Saturday, May 01, 2004

Congenial Fictions

I'll grant that the apologists for voting for John Kerry are persistent.

One commenter wrote:

On this matter [the permissibility of voting for Kerry], I continue to disagree because of the moral distinction between the state actually deciding who lives and dies verses the state simply allowing murder to happen.

The idea that the State, by legalizing abortion, is just "allowing murder to happen" is simply a congenial fiction. The fact is, we have a duty to defend the lives of the innocent unborn. That duty has been reiterated in Evangelium Vitae, the "Doctrinal Note on...The Participation of Catholics in Political Life", and "Living the Gospel of Life". Standing back and allowing abortion to happen is not permissible. To allow abortion to happen willingly and knowingly is to be complicit in it, and to be guilty of formal cooperation in a grave evil, which is never permissible. And again, no one can claim that, with abortion legalized, the death of unborn children is merely an abstract "possibility". To argue such is fatuous, in the light of 1.5 million abortion deaths annually.

If you know that your neighbor is planning to kill his wife, and do not report him or make an effort to stop him, in many jurisdictions you risk arrrest. The civil law recognizes that, in grave matters, we can have a duty to try to stop persons from committing evil acts. The moral law certainly recognizes this.

And John Kerry is not taking some sort of "neutral" stance regarding abortion. He wants to defend and protect the ability of abortionists to do their deadly work. He wants to further enshrine the fictive "right" to abortion in our nation's laws. He does not want abortion limited, he wants it extended. The idea that John Kerry intends to passively stand back and "allow" abortions to happen (even though that would , in itself, be immoral) is also fatuous, given his wholesale devotion to NARAL and NOW.

Some have argued that on abortion, "the Kerry v. Bush debate [is] close to a draw, with Bush only very slightly favorable - and still ultimately pro-choice."

This statement is a fiction of such staggering proportions as to defy credibility. George Bush has repeatedly affirmed the right to life of the unborn. He signed the "Partial-Birth Abortion" ban into law. John Kerry, in a characteristic display of cowardice, abstained on the Senate vote of that bill. Bush signed the "Born-Alive Infants" Act into law, granting protection to at least some unborn children. John Kerry voted against it. George Bush reinstated the ban on federal monies going to support pro-abortion programs as part of foreign aid. John Kerry would once again make extending abortion part of US foreign policy. George Bush has vowed to appoint strict-constructionists to the courts, which opens the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade. John Kerry has vowed that he will only appoint judges who are explicitly supportive of Roe v. Wade. Such packing of the federal courts with dedicated pro-abortion idelogues would put abortion-on-demand under judicial protection for another generation. I confess that I really have grave doubts about the intellectual honesty of anyone who could assert that Bush and Kerry are nearly at "a draw" regarding abortion.

However, on the issues of war, the death penalty, care for the poor, etc....Kerry comes way out ahead.

On issues like care for the poor, Kerry comes out ahead only if you accept that his rather doctrinaire leftist proposals on these matters are actually the best solutions. That is a debatable proposition, on which you have made a prudential judgment. You could be wrong. And if you are wrong, then you will have substituted your private erroneous judgment for the clear teaching of the Church on a matter which is not susceptible to error or reformation. And you will be culpable for that error, because the Church gave you unambiguous guidance in the matter.

In other words, while I want abortion made illegal, and would support a Right to Life Amendment, I consider an unjust war to be the greater offense...

The pro-Kerry commenters have made it abundantly clear that they consider the war, the death penalty, raising taxes, "helping the poor", etc., to be greater issues than abortion. But they do so contrary to the clear teaching of the Church, which says:

No issue trumps abortion in moral gravity.

One's position on other issues, no matter how "right", "can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life."

We have a duty to oppose abortion and work for its elimination.

What part of "no" and "never" are so hard to understand? I have repeatedly adduced Magisterial teaching about this matter, and what I get in reponse are rationalizations for why a Kerry supporter beleives that his private judgment about some contingent issue, in this case, outweighs Church teaching. On what basis is a Catholic permitted to do this? What would lead a person to believe he had the authority to do it? The Church doesn't say "no issue trumps abortion, unless the pro-life candidate doesn't subscribe to every left-wing nostrum for other social ills". The Church doesn't say that one's position on other issues can "never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life, unless the pro-life candidate is a real meany."

The pro-Kerry arguments amount to this: "Yes, I know abortion is bad, and I don't like it. But, because of [insert pet issue here], Bush is really, really, really bad. We just have to get rid of him. If that means accepting the deaths of a few million more unborn children, I guess they'll just have to lump it. I feel really bad about it, and I'll frown really hard when I cast my vote for Kerry, but I have to do it. [Insert pet issue here] is just too important. And Bush is such a meany. I know the Church teaches that nothing can justify a wrong choice regarding the protection of innocent life, but they couldn't possibly have anticipated just how awful Bush is."

The innocent unborn may end up paying the price for such congenial fictions.