Can I Be a Good Catholic and Vote for Joe Biden?

4 mins read
Gold and black crucifix

I hope so, because I already did.

I did so knowing there are priests — especially here in the U.S. — who will say I have violated the doctrine of my faith as laid out in the Catechism of the Church with regard to the right-to-life of the unborn.

But if the Church wants me to respect the sanctity of human life, then I must do so in its totality — from conception through natural death.

In fact, it is the very growth of my Catholic spirituality that has led me to turn away from Republicans in the last election cycle and this one and vote a Democratic ticket.

Let’s start with the greatest threat to human life: climate change. If we don’t do something to rapidly reduce the human footprint of carbon in our atmosphere, our planet will die and we along with it. That is called suicide. Suicide, according to the Church, is a mortal — and unforgivable — sin.

Then there is COVID-19. I blame neither Donald Trump nor China for a naturally occurring phenomenon. But I do blame Trump for not following through on mitigation efforts like mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, universal testing, tracing and isolation/quarantine practices for controlling the spread of coronavirus.

With a herd immunity approach to this virus unless a safe vaccine is developed, it means a minimum of 60% of the country’s 331 million residents would have to become infected. That means 198.6 million of us would need to become infected. At a 3% death rate, that means nearly 6 million of us would die.

When the Nazis deliberately killed 6 million Jews, we called it a Holocaust and said it was evil.

So what am I supposed to call a government’s decision not to do everything in its power to reduce death among its populace in a time of pandemic? A decision that requires overburdened hospitals to practice triage and to choose younger patients over the elderly in deciding who gets admitted for lifesaving treatment?

I certainly can’t call it respect for life, because it isn’t. And right now that government is led by a GOP president and a GOP Senate that can rush through a last-minute Supreme Court nomination. But for months, these same Republicans have refused to provide further relief to millions of unemployed Americans in danger of losing their homes, their food security, and their right to the dignity of work as more and more companies announce layoffs.

Nor can I continue to support a political party that defends taking immigrant babies from the arms of their parents, forever separating them because they were too lazy and too disrespectful of the human condition to use a computer program to pair babies with their parents. There could have been an app for that. God knows we have a plethora of apps to track every ounce of our water intake, our food ingested, our calories burned. But we couldn’t make one able to reunite children with parents because of their immigration status? Isn’t this government-sanctioned human trafficking in babies and small children?

Does my Church — so fallible about its own accountability of the sexual abuse of children by priests and, yes, nuns — not consider what the Trump administration has done with its immigration policies an equal moral failure?

So my Church insists I must make a Sophie’s choice — vote in the interests of the unborn or the already living.

This election I chose the latter. My choice to do so is between me and my God. . . and no one else. Not even the Pope himself.


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