Can someone explain these contradictions?

Can someone explain these contradictions? September 27, 2012

Conservative Christians who tell me they believe the Bible tell me that this story is true:

He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)

Then they tell me that my one puny protest vote for a third party candidate who does not advocate intrinsic grave evil is absolutely worthless and meaningless.

Then they tell me that my absolutely worthless and meaningless vote IS ENORMOUSLY MEANINGFUL BECAUSE I AM HELPING THE OTHER GUY, BE AFRAID BE VERY AFRAID!!!!

Personally, I suspect these contradictions, being true contradictions, can’t be reconciled because they are at variance with reality.  But I think my position can be easily reconciled with reality.  It’s this: You matter.  Your vote, no matter how statistically insignificant matters, because you matter.  You may not matter to powerful men and your vote may not have a statistically significant impact on an election just as the widow’s mite had no statistically significant impact on the economy of the Roman Empire. But she mattered and even her tiniest choices mattered to God because she mattered.  You and your seemingly insignificant vote matter too.  Think about your vote that way.  Use it for good and not to support grave intrinsic evil.

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  • Crisler

    Your metaphor is all wrong. The two copper coins still went into the collection plate. They were still going to the poor. Your vote is being thrown down the sewer out of pride and is as good as not voting (giving anything) at all.

    My vote may not amount to much, but it’s going to the only chance we’ve got to stop abortion-on-demand from being enshrined in law for another 30 years.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Your vote is being thrown down the sewer out of pride and is as good as not voting (giving anything) at all.

      First of all, your accusation of pride is downright laughable. It being “as good as not voting” also demonstrates: 1. A fundamental lack of understanding of how voting works and 2. A missing of the point of the metaphor entirely.

      My vote may not amount to much, but it’s going to the only chance we’ve got to stop abortion-on-demand from being enshrined in law for another 30 years.

      Have fun with that. Romney won’t do a damn thing about abortion. I expect that he would appoint “strict constructionists” who consider Roe to be “settled law,” just like our Republican appointed Chief Justice does.

    • My vote may not amount to much, but it’s going to the only chance we’ve got to stop abortion-on-demand from being enshrined in law for another 30 years.

      *horse laugh*

      That’s what they said in 2000, and that’s what they said in 2004. It’s all bulls***. When did we stop voting for Republicans because we agreed with their platform and start voting for them because they were only sickeningly evil instead of horrifyingly evil?

      • Marty Helgesen

        When the choice became voting for candidates who were sickeningly evil or voting for candidates who were horrifyingly evil. Obama is trying to force Catholic institutions to pay for abortions, and that’s only one of evil acts. I doubt very much that Romney would continue that policy.

    • Andy

      As I look at the republican party as a whole, not some individuals, I see a group that will not deal with abortion because it would cut into its ability to raise funds from persons who are opposed to abortion, and to rev up voter sentiment by saying we will overturn Roe v.Wade. Romeny in particular is concerned about money, and then money, and how to make sure that he and the other plutocrats can make more money. Abortion will not enhance the plutocratic business climate to any great extent, unless someone can convince the ruling class that having more babies means more cheap labor and then abortion becomes an issue. (my cynical view of p=our political class is showing through). The constant belief that the republicans are more moral because in their platform they write about stopping abortion is to am a mystery. How many times must people be disappointed, thrown overboard before they recognize that the politics of abortion is not about ending it – the politics is about using to stay in or gain power.

    • Now I kind of wish my name was Andy.

    • Michael

      “Your vote is being thrown down the sewer out of pride and is as good as not voting at all.”

      A vote for a non-intrinsically evil candidate is the only vote that is not being thrown down the sewer. How discouraging must it be to run as a third party candidate knowing that people will not vote for him no matter how much they may agree with him on the issues? Every vote for the lost cause registers for the future in encouraging not only others to not vote against their own morality, knowing they are not alone, but also encouraging potential future candidates to endure the difficulties of a campaign because support is growing and may someday be enough to actually make a difference.

    • Ted Seeber

      “My vote may not amount to much, but it’s going to the only chance we’ve got to stop abortion-on-demand from being enshrined in law for another 30 years.”

      Just like your vote for George W Bush did?

    • Steven Cornett

      Your vote is going into the coffers of the party that most supports intrinsic evil, but this is not because you support the third party.
      It is because of the mathematics of the First to the Post system of elections, which also practically guarantees the Two-Party shell game that carves out constituencies that they will then, as you note, abuse continually. The other part of it is that the party elects party puppets following consultants, which then guarantees rule by a few, or Oligarchy.

      The answer is that the system itself must be reformed because it has become a monster that will never serve our needs but will do the evil it’s creators designed it to do. The solution, as you pointed out with a Church institution that works in the same way, is to reform it if possible or break it up completely and build something else.

    • Rober S

      AGREED! ANY vote that is not for Romney, is a vote for Obama. Obama will appoint at least 2-3 more Supeme Court Justices, all of whom will share his Godless radical views. It is beyond comprehension, that any Christian would vote 3rd party, as it would Ensure 4 more years of intrinsic & destructive Evil!

  • John Newsham

    Mark, I am afraid I have to agree with Criser on this one –

  • Ellen

    Me too. I’ll hold my nose, vote, then go home to pray. But the one thing we have to do is to get The Won out of office.

    • Ted Seeber

      Else the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will go up in flames. Or was that the National Labor Relations Board?

      Did it ever occur to you that the Church has always been at Her Best in Times of Persecution?

  • No , Mark is quite right on this one, and it’s the first time his argument has made absolute sense to me. We matter. One individual doing a seemingly insignificant act for the sake of conscience and responsibility is an act of faith and trust in The Lord God. Jesus made this woman an example for all time of a startling juxtaposition of values . I’ve always felt a wee bit cynical about this gospel, like Jesus was making a point that didn’t really fly in the real world, regardless of how beneficial it was to the widow’s personal salvation. But Jesus certainly knew that a temple or a synagogue relied on the contributions of those he did not laud. Was he just making a pious observation ? Or revealing more about the hidden nature of the Kingdom, and the real power of the individual who relies completely on God once he or she has acted rightly? One person, following conscience, CAN GIVE MORE. Stop discouraging Mark from acting as his conscience dictates and urging others to form their consciences along the same lines. Unless he is advocating intrinsic evil, which he is not, you should let him act and preach the gospel according to his lights, and not oppose his efforts. He might add MORE in the same way the widow did.

  • bob cratchit

    Anyone who thinks that by tossing their mite into the Republican pot is going to have even a chance of stopping abortion is not fully reading the news or any commentary (beyond Foxnews). Vote however you wish but don’t snow yourselves on this issue. Hannity himself states often that abortion is not part of “the platform”.

  • At this point, I’m planning to use my vote for Goode. Virgil Goode, that is.

  • LV

    Mark, your “meaningless” vote is your own business, and given where you live, a protest vote might be the most effective use of it (though quite frankly, I find your disdain for the practical power of voting in general deeply disturbing).

    But that’s Mark Shea the *voter*.

    As Mark Shea the *blogger*, you’ve been engaged in an ongoing campaign to argue that it really doesn’t matter whether Obama or Romney wins the presidency–that they would both be equally bad, that neither is worthy of support, with your own third-party vote offered as an example for others to emulate.

    As a practical effect, given your readership, what you’re working to do is weaken Romney’s support among prospective voters, and thus make it more likely that President Obama is re-elected–and that is what is driving people like me up a wall.

    If you really do see this election as EvilA vs EvilAA, then perhaps that is an acceptable outcome for you.

    As for me, I do not, and it isn’t.

    • Kristen inDallas

      Or perhaps what he’s doing, as a practical effect, is strengthening the ability of Catholics to put their faith in God and vote their concscience. What would happen if everybody who loved God used the same standard for voting he is advocating? All the sudden, those 3rd party votes aren’t meaningless, not in the soul sense, but not in the practical sense either. If he really is as influential as you accuse him of being, why is it he could only weaken ROmney’s support and not give a third party candidate (or several) a chance in going somewhere?

      • Perhaps there are folks who love God but will use different standards.

        • Ted Seeber

          There most certainly are- but if we truly love God and Trust Him, why not place our Trust in Him instead of in some corrupt politician whose name will be only used for 4th Grade History tests in 100 years?

          • Because folks may not be ‘putting our trust in him/her’, they simply may be voting for a person for elected office to do the job, hopefully the best they can in line with our values. Voting for either major party does not negate trust in God, any more than voting for a third party candidate necessarily negates trust in God. Or not voting for that matter. And that goes for anyone not voting. Just because a person chooses not to vote does not mean they are automatically trusting in God more than a person pulling the lever for any politician.

            • Ted Seeber

              I can’t find a politician, in any party, that lines up with the values in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    • Mark Shea

      No. I haven’t. I have–umpteen times–said that I can empathize with the Sucks Less rational for voting for Romney. He does suck less. It’s just that people seldom stop there. Instead they try to argue that his less suckage is a positive good. They try to argue that the main mission is shutting up and supporting him, instead of making noise and pressuring him. In order to motivate themselves to vote for the purely negative “He sucks less” they start trying to motivate themselves with assertions that Romney is a real positive and wind up lying to themselves and punishing others for saying that Romney is a duplicitous liar with a moral center made of tofu who needs to be threatened within an inch of his political life not to betray us or face massive punishment and blowback. I have *never* said he and Obama are equivalent. I have have often acknowledged that Obama is an active enemy of the Church and of human life, while Romney is merely a cynical jerk who doesn’t care about us and only means to exploit us. If he can exploit us and benefit us, he will. But Obama has an ideological commitment to war on the Church that he will pursue even if it hurts him politically (as it has).

      • Steven Cornett

        A video on the differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on the issues they actually have a say on.
        Surprisingly enough, one has the record of doing the same things and supporting the same courses of action the other took. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself.

    • Ted Seeber

      “(though quite frankly, I find your disdain for the practical power of voting in general deeply disturbing)”

      Those who are never disturbed, never are given a chance at conversion to God.

  • The value of one vote is the value of one vote, but think about the contemplative side of Catholicism. Contemplation is to be in the present moment because that is where we find God. The past is gone and the future does not exist; there is ONLY now. In the present moment there is no time to build-up a more perfect (or less evil) third candidate that can actually win. In our one moment in the voting booth, we can only try to bring more good based on the candidates we have.

    • We spend uncounted moments when we aren’t in the voting booth talking about what we’re going to do in one moment in the voting booth. Imagine if we actually used those uncounted moment to accomplish something!

    • Phil Fox Rose

      As a contemplative, this is such an odd perversion of the concept or present moment awareness that I want to offer a correction for the sake of this great tradition. To the extent that it’s appropriate at all to bring up contemplative concepts in relation to something so secular, being in the present moment would suggest taking the right action regardless of the result, regardless of its likelihood of success (the future). In this context, voting your conscience is totally appropriate.

      • What is odd about bringing the most good you can with what you have in any given moment? This is all I’m really referring to.

        • Phil Fox Rose

          Ben, no offense intended, but I think what you’re describing is simply pragmatism, which is what what many are arguing for and it’s a legitimate argument. Why not make your vote as effective as possible by choosing the option you dislike less? I just don’t see that matching up with a contemplative understanding of present moment awareness, but if it works for you, that’s none of my business.

    • Ted Seeber

      Too bad I can’t see either one of these candidates bringing anything actually GOOD to the table. At all.

  • Agreed……………………..

  • Melanie

    I do not understand why anyone believes Romney will do anything for the pro-life movement and I’m pretty familiar with his track-record and his campaign rhetoric. Can anyone point to anything that can show me he’s gonna advance the pro-life cause? Please? Don’t keep spouting how he’s “our best hope” for unborn babies without backing it up with something of substance. I’m really open to hearing something new, so please bring it on.

    • Chris M

      I think the argument is that he will do less harm than Obama, not that he will do anything POSITIVE to end legal abortion in the US. It’s just that Obama is such a diehard proponent of unrestricted and taxpayer funded abortion that pretty much ANYONE else could be considered pro-life by comparison. (Not saying I necessarily agree, but that’s the argument I’m seeing put forth)

      • Melanie

        The irony is that we seem to hold only pro-choice Democrats accountable for their anti-life actions while turning a blind eye to Republicans who do all the same things in the name of “compromise” or as Rick Santorum said, “taking one for the team.” So I’m to believe that one is better than the other because they’re *saying* they’re pro-life while acting pro-choice?

        • Andy, Bad Person

          ^^^This. For the abortion debate, anyway, the status quo is evil. Any candidate who shrugs his shoulders and says, “I won’t even try to use my power to change the [evil] status quo” is not morally neutral. He has already taken a stand, and that is to stand by while babies are killed.

          • Melanie

            If my child were ill and I had choice between two doctors, one who had a history of killing his patients and was open about it doing it again, and another who had the same track record of killing his patients, but claimed he wouldn’t “this time,” I wouldn’t go to either. I’d do my best to find someone else – anyone else. One is evil and honest about his intentions and the other is evil and a liar. There’s no better choice here, my friend.

      • Ted Seeber

        Given that, my problem with Romney is that he isn’t pro-life by my definition of the term. He does NOT believe in protecting human life from conception until natural death regardless of cost.

        The real scary part is I don’t see ANY right-to-life group, save maybe the Pregnancy Resource Clinics and Unwed Mothers Homes, actually acting on this.

  • As always, I am both entertained and bemused by the proposition that Catholic and Enjoying It! is moving the needle on a presidential election.

    Treating the idea seriously for a moment, though: Shouldn’t Catholic advocates for Romney be more sanguine about Mark’s blogging? After all, each time Mark criticizes Romney, Romney advocates have yet another opportunity to reach the large numbers of undecided voters who come here for political guidance, and present to them the clear and convincing arguments that, to quote, “on life, marriage and religious liberty, Mitt Romney is immeasurably better than Barack Obama.” If, indeed, “the choice is clear,” then why wouldn’t every chance to explain why the choice is clear result in strengthening Romney’s support among prospective voters?

    • Mark Shea

      I’m also amazed at the allegedly awesome power this small blog is imagined to wield. It’s flattering, but a complete illusion.

    • A strange question. It could be that there is no clear reason to support Romney. It may be that there is a clear reason, and people simply won’t hear of it because they are loyal to this or that candidate. It’s been known to happen from time to time.

      • Ted Seeber

        Ok, what is your clear reason for supporting Romney? Opening it up to others, what is your clear reason for supporting Obama?

        Because right now, I see no clear reason for supporting the Constitution as it has been interpreted over the past 10 years or so; maybe the past 40. Let alone any politician.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I’m not sure that Dave G supports Romney. I’ve seen other posts where he’s stated he’s not sure what he’s doing yet, is considering third-party candidates, or something to that effect.

        • Ivan is correct. I’ve made no secret that Romney has pushed me toward considering no vote this year. Nonetheless, my point was that Mr. K seemed to assume more than needed assuming when it comes to why folks weren’t voting for Romney. One of the trends I notice is the notion that anyone supporting either major party must be some mindless tribalist hack, but those who support alternative candidates are simply following the logical choice of all people of good will who love Jesus. I merely pointed out that some who resist either major party could be just the same mindless non-party loyalists who are as stiff necked as those who clearly support either major party without thought.

          • My questions were explicitly directed at “Catholic advocates for Romney” who are unhappy with Mark’s criticisms of their candidate to an audience of undecided voters.

            If there is a good argument for Catholic support of Romney, then each time Mark criticizes Romney is an opportunity to make that good argument to undecided voters. Making good arguments for your candidate to undecided voters ought to help your candidate.

            If the argument for Catholic support of Romney isn’t so good, then maybe the problem is with Romney, not with Shea.

  • HBanan

    Again, for whom are you voting?

    There are numerous 3rd party candidates with parties and platforms, and there are numerous possibilities for a write-in.

    If you think the most moral thing we can all do this election is to vote for someone who is not Obama or Romney, why are you not praising this person to the skies? I liked how you advocated for Ron Paul in the primaries, but now he’s out of the running. Why are you saying, at least once a day, that it is more virtuous to “vote 3rd party,” but then not talking about a specific person you would love to see in the White House? I suspect it is because, once you start looking at a specific person, we will see that he too is flawed. Maybe he’s in line with Church teaching, but would be an incompetent president. Maybe he just isn’t running, so no one is likely to join you in voting for him. I don’t know. But until you start actually advocating for a candidate, I am not going to consider changing my vote for Romney, because, while Romney is not inspirational, neither is just a generic “3rd party.” I can’t check off “3rd party” or write in “Someone Else, Anyone Else,” and think that I am doing some moral act. If we are to do a big write-in protest, it will be a lot more effective if we all write in the same person.

    Currently, I am planning to vote for Romney. I could be persuaded to change my mind. It can’t be to the pro-choice Green Party or the pro-choice Libertarian Party (Gary Johnson is the candidate, not Ron Paul). You seem passionate about trying to get me and your other readers to join you in a protest vote, so please get specific.

    • Kristen inDallas

      I applaud Mark for not wanting to turn his blog into a political campaign for one particular person. There are lots of folks running, most of whom would be preferable to our “only 2 options.” It’s shooting fish in a barrel in my opinion. Yeah some seem better choices than others but I feel I would need further research to officially endorse one. But many third party candidates (even Green) are at least either opposed to abortion OR opposed to droning up innocent teenagers and calling them “terrorists” OR opposed to torture. Most third party candidates are promising to try to end government enabling of at least one of those three evils. The two major players (despite their pretty words) have a clear history of actions demonstrating they’re both okay with all three.

      • Kristen inDallas

        And for what it’s worth, my two cents on a few of the other options:
        Tom Hoefling – Nails it on abortion and national debt, but seems a bit over zealous re. border control and the idolotry of guns.
        Virgil Goode – May not make the best neighbor to the rest of the world but clearly opposes abortion and favors a balanced budget.
        Jill Stein – Strongly disagree re. women’s issues. Has good principles re. education and environmental sewardship even though I disagree with the efficacy of the methods. At least environmental stewardship and health spending will be offset by huge cuts in DOD spending.
        Rocky Anderson – Disagree with him about Labor unions and women’s issues (there’s no official endorsement of abortion but it’s pretty clear where he stands), but he seems to get it re. amnesty, the death sentence and torture.
        Gary Johnson – More reasonable (and less unconstitutional) health reforn, though still pro-choice. Pledges to end unjust wars and reform spending. Immigration and Foriegn policy points seem humane and reasonable.
        Andre Barnett – not on the ballot in as many places, but he is in TX. No party positions on “social issues” including abortion, but personal values imply that he would at least be against govt. mandated financial support. Reasonable positions re healthcare and tax reform. Favors more support for military personel but less forien presence and occupation of hostile nations.

        Sorry I’m not including much on any party with socialist/socialism in the name or the one with Rosanne Barr. You can look those up yourself if interested.

        • Ted Seeber

          Right now, TH is my favorite write in and VG is my favorite check the box candidate. I probably will NOT decide between them until I vote.

  • c matt

    I have no doubt that this is the election of the lesser of two evils. I also have very little doubt the Romney is the lesser evil (how much less is debatable). On the one hand, I am very disposed to Mark’s position to vote third party (or not at all). On the other, I look to the somewhat similar quandary a legislator may find himself when voting on a piece of evil legislation, let’s say a bill that would outlaw late term abortions, but not outlaw all abortions. It is still “evil” in the sense that it still allows abortion, but it changes the status quo in a positive direction. And either this legislation will pass and restrict abortion somewhat, or it will fail and abortion will go on unrestricted. Is it morally permissible for the legislator to vote for the restriction? I think it is, but would welcome any correction.

    Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Romney is the “lesser” evil (or at least you believe so in good faith), and assuming, for the sake of argument, either Romney or O will be elected, how does your voting for Romney differ from the legislator voting for a restriction (but not elimination) of abortion?

  • Sherry

    Here you go…Romney may be indifferent to the unborn and view pro-life as a matter of political expediency –getting elected…but people who care passionately about this, don’t. Obama affirmatively aggressively passionately is in favor of all abortion all the time 24-7 to nine months and beyond if you follow his state legistlature voting record. So do I want to fight to persuade/cajole/shame/ push with the guy is is at best passively indifferent, or with the one who is vehimently opposed to the values we cherish…it’s not perfect, but it is rather simple. You vote and then you recognize the vote is the starting, not the end point of the discussion. That, or we need our modern day Saul to become Paul. I’d be joyous either way.

    • Melanie

      You have a point if pro-lifers were willing to “fight to persuade/cajole/shame/push.” But it’s obvious that they’re the most politically submissive voters on the planet if the Republican Party thought the could get away with thrusting Romney into the presidential candidacy. If we really pushed, we wouldn’t have gotten what we got. Heck, now that Romney is the running, pro-lifers are holding their tongues like crazy. Where’s all the pushing???? Don’t ya think Romney needs a push? Like, we’re so pathetic we can’t demand he take a strong stand NOW before the election in order to win our votes?

      The same with Bush. Only those pro-lifers with any sense of integrity will dare bring up Plan B. He’s not even in office and we still guard his “pr0-life legacy” like idiots and we have nothing political to gain from it. I think we’ve all been used and we just don’t want to face it.

      • Don’t be so hard on people who buck the pro-choice narrative of our nation. It isn’t always easy to run the gauntlet. Same with Politicians. We want them to be more passionately pro-life? Fine. Putting pressure on them would be one way. But also supporting them, and not doing the circular firing squad whenever they fall short. I don’t mean laying down or bending over and taking it when it’s clear they’re trying to ditch us like an old shoe. I mean letting them know that we expect much, but we will be there to support them as well. Personally, I find the pro-life/real conservative movement to be short on both sides. And that doesn’t help when anyone who runs afoul of pro-choice values is going to be body-slammed in our media culture.

        Why don’t we get better pro-life candidates? My guess is because anyone taking a strong stand on life issues can bet on two things: 1. a reaming by the vendors of public information in our society, and 2. a swift stab in the back or kick in the ass as soon as they drop the ball even once from the pro-lifers they are representing. Cutting down on one of those could only help.

  • c matt

    “He’s ‘our best hope’ for unborn babies” does not mean he is a good hope, it only means he is a better hope than O.

    • Melanie

      Um, could you back up your statement with something concrete? He’s better based on what?

      • Better because he’s not an enthusiastic proponent of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand without apology, unlike Obama. Better because he does not support the HHS mandate, unlike Obama. And better because he has an authentically Catholic VP – unlike Obama. And better because he actually seems to believe in the tenets of his professed faith, unlike Obama.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “And better because he has an authentically Catholic VP – unlike Obama.” Could you direct me to the agency or person responsible for determining who is and who is not authentically Catholic?

          • Sure. His name is Benedict XVI, and he lives at the Vatican.

            • ivan_the_mad

              Ah. Then could you link me to the proclamation where he declared Ryan to be an authentic Catholic, and Biden not so much?

        • Melanie

          Wow, who is this guy you’re talking about? Are you talking about someone else? I’m confused. I thought we were discussing Romney, the guy who inspired HHS and advised the creation, who hasn’t committed to overturning it (duh!), who forced Catholic hospitals in MA to provide Plan B, who has been outspoken about preserving Roe V. Wade, who recently had a Plan B manufacturer host a huge fundraiser for him (just one of his good friends). Shall I go on? Really?

          And if you buy his line that he was overwhelmed with liberals in Mass., read this:

          It was the Romney administration who forced Catholic hospitals to betray their values. Not the libs.

        • Ted Seeber

          1. “Better because he’s not an enthusiastic proponent of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand without apology, unlike Obama. ”

          Uh, no. Everything Obama’s done, he’s done as governor of Massachusettes.

          2. “Better because he does not support the HHS mandate, unlike Obama. ”

          Uh, no, he was given a chance to oppose it and he refused to.

          3. “And better because he has an authentically Catholic VP – unlike Obama.”

          Third strike and you’re out. Ryan is anything but authentically Catholic from a truly orthodox point of view. He’s coming along, but I think he’s got about 4000 paragraphs of reading left in the CCC to counteract his Randian Atheist Tendencies.

          But tell you what, since this is politics, not baseball, I’ll give you a chance to see if you can pull this out with a walk.

          “And better because he actually seems to believe in the tenets of his professed faith, unlike Obama.”

          Nope. You see, like Catholics, Mormons who actually believe in the tents of their faith are POOR. Not because they don’t earn the money to begin with, but because they give it all away instead of saving it (or alternatively, invest it in tangibles, as one Mormon survivalist used to put it when explaining to me why he had no IRA, but proudly had 20 years worth of preserved food in his pantry).

            • Melanie

              Listen, I cannot know that Ryan is lying. He may really believe that. And later, when Romney does not change the mandate (or changes it in an insignificant manner), Ryan can continue to have a political career supported by Conservatives and Catholics by distancing him from that decision. I hate to break it to you, but this is done all the time. Notice how Romney is increasingly silent on the matter. I wish that people still believed in actions speaking louder than words. I point to the actions and you point to his words while ignoring his actions. I mean, Romney’s actions don’t even warrant the tiniest bit of examination?

            • Ted Seeber

              Ryan is covering. The point is, Romney was asked point blank if he would rescind the mandate, and he changed the subject. I want to hear it from *Romney* not Mr “Aquinas agrees with Ayn Rand”.

          • Re: Romney’s Mormonism, you missed my point by a mile. I agree that Mormonism does not (by a long shot) contain the fullness of truth, whatever tiny elements it may possess. However, Romney, unlike Obama and Biden, has integrity enough to live out the tenets of the faith he professes. Obama professes Christianity but his public beliefs and actions are not Christian. Biden professes Catholicism but his public beliefs and actions are not Catholic. Romney professes Mormonism, and, to my knowledge, his public beliefs and actions reflect his faith.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Crap on a Cracker!!! Feel free to delete this, Mark, but I can’t keep silent…

              Ted didnt say ANYTHING about Mormonism’s truth, full or not.

              He addressed your actual claim, that Romney actually lives out Mormonism in his public life.

              And he explained to you in an extraordinarily patient way why you are wrong. Mitt Romney’s bank account is ALL anybody familiar with Mormonism needs to see in order to understand he doesn’t believe a lick of it. If he were a believing Mormon, he’d have a LOT less money than he does, and this country would have so many fields growing so much food stuffing so many food banks that it would truly boggle your mind.

              Mormonism doesn’t possess the fullness of truth, as Catholics, we know this. Sadly, Joanna, it is OBVIOUS that this is the extent of your particular knowledge of Mormonism. Go meet some serious, practising Mormons, spend some time with them, see how they dispose of their time, talent, and treasure. Ask them why they do it the way they do.

              Then you’ll see just how unbelievably deluded that post was.

            • Ted Seeber

              I said nothing about the fullness of truth. I compared the duties of a Mormon Priest and Bishop towards the Value of Charity with Romney’s bank account. You claimed that Romney lives out the tenents of his faith- If so, instead of Bain Capital, he should be running the largest chain of Bishop’s Pantry’s (the Mormon equivalent of St. Vincent De Paul Food Banks- kind of like a Costco where there are no checkout stands and the membership card is handed out personally by the Bishop) on the East Coast.

              The funny thing, is if he actually did this, under the Philadelphia Nun’s Loophole his federal taxes would be 0.

              • Ted Seeber

                Er, Virtue of Charity. It’s Friday.

                But the point stands. Excessive Wealth is incompatible with the Virtue of Charity in this world.

          • As for abortion in RomneyCare, see here:

            Is Romney perfect? No, not by a long shot. I supported Santorum prior to the primary. But comparatively, he’s better than Obama.


            “9. What if none of the candidates are completely pro-life?

            As Pope John Paul II explains in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), “…when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.” Logically, it follows from these words of the Pope that a voter may likewise vote for that candidate who will most likely limit the evils of abortion or any other moral evil at issue.

            10. What if one leading candidate is anti-abortion except in the cases of rape or incest, another leading candidate is completely pro-abortion, and a trailing candidate, not likely to win, is completely anti-abortion. Would I be obliged to vote for the candidate not likely to win?

            In such a case, the Catholic voter may clearly choose to vote for the candidate not likely to win. In addition, the Catholic voter may assess that voting for that candidate might only benefit the completely pro-abortion candidate, and, precisely for the purpose of curtailing the evil of abortion, decide to vote for the leading candidate that is anti-abortion but not perfectly so. This decision would be in keeping with the words of the Pope quoted in question 8 above.”


            • Ted Seeber

              But there *are* Candidates who are completely pro-life. Virgil Goode was mentioned above, as was Tom Hoefling.

  • c matt

    A fair amount of folks seem to be talking about Virgil Goode as the pro-life 3rd party candidate (Constitution party).

    • Ted Seeber

      Yeah, but as a Catholic who believes how we treat refugees counts as protecting “human life from conception until natural death” that aren’t American Citizens, even Virgil is a candidate I’m holding my nose to vote for.

  • I’ve become convinced that the only way to stop crooked-business-as-usual in Washington is to get to the point where a significant chunk of voters aren’t buying into the D vs. R game any more. As long as they can continue to keep us on the hook by offering candidates that are, as Mark says, “25% less evil than the other brand!”, then we’re sunk.

    I think you’re right that Romney is no worse than other candidates we’ve had for the last 25 years or so, but I just refuse to buy into the game any more. Part of the game is to make sure the status quo never changes.

    Abortion is a nice polarizing issue that gets people to come out and vote, while not much ever changes. I contend that Republicans could have EASILY (yes, EASILY) gotten Roe vs. Wade overturned by now, if that were really a priority for them. After Roe v. Wade, the GOP appointed the first six judges and eight out of ten (now eight of twelve after Obummer’s two appointments) They could have passed a law like the Sanctity of Life Act too, when they had control of all branches.

    • vickie

      Or at least used their bully pulpts to say loudly that is wrong. That women, we want to help you to make the only good choice – Please don’t kill your babies. If they really believe the death of thousands of Americans is a most sorrowful and outrageous tragedy, why are they so silent about it. Maybe you can’t out law it, but public official maybe have a bigger impact by speaking out.

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    It’s Joe Schriner for me, just like four years ago.

  • What about a food analogy? We are starving and I must vote on what food we can receive. Food A is mostly rotten (say 75%), food B is about half rotten (say 50%), and food C is pure. Food A and B can be easily delivered by local suppliers. Food C is located in a distant land and there is no way to bring the food in time. Where will your vote go? Should you vote at all?

    • Kristen inDallas

      yeah but food C is actually located in a distant land. It’s on the menu right here. The only catch is that you have to convince a majority of your friends to vote for food C otherwise you *might* get stuck with food A, or maybe you’ll still get Food B, who knows? Wouldn’t you at least TRY to get food C?

      • Kristen inDallas

        sorry, I meant *NOT* actually located in a distant land.

        • Part of this analogy is a time limit. Maybe we tried to get food C much earlier, but could not do it. Of course we still want food C, but we also know there is no way to get it in time (election is less than 6 weeks away). On Election Day there will be no time left at all.

    • ivan_the_mad

      You know, there was this Guy, who said “My kingdom is not of this world” …

  • Melanie

    “Food C is located in a distant land and there is no way to bring the food in time.”

    And that is the lie we keep believing and why we feel we must eat rotten food. Keep accepting rotten food, and they will keep it coming.

    • It’s not a lie. When you are out of time, you are out of time. At the decision point (Election Day) it will A or B or C or you do not vote.

  • Marthe Lépine

    “But she mattered and even her tiniest choices mattered to God because she mattered. You and your seemingly insignificant vote matter too.” Since I am not a US Citizen, I did not read all the comments above because this election does not concern me. However I was struck by those two sentences. What if… a seemingly insignificant vote could be seen as a kind of prayer. A prayer that is in no way insignificant to God. By voting according to our conscience, we might be starting some kind of “movement of the Holy Spirit” who can take our actions and bring them together and in some way bring change that any one of us, acting individually, could never have foreseen… Maybe I am not making any sense, but what I am trying to do is to express with insufficient words the beginning of a thought that seems to be coming to me.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Another try at expressing this: Maybe a vote according to my conscience could in some way be like a “leap of faith”…

  • Max

    Contrary to popular belief, a vote for Gary Johnson simply does this:

    Obama- 0, Romney- 0, Johnson- 1

    • Andy, Bad Person

      So you’re saying you secretly support Obama?

      I knew it. Commie.

  • I think that those of us who might be inclined to vote for a third candidate ought to do a write-in campaign for Pope Benedict XVI. Originally, I thought why not Cardinal Dolan, but that would needlessly put him behind an eight ball and open to accusations of being a “spoiler”. But anybody who writes in Pope Benedict XVI would be sending a clear message that the concerns and values of Catholicism are important. That would fly.

    • Mark Hartman

      A vote for an ineligible candidate at best is not counted, and at worst spoils your entire ballot. Nice thought, but bad idea.

  • obpoet

    I used the analogy of blood donation a few days ago. One unit of blood means nothing to a trauma victim needing 10, so do not donate blood. A few days later the tithing analogy hit me. The Church needs millions, my few paltry cents mean nothing, so do not give. They will do more good in my own pocket.

    The truth is, your vote, your blood, your tithe, they all count. No matter how small, they count.

  • Marie E

    Either Obama or Romney will win. I understand your decision not to vote for either because of their deviation from Catholic principles. But one or the other will win, and I think it is a case of the lesser bad. I wonder (and I ask this sincerely, not in a snarky way) if you can think of any political leader of any kind in history for whom you would have voted. (that is, someone who actually did lead, not someone who was inspirational but did not actually ever run a country)

    • Ted Seeber

      Fr. Michael J. McGivney.