Tuesday, June 05, 2007

While We're Doing Litmus Tests ...

... let's make a game out of it, shall we? Bishop Tobin says he can't suport a pro-choice candidate, whose position is a "defection" from Roman Catholic teaching.

So let's ask ourselves: For whom should a party-line Romanist vote in 2008? That is, if they want a candidate whose life and policies will both reflect the Church's values and teachings? (Click the link to compare their positions.)

Let's establish some basic criteria. Rome is loudly and publicly opposed to both abortion and capital punishment, so the winning candidate must also oppose both. That eliminates most Democrats on one count, and most Republicans on the other. (To his credit, Sam Brownback admits to being "conflicted" about the death penalty, but he nonethless supports its use in some cases. See Bishop Tobin's comments, below, regarding Pilate). At this point, Ron Paul may be the last man standing.

Rome supports the Ten Commandments, including the prohibition against adultery, which it interprets as also prohibiting remarriage. This knocks out McCain, Giuliani (repeatedly), Gingrich and Delay. Probably a bunch more, too.

But Rome also favors the just-war theory, which specifically prohibits pre-emptive warfare; and in fact, John Paul II publicly denounced the Iraq invasion as immoral. So the winning candidate must have, at a minimum, failed to support the 2003 attack. (Ideally, he or she will have publicly opposed it, as did the Pope and millions of protesters all over the world). This eliminates most Republicans, as well as Clinton and Edwards.

Now, those are the most readily-defined issues. And they already leave us without one clear candidate for our sisters and brothers of the Roman persuasion. But if we take into account the Roman Catholic social teachings on justice for the poor, and especially immigration, things get even murkier. We need a candidate who is either faithful in marriage or celibate in singleness; who opposed Iraq and votes against capital punishment; with a track record of support for programs that aid the poor and protect the rights of immigrants. (This is where Ron Paul hits the theological skids. Up to here, Nancy Pelosi would be ideal; sadly, of course, she is a defector on the question of abortion.)

Well, readers, good luck to you all, as you enter play the Candidate Game. And good luck to Bishop Tobin, as he searches for a candidate. Please write if you find the Magic Contestant. And if, by election day 2008, you still haven't found one, then let me propose something else: not using religious doctrine as a litmus test for electoral poitics.

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