Is it morally acceptable to vote for an anti-family candidate?
With the foregoing considerations, it would not be morally permissible to vote for candidates who support anti-family policies, including reproductive health; or any other moral evil such as abortion, divorce, assisted suicide and euthanasia. Otherwise one becomes an accomplice to the moral evil in question.
The gravity of these questions allows for no political maneuvering. They strike at the heart of the human person and the family are non-negotiable. Supporting them renders a candidate unacceptable regardless of his position on other matters. The right to life is a paramount issue and hence cannot be placed on the same plane of discernment as the candidate’s positions on the environment, unemployment, health, or others. This is because, as Pope John Paul II says, the right to life is “the first right, on which all the others are based, and which cannot be recuperated once it is lost.” It is also because the family is the basic unit of society. A candidate lays down the ground for refusing solidarity with anyone if he refuses solidarity with the unborn in the first few days or months of life, or with the dying. Why should anyone vote for such a candidate?
How should we Catholics engage questions related to family and life similar to the ones discussed in this Catechism?
Whenever we explain our desire to further strengthen the Filipino family, we should base our arguments primarily on legal, medical, economic, education, psychological, sociological and other scientific data rather than on religious teachings alone. This translation of our faith into legitimate inputs to the policy making process helps our elected officials see more clearly the reasonableness of our advocacy.
For example, factual demographic data from UN Population Division showing rapid ageing and collapse of the world population in 40 years, or the drop of Philippine fertility below replacement rate in 15 years, are reasonable grounds to encourage elected officials to instead opt to file bills banning contraceptive attempts to bring fertility down. The fact that contraceptives are also abortifacient and cancerous reinforces this argument. This way elected officials will see that those who promote family and life (including in their opposition to the Reproductive Health Bill) are not only the Bishops, as the mass media frequently portray, but above all parents, whether Catholics or not, who truly understand the issues, not only as taught by the Church, but as supported by data from the different fields of knowledge.
We Catholics should always remember that we are not only members of God’s People, but of Philippine society as well. Hence when it comes to voting in the 2010 Elections and even beyond, and holding dialogues with our political leaders, we should carry out our responsibilities and demand our rights as citizens. When we speak with our Honorable Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors and other officials, let us highlight our place of residence in provinces and barangays rather than our parishes, our membership in civic groups rather than Church organizations, and our occupation as office workers, businessmen, farmers, fisherfolk, bus or tricycle drivers, vendors, youth and women advocates, and others. Let us emphasize to them that we are their constituents – citizens, taxpayers and voters — who have put them into office, and demand that laws protecting the Filipino Family be firmly upheld.
Note: Books containing compilation of my articles on Labor Law and Criminal Law (Vols. I and II) are now available. Call tel. 7249445. –Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star)
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