October 30, 2012

Your Vote.

Posted in Life Lessons tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:04 pm by openendedcomment

I am a Catholic Republican and that is why I will Vote No on the ballot initiative limiting the definition of marriage in Minnesota as one man and one woman.  Please allow me to explain.  To be clear, I am more of a  Republican-leaning Independent than straight line Republican and I do not agree with every single line of the Republican platform, case in point, but in general I’m more right than left and it is fair to categorize me as a conservative.  I believe in the rights of the individual.  I believe that the government needs to limit its role in the lives of our citizens.  I believe in the separation of Church and State.  I also believe that the money spent on this insane campaign (in my mind it is insane to argue amending the State Constitution based on fear-mongering to allow for legislated prejudice) would and should be better spent re-educating out of work Minnesotans, funding school programs or feeding and clothing those in need.

I am a Catholic.  I do not believe in every line of Catholic doctrine, but I believe strongly that it is the leaders of the Church and not the Religion that is against same-sex marriage.  Further, even if I did agree with the Church’s stance on this issue, because of my belief in the separation of Church and State I would still be compelled to vote No.  Further still, as a Catholic I am compelled to vote my conscience. That is part of the Catholic doctrine and it is clear that regardless of the stance of the Church as a Catholic your conscience, the holy spirit within, is paramount to all else.  My conscience has no room for doubt on this issue.  Many Priests, Nuns and Catholic leaders agree with me.  Limiting love and legislating prejudice thereby limiting progress and unity, in my mind and in my heart,  is wrong on every level.  My conscience also tells me that the funds of the church could and should also be better spent re-educating out of work Catholics, funding school programs or feeding and clothing those in need.

I feel the need to state these things because it appears as of late that many people assume that because I do vote Republican more often than not and because I do cross myself before prayer and at my son’s games that I am somehow automatically in the “Yes” column.  I’m not.  I can be a conservative who believes in equal rights.  I can be a religious person who feels bigotry is wrong.

And I am.   And I’m writing this to all of you who are Republican and/or Religious.  I’m writing in the hopes that you’ll examine your conscience.  That you will pause before you enter that voting booth be it in Minnesota or any other state with similar legislation pending.  I ask that you think about it, no matter what the lawn sign on your yard may say or what your friends may think you feel.  Consider seriously if this is something you agree with because your party or your preacher told you to or if in your heart and in your mind with utter clarity you feel it is right and good and legal to limit the rights of others simply because it isn’t your personal preference.  I ask you to answer not to your congregation or social circle, I know the pressure they can bring, but answer only yourself and your moral code.  You are the only person in that booth.  Your vote is your own as is your legacy.  Please, on November sixth, be sure it is one you will be right with in the decades to come.

One last thing and it’s something I’ve never done on here before nor do I anticipte ever doing again.  I’m going to ask you to share this.  Add to it, comment, whatever…but get the conversation out there.  There are only a few days left and the margin on this is razor thin.  If you aren’t inclined to share this exact post then please, find something else that hits closer to home for you and put that out there.  This is a big deal.  These are people’s lives we are voting on.  There are no higher stakes.

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6 Comments »

  1. Serving said,

    So you are Catholic only as long as YOU agree with the verses? I didn’t think it was possible to pick and choose whch verses you could follow or not follow. Your morals and conscience are more important than what is written in scripture? That ought to be an interesting one to try and explain on judgement day!! 1 Cor 6:9 – 10, 1 Tim 1:8 – 10
    And by the way….you are not alone in the booth.

    • I hope you read enough to understand that this isn’t about Catholics only. It applies to many religions and to those with no religion. It is clear in Catholic Doctrine that your conscience and free will are paramount; that it not only should but must be your ultimate guide. This is a cornerstone of the Church. There are divorced Catholics, Catholics who have had abortions, Catholics who feel women should priests…the list goes on. To claim that unless you agree with and follow each opinion of the Church you are not a member of the Church would eliminate millions (including many Priests and Nuns, hundreds who led a rally in Seattle recently in support of same sex marriage legislation recognizing this is a legal issue on the ballot, not a religious one and therefore had no place on a ballot) and be antithetical to the core teachings of acceptance and free will. I don’t mind if you don’t agree with me, I actually encourage it as I believe that the only way things change in society is through open discussion, that’s why even though I categorically disagree with you I approved your comment to be visable. The point is not to state anyone is wrong for their own thoughts/feelings on the issue or to presume to tell others how to vote, but rather to encourage all to examine their personal feelings from an objective place as opposed to a mandate. It appears clear that you have done that and hold a strong opinion. So be it. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. Serving said,

    That is very interesting. I do not know much about the Catholic belief system, but “your conscience and free will are paramount; that it not only should but must be your ultimate guide”. Is that listed in scripture somewhere?? I like to rely on Proverbs 28:26 where it clearly states trusting in your own heart is foolish. Thats why we are given the scripture so even though we feel someone should have the “freedom” to marry the same sex, we have can reference the ultimate guide.

    “To claim that unless you agree with and follow each opinion of the Church you are not a member of the Church would eliminate millions (including many Priests and Nuns, hundreds who led a rally in Seattle recently in support of same sex marriage legislation recognizing this is a legal issue on the ballot, not a religious one and therefore had no place on a ballot) and be antithetical to the core teachings of acceptance and free will.”
    I’m not sure what is required to be a “member” , but blatently ignoring the scriptures yet accepting the ones that seem to fit our needs seems selfish. In Matthew 7:13- 15 Jesus clearly states that only a few will find the correct path and beware of false prophets. Is the correct path to follow my or others “free will” or should I follow what Jesus said??

    “The point is not to state anyone is wrong for their own thoughts/feelings on the issue or to presume to tell others how to vote, but rather to encourage all to examine their personal feelings from an objective place….”
    What objective place should someone use to examine their own personal feelings? I am not here to tell anyone their thoughts and feelings are wrong, but do people really rely on their own personal experiences vs what Jesus tells us?

    • The obligation to follow your conscience and the staatement that no person should be forced to act or vote contrary to their conscience is a Catechism. In the Catholic Religion we are taught that our conscience is developed and led by the Holy Spirit, one part of the Trinity. I know you don’t agree with this, but again, you don’t have to: Jesus taught LOVE above all else. No, follwing a conscience that teaches to harm is not what free will means, it’s not that simple. You can’t kill, rape, lie, cheat or steal because you think it’s OK. (the Ten commandments stand but name a Christian that hasn’t broken at least one), examining your conscience as to what is right and wrong…that is the definition of free will according to the Church. As far as judgement day goes: I know without any doubt that as long as I do my best to be a good person, to help others and to recognize my faults while striving to do better I will be fine. And while I respect that your opinion on the vote is founded in your beliefs which you obviously hold dear, the argument to deny others the right to love and family because Jesus said so actually supports my point that this is a religious issue being legislated and that is not Constitutional. Any way you slice it, legislating religion is anti-thetical to the Constitution of the United States. We are free to pracice our Religion and are free from persecution from religion. It is because you are a religious man I would think the idea of our government or any government legislating religion should scare the crap out of you. What if in 50 years a different religion were to be the majority in America? Would you want your children to be forced to abide by their beliefs in all areas of life? Do you support other countries ruled by religious leaders that today suppress Christians? What about those our Grandfathers fought against that legislated religion? I am sure they are and were no less solid in their beliefs than you are in yours. You don’t have to like the ammendment, you don’t have to agree that Jesus says same sex maarrige is OK, you don’t have to be OK with any of it…and that’s the beauty of this country. You don’t have to. You are free to live your beleifs and others are free to live theirs. And again, I’m not arguing what you or anyone else thinks jesus or God or Alah or their neighbor believes to be true or right. I’m asking that voters really think about their own beleifs while explaining why I have mine, nothing more. I can’t beleive that knowing you you’d support people voting based solely on what someone told them to think on either side of a ballot. BTW, been too long since I’ve seen you. Hope all is well.

  3. Serving said,

    You stated:
    “In the Catholic Religion we are taught that our conscience is developed and led by the Holy Spirit, one part of the Trinity.” I’m sure the Holy Spirit wouldn’t lead anyone’s conscience astray and forget the verses about same sex. Why do you suppose people’s trained conscience choose to ignore those scriptures and vote against what is written?

    The conscience is like a clock. It can direct properly or improperly depending on how it is set. If your conscience is “set” by Scripture, it will be like a well set clock. If it not set by Scripture, it will consistently be wrong, just like a clock set 2 hours behind. Surely you can see how conscience has directed many people in many directions. Conscience has compelled people to commit acts of terror in the name of what they believed “right.” Even Paul while persecuting Christians did so in good conscience. Though he was sincere, he was sincerely wrong. Many believe their conscience is guided directly by the Holy Spirit. This is nowhere in Scripture. Additionally how does one reconcile two different opinions of two different people claiming to act via conscience directed by the same Holy Spirit? Who is right?

    I think we could go back and forth for days with me quoting scripture directly from the Bible and you relaying to me what “someone told you” during Catechism, but you are correct this is not a debate on religous beliefs….and I understand the line of argumentation. However, there is a flaw.

    Governments have and always will legislate morality. Can you think of any law that is not based on some moral code? Laws against killing are backed up by moral codes. Laws against stealing are as well. Therefore, when I have opportunity to sway the laws of the land in a Godly direction I will. Because if I don’t others will push the other direction. Let’s say a no vote goes through. Nothing changes right now, BUT it leaves the door open for gay marriage. Once this happens, it will get in the school system. Children will learn from day 1 that marriage is for 2 people, regardless of gender who love each other. Once homosexual relationships are legitimized in the school system, people will lose the aversion to it. Speech against homosexuality is already criminalized in some areas. If we do not resist, it will continue.

    To answer your question about laws opposing my religion…opposing homosexuality, is not imposing a system of religion like “Islam” or “Christianity” on the masses. It is simply opposing something that God deems, and I believe is wrong. If you can’t do that, why are there laws against polygamy? Laws against incest? Laws against drug use? Laws against ANYTHING?

    And yes, it has been a while…..next time your in my neck of the woods shoot me an email or call and we will catch up. I will look forward to the invite.

  4. I agree we could go back and forth forever…the larger flaw (in my opinion) is that in legislating morality a government is legislating the chosen morality of the political powerful, not of the society as a whole. There are a myriad of examples of this adn that is exactly why we do not legislate (in America) the morality ofa r eligious group as opposed to “general” morality (i.e. murder, rape, theft) The statistics do not lie and the vast majority of Americns do *not* beleive homosexuality to be “wrong” as you state here. it is true that the voting majority in the states where it has been put to ballot this far no not supoprt same sex marraige…but that is not the same thing as negating an entire segment of society as “wrong” And I am going to state that though I respect your deep beleif I am not going to continue arguring/debating the “right” or “wrong” of the way a person is born. I know a I know there is air and sea and one God that a person is born gay. It is not a decision and therefore not wrong.


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