A popular insult these days is to accuse someone of being a "single issue voter", as if this somehow proves said person is an unthinking drone, incapable of grasping the many complex issues that more sophisticated types take into consideration when voting.  This is an especially bizzare "insult" in our two-party system.  It is not as if multi-issue voters have more than two viable candidates to choose from, so the pratical result is the same — you either find in favor of a major-party candidate, or you vote third party.  I don’t see that it really matters whether your essential priorities are one issue, two issues, twenty issues — in all cases, it’s like the old multiple choice quiz instructions:  choose the "best" answer.  Not always the perfect answer, just the best one offered at this time.

 

But when it comes to voting pro-life, it isn’t so much a matter of voting "single" issue, as voting "the one non-negotiable issue".  Would you vote for a candidate who was strong on all the important stuff, except that he thought the right to lynchings ought to be protected?   How about a candidate with great foreign and domestic policy — and proven results! — but he thought rape ought to be legalized?  There are positions that simply cannot be tolerated. 

 

Here is a real-life example of what happens when "thinking" Catholics set aside pivotal moral issues in order to choose a candidate with better policies on other issues.  Unfortunately I don’t have my sources in front of me, and don’t have time to run to the library.  So I am going to tell this from memory, and if anyone needs citations I can dig them up later this week or so.

 

Anyhow, during the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, Catholic voters were divided.  There was another party — the Christian Democrats I think? — that was morally sound, but otherwise had a very weak program.  This was a time when Germany was still struggling from the after-effects of World War I, and a good domestic program to get the economy in order was very important.  The morally-acceptable party just wasn’t delivering.   So many Catholics voted for the Nazis.  They disagreed strongly with the Nazi’s position on moral issues*, but until the Nazi party came into full power, those things just weren’t as in-your-face.  (As we now know, once the Nazis came into power, it was too late to go back.) 

 

In other words, it is because some German Catholics — and other Germans of good will and good moral sense — were too "smart" to vote "single issue", the Nazis were able to ascend to power.  

 

The same has happened in the US — too many people who personally oppose abortion have nonetheless voted for pro-abortion candidates.  History has rightly judged that German voters made the wrong choice, and many people suffered and died as a result.  At the time, the choice wasn’t quite as evident — the evil of racism is not so clear when you aren’t the one experiencing it, and genocide is so contrary to all that is right and good that people have a difficult time mentally accepting its reality.  Right now we live in a time when abortion is treated this way.    It is an evil to which our wider culture shuts its eyes and mind. 

 

But human beings are not that stupid and morally insensitive.  There will come a time when reason again prevails on this issue, and people of the future will look back and see how barbaric our society has been — killing its own children and calling this murder a legal "right". 

 

Tommorrow we aren’t  being asked to risk life and limb in order to protect the innocent.  We are only being asked to risk that nonsense "insult" of being a "single-issue" voter.  Small price to pay in order to rescue our society from the savagery in which we are now engulfed.

 

 

 

*Some people like to pretend that the catholic position on racism is new or modern.  It is not.  We can of course cite the Bible itself to prove that point.  ("In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek . . .")  But we cannot pretend that somehow Catholics in the 1930’s simply "didn’t know better" because of some cloud over moral theology at that time.  The 2nd Edition of Religion Outlines for Colleges, Course I, first printed in 1935, opens its chapter on "Good-Will and Peace Among Nations" by saying:

 

The citizens of another nation and the members of another race are as truly my neighbors, children of God our Father and brothers of our Elder Brother Crist, as are my fellow-citzens and members of my own race.  . . . Their rights are as truly and strictly to be respected as are the rights of my own nation and race.

[Italics are from the original text].  This is what a textbook for college freshman in 1935 had to say.  Not some work of ground-breaking social justice theory.  Catholics who turned a blind eye to racism then are just as guilty as catholics who today turn a blind eye to abortion.  We cannot plead ignorance. 

 

 

 

Advertisements