Tag Archives: abortion

Voting Catholic

I don’t think it’s a simple matter to reconcile one’s Catholic faith with the issues in the presidential election.  The issues are at least as complex as the Church’s teachings, and it leaves a lot for a person to think (and pray) about.

I picked up this article in the New York Times on Wednesday, and it talks about these very struggles for Catholics in Pennsylvania.  The writer basically divides the faithful into one of two camps– those that will vote exclusively on the issue of abortion, and those that apply a more comprehensive-Church-doctrine lens when examining the candidates.  It’s an interesting read.

I would put myself in the second camp, but I am also inclined to resist yet another divisive label (and within the same church, for that matter).  I really do feel like voting exclusively on the issue of abortion (or exclusive on ANY one issue) is a cop-out.  If you want to say “I will only vote for the pro-life candidate,” that’s OK, but remember that this year’s “pro-life” candidate is the same one that is willing to prolong the Iraq War as far as necessary and has a hair-trigger on finding an excuse to invade Iran (and who knows where else).

Outlawing abortion isn’t going to make it go away.  I think that choosing abortion is a sad choice, but I also DON’T think that working to protect life should stop at the moment of birth.

Things That Some People are Passionate About, But Which I Just Think Make Sense

On the surface, it might seem like I just don’t have the motivation to become part of a “movement.” For a while, I self-diagnosed that as a problem, but lately I’ve changed my mind and decided that I’m simply calm and sensible about most things. If a person has an idea or a philosophy that they really believe in, there’s a chance it could consume them, and in turn, consume all their interpersonal interactions with the other humans.

I came up with a short list of things I really feel like I’m on-board with, but I try to make a point of NOT shouting from the rooftops about it…

(My apologies for the vast diversity of such a short list.)

Let’s kick it off with the mother of all philosophical debates! I am not personally a proponent of abortion. I think it’s the wrong choice to make, and I hope that anyone considering such a procedure thinks long and hard about the future consequences, and moreover, talks to a professional about it. The idea of me being the parent of an aborted fetus actually makes me feel physically ill. It just *feels* wrong.

However, I understand that there are people who don’t feel the same way, abortion IS legal, and even if it weren’t, there would be women getting them somewhere. The way I reason it is: tell people what you think, if someone asks, discourage them from doing it, but leave the final judgement up to God.

Climate Change
I have had a more vocal, tongue-in-cheek debate ongoing on this topic with Dave Slotten for a while. But honestly, it seems really cut-and-dried for me: actual scientists, who enjoy “doing science,” have done actual science that says, “holy BALLS is it hot! It is going to get hotter and hotter and hotter because of these things that humankind is doing.”

I’m not looking to debate research here, or the capability of scientists to read the past and predict the future. The thing is, there’s no doubt that we’re doing things that are bad for the planet, and whether or not you want to believe there is a disaster looming, my reasonable brain says, “if there are more environmentally-friendly ways to accomplish the same things, what’s the harm in doing them?” If you’re not sure about the climate change thing, or don’t think you can trust scientists or lobbyists or former vice presidents, there’s still no harm in doing things that are good for preserving the planet. Right?

Al Gore did send me an email today, and I welcome you to take a look if you like.

3rd Parties and Term Limits
I am not ever going to write a song about Ralph Nader or move to Europe because I think they do democracy better over there.

It just seems to make sense that people should listen to as many voices as possible before making a choice about who is going to govern. If one of two parties has let you down repeatedly, and they don’t seem all too different anyway, it’s time to try something new. Kind of like if the lightbulb in your bedroom is flicking on and off, get off your ass, climb up on a chair, and screw it in a little tighter. Why put up with an aggrevating situation because you’re lazy?

That idea naturally leads me to the concept of involving more people in government by limiting the amount of time one person can serve. I say go to the max– one term per office per person. Can you imagine what might actually get done if a politician didn’t have to think about getting re-elected?

Linux and open-source software
This is obviously the least essential my logic-crusades, but it comes to mind in part thanks to Wil Wheaton, and in part because I’ve been using a Linux OS more and had contact with the meta-geek crazies on the extreme of that argument.

Look– the goal of a free software movement should not be to topple successful companies or do some sort of mass-conversion of the world’s computer users. The goal should be to offer people a choice. If someone says, “Damn, this software is expensive and doesn’t even do what I want!” there should be a reasonable person that communicates well to say, “You could think about trying this. It does all the same sort of stuff and you can get it for as little as zero monies.”

So that’s enough soapboxing for one day. In the end, I wish reasonable people could have reasonable discussions about things that they’ve thought about, instead of shouting matches across news reports or Internets that only make people angry. I guess a lot of reasonable people just don’t want to get all riled up about it.