Every election, it is customary–and quite right–for Catholic voter’s guide to confront us with the “non-negotiables“: abortion, euthanasia, ESCR, human cloning, gay “marriage”. (I would add in vitro fertilization and torture, but let’s leave that aside for now.)
I’m totally down with this list and think it a tonic reminder of some of the basics we stand for as Catholics.
The problem is that, in practice, what the vast majority of prolife Christian actually mean by “the five non-negotiables” is “the five highly negotiables–if the candidate is a Republican and especially if he is Mitt Romney”. We are, after all, talking about the man whose sole achievement in the matter of the sanctity of human life is to get a formerly prolife running mate to capitulate to and actively support the proposition that innocent human life can be killed when it is unpopular enough to threaten Mitt Romney’s shot at power. Romney seems to oppose euthanasia at present, but given his rock solid commitment to flip-flopping, who knows what he will think should the aging demographic bulge of Baby Boomers get too expensive for our health care system? We’ll find out, I guess. ESCR? Well, we know he has no problem with In Vitro Fertilization so again, who knows? Same with cloning. And gay “marriage”? The man has been highly negotiable. Sure he *says* stuff that sounds soothing. But what possible reason is there to trust him?
My point is this: If the five non-negotiables are this negotiable, something is wrong. My idea is that the five non-negotiables really are non-negotiable and that our selective negotiability has, over the past 30 years, cost the prolife movement a whole lot more than it has gained it anything. I think we should return to refusal to negotiate on non-negotiables–and re-evaluate our voting based, not on the negligible impact our vote has on election outcomes, but on the massive impact compromising on non-negotiables has had on the prolife movement.