Monday, September 10, 2007

Election Campaign In Ontario Begins Today: Ontarians Urged To Make Life The Central Decisive Factor In Voting

Today, September 10, marks the beginning of an election campaign in Ontario.

There's only one political party in the province, the Family Coalition Party of Ontario, which claims to be unreservedly pro-life and pro-family.

They are doing their best trying to run a full slate of candidates (so far they've got 72 out of 107).

Vote Life, Canada! urges the people of Ontario to very carefully examine every political candidate’s position, regardless of party affiliation, on the legalized killing of children in Canada. Citizens are urged to follow the guidelines and principles contained in the Vote Life, Canada! booklet “How to Vote Life” which can be found online and is available as a pdf file.

When Canadians find a candidate properly qualified for political office, in accordance with the Vote Life, Canada! guidelines, they are urged to do everything they possibly can to ensure the successful election of that candidate.

From the Vote Life, Canada! website:

Q7. But aren't there all kinds of other issues in Canada which demand the Christian's attention and which require political attention? Isn't abortion just one more issue?

A. It's true there are a multitude of important issues which ought to concern the Christian, for example poverty, gambling, pornography, and immigration. But consider this question. Under what conceivable standard could you lump the killing of innocent children with the issue of gambling? Or with immigration? Or even with poverty? If you walked out onto the street and saw a young child being attacked, perhaps killed, how many options do you have? Is it simply another “issue” which you can take or leave, about which you can feel passionate or not depending on your experience, background or special interests?

To look at this another way, we commonly recognize various levels at which we must address the needs of our fellow man in a civilized society. We may work among the poor, volunteer to visit the sick and elderly, participate in an organized protest against pornography, sit on a committee that advocates for the protection of a refugee, or otherwise work to address any number of other 'issues.' But again, if in the midst of one of those activities we were alerted to the fact that a young child was being attacked and viciously killed, we would immediately drop what we were doing and run to the child's aid. We would call the police and immediately phone for an ambulance in order to save the child's life. We address different needs with differing levels of priority.

Abortion is simply child killing. It is of an entirely different order than a multitude of other issues because it deals with a fundamental principle and not simply a policy. Notice in the previous example that there was no disagreement whatever on what needed to be done in the incident of a child being viciously attacked. There is room for disagreement among Christians on how to address [i.e. policy] many important questions of justice. But on the principle of life and death, every civilized human being must choose life for an innocent neighbour, particularly a defenseless child.

More especially for the Christian, God's revelation pertaining to the sanctity of human life demands that we hold the right to life and the protection of life as central, defining, and objective principles, on which we have a clear word from Scripture.

Suppose in questioning a political candidate, he/she were to say to you, “I support terrorism [or slavery, or genocide].” Would you say, “I disagree with you on terrorism [or owning slaves, or killing Jews], but tell me about your plans for reforming Canada's health care?”

Wouldn't that be ridiculous? Rather, you would be immediately shocked and consider that candidate as disqualified from serving the public interests. Support for terrorism, which demands the killing of innocent citizens, is radically inconsistent with public service.

Is it any different with abortion? No. Abortion is no less violent than terrorism. Any candidate who says abortion should be kept legal disqualifies him/herself from public service. We need look no further; we need pay no attention to what that candidate says on other issues. Support for abortion, in any respect and to any degree, is enough for us to decide not to vote for such a person.

If a politician cannot respect the life of a little baby, how is he or she supposed to respect yours?

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At 12:55 PM, Blogger Balbulican said...

Your post raises an interesting question.

On our website some weeks ago, a person currently running as a candidate for the Family Coalition Party indicated that it was the duty of a Catholic politician to follow the instructions of the Vatican on issues where the Vatican had articulated a position, even when that meant voting against the wishes of constituents. In other words, the basic principle of democracy was to be ignored if the Church so wished.

Do you see any contradiction there?

At 7:37 PM, Blogger ELA said...


This is a very good question that you ask and I welcome the opportunity to expand upon it in this posting for the sake of other readers as well.

I’m not familiar with the particular incident or candidate to which you refer. However, there are some important principles involved here.

Firstly, and most basically, I believe, is the understanding that citizens in a democracy need to be as familiar as possible with their candidates in order to predict how those candidates will represent them in matters which are important to them. Political candidates with integrity will not seek to hide their views, aspirations or motivations either before or after elections. Nevertheless, all politicians do not possess such integrity and so voters must make every effort to distinguish the moral character of the candidate in order not to be disappointed after voting for that candidate, should the candidate be elected.

An important part of the work of a political campaign is to communicate to voters the criteria upon which the candidate’s decisions will be made while in office. A Catholic politician who seeks sincerely to be faithful to his/her Church will not seek in any way to hide the fact that the paramount factor in his/her decision making, insofar as moral issues are concerned, will be the guidance and instruction of the Church. If a voter disagrees with the approach of a Catholic candidate whose moral decisions will be informed by his/her Church, then the voter is free to vote for someone else.

If an honest campaign is waged by the Catholic politician, there will be no secret about the candidate’s position in this regard. When citizens vote for this candidate, there will therefore be no surprises when the candidate, while in office, votes the position of the Church. In this respect there is no circumvention of the democratic process since all parties know beforehand and are agreed to that particular outcome. In fact, there are many voters who look for exactly this qualification in a political representative. They want to ensure that the one who represents them will have the strong moral and traditional base of some Christian body, whether Catholic or otherwise.

Secondly, many people do not understand or appreciate the unique and crucial role of the Christian Church—Catholics plus non-Catholics—in the moral and spiritual development of a nation or society. On the Vote Life, Canada website, under Rationale, we devote a good deal of space to that topic, trying to help readers understand that although Church and State serve very different roles in society, together they serve the common good of mankind.

The Christian Church has a special commission to impart moral truth to the people of that society so that they might rightly order their lives before God and their fellow man. If this duty is properly carried out the people in a society will be in right relationship with God and with one another, and there will be peace and harmony, i.e. a civilized society.

Too many people of our day see the Church and State as being diametrically opposed to one another and as being competing entities in a sense, but this is an extremely faulty, even dangerous, concept. Those who hold to this concept are either uninformed and/or antagonistic to the truth that God [granted here is where many start to object!] has ordained the Christian Church to be the moral teacher of mankind. No other institution has that role or God given authority.

All of this is to say that the individual who protests that politicians must separate their Christian beliefs and standards from their politics or everyday decision making is really denying the God given role of the Church in society. To put it another way, a Catholic politician following the counsel of the Church, where it touches upon a particular issue, cannot help but make a contribution or helpful corrective for the well being of society.
Some will find this truth a particularly difficult pill to swallow.

Finally, returning to your question and summarizing, an honest, well informed (by his/her Church) Catholic politician is neither contravening the democratic process when he/she votes in accord with the positional statements of the Church, nor could it be a bad thing for society should it be done in full harmony with both the law and spirit of Church teaching.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Balbulican said...

I guess the challenge arises when a voter is not inclined to suborn their views to the interpretation of third party who is interpreting the views of the Church which is interpreting the will of God. It's asking a bit much of an electorate to determine the good faith of all three of those levels through an all candidate's meeting and the usual access voters have to a candidate over the course of the campaign.

But that was clear, and helpful. Thank you. As it happens, I live in the candidate's riding, and it's useful to me (and the voter's I'll be speaking to) to know how our wishes stack up against those of the Vatican.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger ELA said...


Again, you’ve raised some good points.

The question of faithful adherence to Church teaching is pre-eminent in making any inquiries into the candidate.

The fact is the sad state that many Canadians believe Canada to be in currently was orchestrated by those politicians who called themselves “faithful” or “devout” Catholics while at the same time legalizing contraception, abortion and homosexuality, even the extreme of same-sex “marriage.” These may not be controversial issues with non-Christians but all these things have been condemned and proscribed by Christian societies for more than nineteen centuries.

The point is that Roman Catholic teaching is clear on all these matters and more. In respect to most moral questions, anyone can simply pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Church and know precisely what is and isn’t Catholic teaching. On other more complicated issues such as same sex “marriage” or the Vatican’s policy of disciplining renegade Catholic politicians, or matters of Canon Law, it is relatively simple to find the answers on the Vatican website or at other Catholic sites online.

Any Catholic politician who gives the nod to such moral depravities as those mentioned previously above [granted many will take issue with these being “depravities”] is neither a “faithful” Catholic nor worthy of political office….in the eyes of the Church. This fact also can be clearly established by sincere inquiry.

As far as interpretation is concerned, which is the main thrust of your concerns, and rightly so, no Catholic is free to “interpret” beyond the clear instruction of the church. To do so, particularly publicly and defiantly, is a heresy. But I think the practical point is that those voters who are truly concerned about the moral issues have a right to expect those politicians who characterize themselves as devout Catholics or Christians to live up to historic, orthodox, traditional Christianity and to represent those beliefs in the public square. That, as I explained in a previous comment, is indeed the mandate of the Church, and in fact, of every Christian.

One further point concerns the Catholic Bishops of Canada. In various Vote Life, Canada! press releases and postings, we have sought to point out the very grave failings of Canadian Bishops to properly represent and defend Catholic teaching. Unfortunately the Pope has no prisons for disobedient hierarchy and so Canadian Bishops have continued to make a train wreck of the Catholic faith in Canada over at least the last four decades.

We recently issued an “Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of Canada” detailing our concerns and the fact that the negligence of Bishops has led most Catholics to a state of complete ignorance of their own faith, and many of the influential ones have actually become enemies of Christ and of our society through their obstinate denial, by word and practice, of the Catholic faith.

If you are considering voting for a Catholic politician, I would not simply take his/her word for being a “faithful” Catholic. Nor would I simply take the word of his/her Bishop. Further inquiries along the lines of what I’ve said above are necessary. However, if there is one litmus test, it would be along the lines of what this post concentrated upon, and I quote the last paragraph.

“Abortion is no less violent than terrorism. Any candidate who says abortion should be kept legal disqualifies him/herself from public service. We need look no further; we need pay no attention to what that candidate says on other issues. Support for abortion, in any respect and to any degree, is enough for us to decide not to vote for such a person. If a politician cannot respect the life of a little baby, how is he or she supposed to respect yours?”

If a Catholic politician is not prepared to say unequivocally that abortion is wrong under ALL circumstances and should be banned, and that he/she, if elected, will work to bring in laws giving the same rights to unborn children as born children, that politician is in serious disconnect with his/her faith. If you require simple in-your-face proof of that claim just see my recent post about what the Pope [yes, he’s Catholic] said in Austria about abortion.


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