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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  October 24, 2006
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Voting Your Values Is Your Civic AND Moral Duty

Dick Morris appeared on "Your World With Neil Cavuto" with messages that should not only upset traditional family values voters enormously, but also motivate them to vote in hope instead of to stay home and mope.

Dick Morris appeared on "Your World With Neil Cavuto" with messages that should not only upset  traditional family values voters enormously, but also motivate them to vote in hope instead of to stay home and mope: (1) The Republican Party is now rearranging "deck chairs on the Titanic" (THAT'S why MSNBC's Chris Matthews is manic!); (2)  Hillary Clinton will add more than enough single women to the voting group in 2008 to win the Presidency (and then again take up White House residency); and (3) church-going whites (what Mr. Morris called "the ultimate GOP base") are "splitting 47-47 in their vote (giving Democrats great cause to gloat).

Mr. Morris: The "short term cause" of the coming Republican disaster is "the base abandoning the Republican party because the Foley scandal hurt - you can't imagine how much that scandal hurt. Right now Democrats have an 8 point lead over Republicans on promoting morality in America? Duh!"

Mr. Morris: "White church-goers have moved 21 points away from the Republicans in margin since pre-Foley. The percentage of white, frequent church-goers that vote Republican has dropped from 58 pre-Foley to 47 now."

Former Congressman Mark Foley is a pro-abortion former Democrat who opportunistically switched parties without fully embracing fundamental Republican values.  Mr. Foley was baptized a Catholic and attended Catholic school, but he obviously was a "cafeteria Catholic" who did not chose some basics.   After he resigned in disgrace, he follwed fellow Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, into rehabilitation.  He claimed that HE was alcoholic and that he had been sexually abused by a clergyman for a couple of years forty years ago, but he was not making excuses.  He shamelessly took advantage of the Republican Party's big tent approach (which needs to be revised to exclude each and every cockroach).

For Democrats to benefit from the suspiciously timed outing of Mr. Foley as a sexual predator would be ironic in the extreme.

Neither Republican Party values nor Catholic Church theology is to blame for Mr. Foley.  Dan Rather and Mary Mapes don't work at CBS News anymore.  Yet CBS News is still promoting the Democrat agenda assiduously and trying to convince traditional value people that Republican leaders have been making fools of them and abandoning the Republican Party instead of working to purify it is the right thing to do.  It is a transparent attempt to depress the traditional value vote that traditional values voters must frustrate, for America's sake.

Instead of forged documents (the tactic in 2004), "60 Minutes" is highlighting anti-Bush books before Election Day 2006.

The latest is Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, by David Kuo, whom CBS delightedly described as "an evangelical Christian and card-carrying member of the religious right, who got a job in the White House in the president’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives."

What is very noteworthy (and what CBS neglected to mention) is that the contract which Mr. Kuo entered into with a book publisher affiliated with CBS provided for publication in early 2007.  Are you surprised that the book came out in October and "60 Minutes" promptly did a segment on Mr. Kuo and his book on October?  Do you think expediting the publication of the book was politically motivated, or solely a marketing choice, or prompted by Mr. Kuo's brain tumor?

For Mr. Kuo, please pray, for he has lost his way.

Why did "60 Minutes: interview an evangelical conservative?

Mr. Kuo is calling on his fellow evangelicals to undertake a political "fast." 

CBS itself would not urge evangelical conservatives to sit out the 2006 elections, but it would give Mr. Kuo prime airtime to do so.   

When it comes to advice on the duty to vote, Mr. Kuo should be receiving, not giving.

The Second Vatican Council urged all Christians “to fulfill their duties faithfully in the spirit of the Gospel” and warned that “[i]t is a mistake to think that, because we have here no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come, we are entitled to shirk our earthly responsibilities; this is to forget that by our faith we are bound all the more to fulfill these responsibilities according to the vocation of each....” 

The Second Vatican Council called for Christians not to take a time out from politics, but to cherish “the opportunity to carry out their earthly activity in such a way as to integrate human, domestic, professional, scientific and technical enterprises with religious values, under whose supreme direction all things are ordered to the glory of God.”

Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, in a Doctrinal Note, explained: "Living and acting in conformity with one’s own conscience on questions of politics is...the way in which Christians offer their concrete contribution so that, through political life, society will become more just and more consistent with the dignity of the human person.” 

There were be a roundtable discussion on responsible voting on EWTN's "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" on October 20 at 8 PM Eastern.  Tune in.

Catholics and evangelicals, among others, know that (1) they have a civic duty and (2) the real lesson of the Foley scandal is not that traditional values voters should turn away from politics for a time, but promote traditional values more effectively by voting for sincere candidates instead of phonies like Mr. Foley.

The problem of pedophile priests was not a problem with Roman Catholic theology.  The priesthood had been infiltrated by some predators who rejected that theology in order to indulge their vile impulses. 

Likewise, the problem of Mr. Foley was a personnel problem, not a problem with traditional Republican values.  Mr. Foley was like a pedophile priest, a predatory infiltrator who caused great harm because he did not practice what he pretended to believe. 

Allowing Nancy "San Fran Nan" Pelosi to become Speaker of the House will make things worse, not better.

Allowing the ethically challenged Harry Reid to become the Senate Majority Leader likewise is a leap in the wrong direction.

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops explained in 1998 that elections are an opportunity to be seized, not surrendered:

"We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in building the culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power. We must exercise that power in ways that defend human life, especially those of God's children who are unborn, disabled or otherwise vulnerable. We get the public officials we deserve. Their virtue–or lack thereof–is a judgment not only on them, but on us. Because of this we urge our fellow citizens to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest."

When Mr. Foley's folly was appreciated,  Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, told him to resign or be expelled and he immediately resigned and did not pretend that his behavior had been a legitimate personal choice.  The House Ethics Committee is investigating, but it appears that Mr, Hastert acted as soon as he appreciated the problem and gay staffers and perhaps others may have failed him.

In contrast, Democrats have been paying tribute to the late Representative Gerry Studds, Democrat of Massachusetts.  Mr. Studds had sexual relations with an underage House Page.  He was censured, not expelled, and defiantly turned his back on his censurers.  He was re-elected until he retired and an integral member of the House's Democrat caucus.

Republicans are not omniscient, but they don't pretend that wrong is right.  At least publicly. 

The Eternal Word Television Network, probably better knows as Mother Angelica's network, has posted this readily understandable and valuable statement on the duty to vote:   

"Our Duty to Vote

"With the development of popular government comes the duty of citizens to participate in their own government for the sake of the common good. Not to do so is to abandon the political process to those who do not have the common good in mind. Given the nature of democracies this inevitably leads to unjust laws and an unjust society. These may come about anyway, but they should not come about through the negligence of Christians, who would then share in the guilt.

"This duty is chiefly exercised by voting, through which citizens elect their representatives and even determine by referendum the laws which will govern them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

"In their November 1998 pastoral letter Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics the Bishops of the United States speak of a false pluralism which undermines the moral convictions of Catholics and their obligation to be 'leaven in society'  through participation in the democratic process.

"Who We May Not Vote For"

"The question arises naturally, therefore, if among a slate of candidates there are those for whom we may not vote, without sinning gravely. Catholic moral theology recognizes, in the writings of approved authors who faithfully represent the theological tradition of the Church, sound guides for forming a Catholic conscience. Two such authors are Fathers Heribert Jone, OFM Cap. and Henry Davis, SJ. Speaking of the duty to vote and when it could be sinful not to, Fr. Jone writes:

"Similarly, Fr. Davis writes,

"Who, then, are the enemies of religion or liberty for whom it would be sinful to vote? Reasonably, it would be those who attack the most basic rights in a society, since all rights depend on those which are logically or actually prior. Among the enumerated inalienable rights recognized by the Declaration of Independence is the right to life. The right to life is both logically and actually prior to all other rights since liberty is meaningless to those who have been unjustly killed. The protection of innocent human life is thus the first obligation of society. This is why protection against foreign enemies is the first duty of the federal government and protection against domestic enemies (criminals) is the first obligation of local government.

"They are also enemies of religion and liberty who attack the most basic cell of society, marriage and family. A society that doesn't foster the life-long commitment of a man and a woman to each other and their children is self-destructing. Granting that we have already reaped the fruit of easy divorce laws, the most pernicious attacks against the family today are by those who favor homosexual unions and the granting of marital status to homosexual unions. It is also undermined by an unjust tax system which penalizes marriage in favor of fornication.

"What then of other important issues, such as social policy? If a party or a candidate has a better vision from the perspective of Catholic teaching, is it not possible to overlook his views on life and marriage? First of all, most political policies represent a multitude of choices, budgetary, practical, and as well as principled. The two major parties approach these issues differently, but it would be wrong to infer that one or the other is THE Catholic position. However, when a policy touches a principle itself, as it does in the abortion and homosexual debates, then a clear moral choice exists, devoid of the policy debate of how we accomplish the common good in a particular case. The common good can never involve killing the unborn or the approval of homosexuality. These issues touch directly on the most basic goods of all (life and family) - and thus are of unique and paramount importance. It is not possible, therefore, to claim an equal weight between a candidate's position on these principles and policy positions on how to achieve certain good ends. Sadly, many have inverted the priority of principle over means. The Holy Father, speaking of the inversion of priorities with respect to life, has stated,

"Those who are anti-life and anti-family manifest this darkening of conscience, a darkening which makes their other political decisions inherently untrustworthy. No Catholic can reasonable say 'this candidate is anti-life and anti-family, but his social policies are in keeping with Catholic principles.' Catholics should look carefully to discover what in his policy views manifests the same will to power over others manifested by his anti-life principles. More than one tyrant in history has used panem et circenses (bread and circuses) to mollify the masses. The mere appearance of social justice is not the same as social justice, which can only occur when everything in society is properly ordered, beginning with the most basic realities - life and the family.

"Who We Must Vote For"

"As noted by Fathers Jone and Davis, a Catholic can have an obligation to vote so as to prevent an unworthy candidate, an enemy of religion, liberty and morals, from coming into office.

"Davis states it differently, but with the same implications, one may even vote for an enemy of religion or liberty in order to exclude an even greater enemy of religion, liberty and morals. Indeed, one can be obliged to in certain circumstances.

"Thus, both authors are suggesting the strong obligation (even until the pain of mortal sin) to vote so as to exclude the electing of the candidate who would injure religion, liberty and morals the most. For such a purpose one may vote even for someone who is an enemy of religion and liberty, as long as he is less of any enemy than the candidate one is voting to preclude being elected. 

"The Holy Father enunciated this principle of the lesser evil with respect to legislation,  which while not obtaining the goals which Catholic principles would demand, nonetheless, excludes even worse legislation, or corrects, in part, legislation already in force that is even more opposed to Catholic principles.

"This same principle has immediate bearing on choosing among candidates, some or even all of whom may be anti-life and anti-family. Voters should try to minimize the damage done to society by the outcome of an election, even if that outcome is not wholly satisfactory by Catholic principles.

"Formal versus Material Cooperation in Evil"

"Voters are rightly concerned about the degree to which their vote represents cooperation in the evil which a candidate embraces. Obviously, voting for a candidate whose principles exactly coincide with Catholic teaching would eliminate that worry. However, that is a rare, if not non-existent, situation. Even those who embrace Catholic principles may not always apply them correctly. The fact is that most candidates will imperfectly embrace Catholic principles and voting for ANY candidate contains many unknowns about what that candidate believes and will do.

"The moral distinction between formal and material cooperation allows Catholics to choose imperfect candidates as the means of limiting evil or preventing the election of a worse candidate. The justification of doing that is described above. Formal cooperation is that degree of cooperation in which my will embraces the evil object of another's will. Thus, to vote for a candidate because he favors abortion is formal cooperation in his evil political acts. However, to vote for someone in order to limit a greater evil, that is, to restrict in so far as possible the evil that another candidate might do if elected, is to have a good purpose in voting. The voter's will has as its object this limitation of evil and not the evil which the imperfect politician might do in his less than perfect adherence to Catholic moral principles. Such cooperation is called material, and is permitted for a serious reason, such as preventing the election of a worse candidate. [cf. Gospel of Life 74]

"The Conscience Vote"

"Many Catholics are troubled by the idea of a lesser of two evils or material cooperation with evil. They conclude that they can only vote for a person whose position on the gravest issues, such as abortion, coincides exactly with Catholic teaching. To do otherwise is to betray their conscience and God. 

"Sometimes this view is based on ignorance of Catholic teaching, a sincere doubt that it is morally permissible to vote for someone who would allow abortion in some circumstances, even if otherwise generally pro-life. It is also perhaps the confusing expression 'lesser of two evils,' which suggests the choice of evil. As I have explained above, the motive is really the choice of a good, the limitation of evil by a worse candidate. 

"Sometimes this view is motivated by scrupulosity - bad judgment on moral matters as to what is sin or not sin. The resulting fear of moral complicity in the defective pro-life position of a politician makes voting for him morally impossible. This situation is different than ignorance, however, in that the person simply can't get past the fear of sinning, even when they know the truth. 

"However, I think it is most frequently motivated by a sincere desire to elect someone whose views they believe coincide best with Church teaching. This is certainly praiseworthy. Yet, human judgments in order to be prudent must take into account all the circumstances. Voting, like politics, involves a practical judgment about how to achieve the desired ends - in this case the end of abortion as soon as possible, the end of partial-birth abortion immediately if possible, and other pro-life political objectives. A conscience vote of this type could be justified if the voter reasonably felt that it could achieve the ends of voting. The question must be asked and answered, however, whether it will bring about the opposite of the goal of voting (the common good) through the election of the worst candidate. That, too, is part of the prudential judgment. In the end every voter must weigh all the factors and vote according to their well-informed conscience, their knowledge of the candidates and the foreseeable consequences of the election of each."

Of course, Catholics are not the only Christians duty-bound to vote.

David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, an Aledo, Texas-based ministry dedicated to bringing America back to its first principles, and toward understanding our Christian heritage, addressed the duty of Christians to vote in an interview by Pete Winn, CitizenLink associate editor, as follows:

"Q. Does a Christian have a duty to vote, more so than other citizens?

"A. A Christian has a duty to vote probably more than any other citizen because of the biblical principles that are out there relating to nations. The Scripture tells us, Proverbs 14:34, that 'Righteousness exalts a nation.' Well, righteousness comes from the national policies that are enacted, or, you could also say righteousness exalts a state or community and you determine righteousness on the basis of the public policies that are enacted—which means public leaders choose those public policies and enact them. That’s when we go to Proverbs 29:2, which tells us 'When the righteous rule, the people rejoice (and) when the wicked rule, the people groan.'

"In other words, ungodly, non-God-fearing people will not make righteous policies. You will not get, for example, God-fearing people to say it’s OK to have abortion, it’s OK to destroy the sanctity of marriage, it’s OK to promote certain things in schools. ... So, what we find scripturally, is that God-fearing policies come from God- fearing people; and in America, the only way that God- fearing people can rule ... is to be elected. If, as people of faith, we want righteousness to be exalted, we have to elect leaders who will exalt righteousness, and that’s the only way that God can bless the nation.

"For those who have a perspective out of the Bible, it is more incumbent on them—as a duty—to be involved to choose leaders who will enact policies that God can bless in a community, state or nation; to choose leaders that will make decisions that God can honor. For those who have that biblical base, it’s more incumbent on them to be involved, even than the average citizen who may vote solely on the basis of economics or prescription drugs or something else."

Traditional values voters also need to vote, so that CBS News does not have cause to gloat.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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