Sunday, October 31, 2004
Well, Rick, with his usual acuity, caught me in a bit of hyperbole, as I tried to state the dilemma that this election poses for Catholics. It is true that Kerry is not necessarily the poster boy for Catholic social teaching , and that re some issues he may not be much better than Bush (capital punishment?) But it is hard to see that he could be much worse than Bush. Rick's question for me raises an even more fundamental question for my friends among Catholic progressives. So far, everyone has been debating whether it is permissable to vote for someone with a record like Kerry's on abortion because Bush's record on other issues central to Catholic moral and social teaching is unacceptable. We've aired the arguments pro and con pretty thoroughly on that threshold question. Lat's assume, just for the sake of argument, that it is legitimate to ignore the abortion issue because the other harms are proportionately greater. Have those who would vote for Kerry on that basis in fact made the case that Bush's offenses to Catholic values are proportionately greater? I think they have, and there certainly have been references in MOJ posts and elsewhere to the ways in which Bush has offended, but I'm not sure I have yet seen the comprehensive case made in detail. There is a lot to talk about here (just war, capital punishment, economic policy and poverty, human rights, and more), so consider this an invitation to weigh in. This is an invitation, however, not just to a list of Bush's failures or wrongs, but to an explanation of them as failures or wrongs explicity in terms of Catholic moral and social teaching.