One of the freedoms that I am most grateful for is
freedom of speech. As citizens, we are able to disagree publically with our
elected officials and each other without worrying about the police arresting us
when we walk out the door. And most importantly, we can make our voice heard
through our vote.
When we vote, we look for the person who will best
represent our values. This can be especially difficult in today’s climate and we
might be tempted to vote only for our party, or for women…or Latinos…or
liberals… or….. You get my point.
Some might vote only for a candidate who professes
to be pro-life. Voting for a person who is anti-abortion is not necessarily the
same as voting pro-life. Life does not
stop when a child is born. There are so
many other important life issues to be considered. I would suggest that all the issues that the
Dominican Sisters of Peace have included in our voting guide are pro-life
including protection from violence in our own communities and welcoming people
escaping from it in their countries…ensuring that our creation is protected and
its resources are available for all…protecting adults and children from sex or
labor trafficking. They address the sanctity of life from conception to natural
So what do you do when a candidate professes to be
pro-life but addresses none of the life issues after birth? That’s where our
consciences come into play.
A recent article in America called Catholic Teaching on Conscience is (Again)
Topic of Discussion at Synod, states “Catholics believe that following
one’s conscience is paramount—and that believers should do their best to form
their consciences in the light of reason, experience, Scripture and spiritual
formation, always with the help of church teaching.” The Church’s Social Teaching is one source of
formation and includes the rights to life, dignity, work, care for the poor and
vulnerable, and care for creation. Perhaps we need to work together to end
abortions by helping women to avoid them or supporting mothers when their children
So, in the end, each
person must make his or her decision on how to vote. That decision must be done
with prayer, information, discussion.
Voting is an important action that cannot be taken lightly. It affects
each of us personally and communally.
May you find peace in this important action.