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Catholic voter guide lists no names but targets Kerry, social liberals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Though it does not mention either presidential candidate by name, a Catholic voter guide being run in newspapers across the country offers frank advice on how devoted Catholics are expected to vote in the upcoming election, clearly targeting Democratic nominee John Kerry and other socially liberal Catholic politicians.

While Kerry is Catholic, he has taken positions that are opposed to the church’s teachings.

The ad, sponsored by Catholic Answers, ran in USA Today Oct. 12 and listed five “non-negotiable” moral issues that should guide how a Catholic votes — abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual “marriage.” Catholics, the ad stated, should vote for candidates who stand firmly against all five.

“Do not vote for candidates simply because they declare themselves to be Catholic,” the ad says. “Unfortunately, many self-described Catholic candidates reject basic Catholic moral teaching.”

Kerry is pro-choice, supports embryonic stem cell research and opposes a constitutional marriage amendment.

Readers are encouraged to help distribute the guide by purchasing it as a pamphlet in bulk or donating to the national advertising project, according to the ad, which can be found online at www.catholic.com.

“This voter’s guide helps you cast your vote in an informed manner consistent with Catholic moral teaching,” the guide says. “It helps you avoid choosing candidates who endorse policies that cannot be reconciled with moral norms that used to be held by all Christians.”

A large headline above the ad reads, “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics.”

“You should avoid to the greatest extent possible voting for candidates who endorse or promote intrinsically evil policies,” the guide says. “As far as possible, you should vote for those who promote policies in line with the moral law.”

When all of the candidates for a particular office endorse morally harmful policies, citizens must vote in a way that will limit the harm likely to be done, the guide adds.

Regarding abortion, the voter guide notes that the practice “is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.” Even if a child is conceived through rape or incest, the guide says, the innocent life should not suffer death.

Euthanasia, the guide says, is also “homicide.”

“No person has the right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person,” it states.

Concerning embryonic stem cell research, the guide says, “Human embryos are human beings.” It adds that “there is no valid medical argument in favor of using embryonic stem cells,” and even if such arguments existed, “they would not justify destroying innocent embryonic humans.”

The voter guide notes that “human cloning also involves abortion because the ‘rejected’ or ‘unsuccessful’ embryonic clones are destroyed.” Human cloning is “contrary to the moral law” because it stands in opposition to procreation, the guide says.

The guide takes a firm stance against same-sex “marriage.”

“True marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” the voter guide says. “Legal recognition of any other union as ‘marriage’ undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.”

Catholic politicians must stand for morality, the guide says.

“No candidate who really wants to advance the common good will support any action contrary to the non-negotiable principles involved in these issues,” the guide says of the five key moral non-negotiables.

Under a heading called “How Not to Vote,” the Catholic voter guide says first, “Do not vote based on your political party affiliation,” noting that in previous years that may have been a trustworthy practice but today it is “not reliable.”

The guide urges Catholics to vote for values issues over pocketbook issues.

“Make your decision based on which candidates seem most likely to promote the common good, even if you will not benefit directly or immediately from the legislation they propose,” the guide says.

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has made a similar argument in its iVoteValues campaign, a voter awareness and registration effort to encourage voters to consider their values, not their pocketbooks, when voting. Developed by the ERLC, it is also being promoted by Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. The groups have set up two websites — iVoteValues.com and iVoteValues.org — where voters and churches can acquire election resources.

The ERLC has also partnered with Baptist Press to produce the 2004 issue of the Political Party Platform Comparison resource, the latest element of the iVoteValues.com initiative. The eight-page resource, which includes a side-by-side, straight-up comparison of the two major parties’ platforms on a wide range of topics, is a nonpartisan glimpse at what each party believes.

The platform comparison can be ordered by visiting www.iVoteValues.com or by calling 1-800-475-9127.

    About the Author

  • Erin Curry