carefully how we should approach our voting choices. I am not here to tell you whom you should vote for. I want you to consider the following as you prepare for your personal decision.
1. Exercise your vote. As Catholics we are responsible citizens who take their civic duties seriously. To participate in democracy and elect our leaders is a privilege that we cannot take for granted. All of us who are eligible to vote must vote. Our vote does count and it can make a world of difference in a tight election.
2. Be skeptical. During the campaign season there is so much spin and so much deception on both sides of the aisle, and we should not allow ourselves to be duped by pundits and experts. Do not believe polls. We need to expose ourselves to many channels for our information and cross-check the facts. Too many politicians pander to their electorate and rely on focus groups to say anything just to get elected.
3. Vote the common good and not merely your pocketbook. We often hear that Americans vote their pocketbook. Of course we should think about how a particular candidate will affect our financial situation. However, it is important to think of the common good in the long term. We need to choose leaders who will guarantee a peaceful and prosperous life for our children and our grandchildren, and not merely for those who are living now. Often we are called upon to sacrifice our own self-interest so that we can ensure the viability of our society as a whole. Politicians are afraid to ask for much-needed sacrifices from themselves and from the electorate because they want to get re-elected. They like to “kick the can down the road.”
4. Vote your Catholic values. We are not merely citizens of this world; we are citizens of heaven. Our vote cannot clash with our Catholic values. Protecting the unborn, respect for life, peace, right to live with human dignity for all peoples, taking care of the poor and the helpless, strengthening traditional marriage and family – all these issues merit our serious consideration. However, protecting the unborn is not one among other issues. The issue of abortion cannot be ignored or minimized in our voting decision. Although we must consider all basic human rights as we vote, the right to life must claim our most serious consideration. Without the basic right to live all other rights are irrelevant and non-existent.
5. This mid-term election will have long-term consequences. During every election we hear people say, “This election is like none other.” With regard to Election 2014 this saying holds true. As citizens we have a clear choice. Our vote will affect the nation and the world for years to come. The Congress and other elected officials at the local level can determine the condition of our state and nation.
6. Do not lose sight of the rest of the world. As a nation, whether we like it or not, we are set on a hill as a beacon. We are called upon to lead and we cannot afford to isolate ourselves. We need to elect leaders who will uphold the Judeo-Christian values on which this country is founded not only at home but also abroad. Whatever decision is made in Washington will deeply affect the rest of the world. We need leaders who will guide our nation and our world to peace, prosperity and harmony.
7. Prayerfully discern your vote. Please do not cast your vote swayed by what political pundits or talking heads say. Prayerfully consider your decision in God’s presence. Ask yourself whether this is how your faith and your values will lead you to vote. Think seriously of the consequences your choice will have. No candidate on the ballot is totally perfect. Often we have to choose the lesser evil. We need to choose someone who will cause the least amount of harm to society, to the common good, to the unborn and to our families.
Let us seriously ponder what type of leadership we want in Washington DC and in Springfield. We should be able to defend our voting choices when we will stand before the judgment seat of God.
I encourage all our families to pray daily for these elections. May the Lord have mercy on our country and help us elect leaders who will follow the laws of God and respect the teachings of the Church!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...