Never Trump–Because Apparently It Doesn’t Go without Saying

I didn’t think I was going to have to say anything. Obviously his candidacy was a joke.

And then it wasn’t.

But nobody could possibly support him.

And then they did.

But the Republican Party would never choose him.

Until they did.

But people couldn’t possibly overlook his narcissism, racism, misogyny, and inability to speak coherently. They couldn’t possibly ignore the fact that he’s a terrible businessman. The only thing he’s good at he’s not even good at! They couldn’t look past the fact that he has neither experience nor knowledge nor, apparently, the ability to listen to advisers. And then this–no decent human being, presented with incontrovertible evidence of this creep’s arrogant disregard for the personhood of half the human race, his approval of sexual assault, and his inability to muster any semblance of remorse, nobody could make excuses for that.


molochI didn’t think I had to say anything. My kind of people know that this guy is horrendous. The people who read my blog also loathe everything he stands for. Maybe they’re willing to look the other way for the sake of Supreme Court justices, believing (naively, I feel) that this is the one area where an entirely unprincipled man will be faithful to his word. Give an unhinged narcissist the nuclear codes–after all, he might have a shot at chipping slowly away at Roe. Put Kim Jong Un, Putin, and Trump in charge at the same time–what could go wrong?

Nobody could think this was a good idea. Nobody could trust this man. If nothing else, nobody could possibly want to listen to him yell redundant, meaningless sentences desperately in need of a thesaurus for the next four years.

Somehow, this sorry excuse for a man is still in the running for the highest office in the land. His supporters say he’s running for president; listening to him, I expect he thinks he’s running for tyrant.

The wretchedness of Trump’s character is not only disqualifying, I am convinced that it is a danger to the nation and the world. –Rod Dreher

Sometimes it seems that everything this man says is morally abhorrent. Really–read this overview and ask yourself if a person with this kind of highlight reel could possibly be a good president.

punish-abortionDonald Trump is not pro-life. He’s not. He mocks the handicapped, suicidal veterans, and POWs. He thinks Planned Parenthood has done great things. He advocates war crimes. He’s not even anti-abortion. He’s so unfamiliar with the anti-abortion position that he actually suggested jail time for women who have had abortions. With his philandering and misogyny, it’s hard to see how one could not understand that men like Donald Trump are the reason abortion exists.

With Trump, all pro-lifers have are promises from a man who prides himself on breaking promises and whose behavior betrays the very thing pro-lifers fight for. –Rebecca Cusey

A friend of mine attempted to defend Trump by pointing to his daughter’s respect for him and saying that he must be a good father. I don’t care what she says. I don’t care how marvelous he was every single time he was with her. Owning strip clubs makes you a bad father. Being a serial adulterer makes you a bad father. Treating women like objects for your sexual gratification makes you a bad father. And it will make him a bad president.1

The Deseret News (owned by the LDS Church) came out in no uncertain terms against Trump, and not just because of his indecency:

Trump’s banter belies a willingness to use and discard other human beings at will. That characteristic is the essence of a despot.

Many Evangelicals had already denounced Donald before this most recent evidence of his complete unsuitability for the office of president. Very few Catholics I know had brought themselves to support him, and many of those are now withdrawing even such half-hearted support. Thank God even some Republican politicians are finding the courage to withdraw their ill-conceived endorsements. I pray that enough Americans follow suit.

Oh, Hillary is bad. I’m not saying Hillary isn’t bad. I’m not saying you should vote for her. I don’t think I could.2 But Trump is all the things Hillary is, plus mentally unstable and completely incapable of respecting anyone. He is the absolute worst person I could possibly imagine as president. Hillary is a known evil, four (or eight) more years of the same but worse. Trump is a maniac. How do you prepare for the rule of an unprincipled maniac?

But Clinton’s faults, deep as they are, are the faults of a normal politician. Trump’s are in another category. Having a bad, crazy man like Trump in the White House would be a disaster for the entire nation, and even the world. The further we go into this campaign, the harder it is to believe that the US faces equal danger from these two. –Rod Dreher

Character matters, particularly when the despicable character in question has shown evidence of absolutely no moral convictions.

What remains is this question: Can Donald Trump actually execute the basic duties of the presidency? Is there any way that his administration won’t be a flaming train wreck from the start? Is there any possibility that he’ll be levelheaded in a crisis — be it another 9/11 or financial meltdown, or any of the lesser-but-still-severe challenges that presidents reliably face? –Ross Douthat

I have been praying against Trump for months. I have hope now that the pressure on him will be so intense that he will withdraw his candidacy. If he doesn’t, I will continue to do what I can to speak out against him. I will pray for his conversion, for Clinton’s conversion, and for the conversion of our nation. And I will vote against him. It will likely be an uncounted absentee vote for a hopeless third party candidate–Evan McMullin seems as good a choice as any–but it will not be a vote for Donald Trump.3 You will vote how you like and I will love you regardless.

Lord have mercy.


I would like to keep the comments closed because people on the internet are mean and I am a coward, but I know that my regular readers are charitable and insightful. So while I don’t plan to reply to comments, I’ll leave them open until I have reason not to.

  1. Yes, I’ve heard of Bill Clinton. He’s not running. []
  2. I tried to once, in the Democratic primary in 2008. With Obama’s record on voting to deny medical help to babies born alive during abortions, I thought she was a lesser evil. But when it came down to it, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Hillary. So I voted for John Edwards, who I knew had already suspended his candidacy. They say you can’t throw away your vote, but I’m pretty sure I did. []
  3. There’s nothing wrong with a “worthless” vote. []

A Moment of Grace

bonfireWe were standing around a bonfire at a remote beach, a group of Catholic college students surrounded by the sound of waves and the light of stars and nothing else. The conversation flitted past religion to politics and there we were talking about Planned Parenthood and the lies they tell and the women they hurt1 and somebody mentioned reluctant women being shepherded into the building by insistent boyfriends or husbands. All the usual pro-life rhetoric, recycled by people who were used to being agreed with.

“That’s what happened to me.”

And a pause. And I stepped toward her and she fell into my arms and wept. Wept and wept like a mother who’s lost her child. And the chatter stopped. As I held her and spoke gently to her, the dozen people circling us stood in silence and I knew—knew—that we were cocooned in prayer.

“Oh, dear heart. Your baby forgives you. You are beautiful and you are so loved. And this doesn’t define you. Nobody blames you. Your baby loves you. God forgives you. And he loves you so much.”

I don’t remember exactly what I said. It must have been five minutes that I held her, friends and strangers lifting us up in prayer, before she relaxed her grip and we stepped back.

“Have you been to confession?” I had to ask. Not for judgment but for healing.

“Yeah, two years after it happened.”

“Then you are forgiven. Absolutely and completely forgiven, like it never happened. And these people here? They love you. Just as much as before—more, even. And if anybody—anybody—ever tries to hold this in your face you hold up the cross that Jesus hung your sin on and you call them out as a heretic. Because that’s not yours to carry anymore and saying otherwise is just plain heresy. You’ve been made new. And one day you’re going to meet your baby and there isn’t going to be any judgment or shame, only joy.”

And she told us the situation—a school that would have kicked her out and a boyfriend who threatened to kill himself and her friends who’d chosen life and how jealous she was. And then she said that it’s hard to hear people talking about Planned Parenthood and not feel attacked. And we promised her that we were saying just what she felt—that we wanted her not to have thought that was the choice she had to make. We wanted her loved and supported through a pregnancy, not shuffled along to a procedure she’ll never stop regretting. And we listened and eventually laughed and the conversation moved on.

It was a beautiful moment. A healing moment. There was so much grace. But it’s a reminder: you never know. One in four women is post-abortive. And you probably have no idea. Be careful, be very careful—even when you’re preaching to the choir—that nothing you say ever sounds like anything but love. This beautiful woman had the courage to tell us her story. How many don’t? How many suffer in shame because pro-lifers glibly recite the arguments they all have memorized? Those arguments whitewash the pain of millions of mothers and fathers, some of whom maybe be standing on the edge of your self-congratulatory conversation. Speak in love.


If you have had an abortion, please know this: you are loved. God is pouring his mercy on you. The Church has nothing but forgiveness to offer. Please seek healing, through confession, through counseling, through a Project Rachel retreat. And please forgive us for the times we hurt you by forgetting your pain in our zeal for the unborn. We love you. You matter. And you are not alone.

  1. Try this for a start, but this post isn’t really about proving that PP is bad for women. []

A Comprehensive List of Crimes that Merit Death

From what I’ve seen in the news–and the comboxes–in recent months, there seems to be some confusion. Obviously you’re never supposed to kill an innocent, but when can you kill someone who committed a crime? Turns out, there’s a definitive list of sins that are so bad they warrant a death sentence. Ready?

2015-01-08 23.22.38

In case the graphic didn’t come through, let me list them out for you:



That’s right. Nothing.

Not drawing a blasphemous cartoon or fighting racism. Not being a terrorist. Not torturing terrorists. Not even torturing innocent people who “look like terrorists.” Not selling loose cigarettes or playing with a toy gun. Not being unwanted or unborn or incurable or “illegal.” Not being a burden or a lesbian or a Muslim or a bully or a jerk. Not poverty. Not rape. Not murder. Nothing.1

I kind of thought this went without saying, but apparently I was wrong: you don’t get to decide who deserves to live and who doesn’t. Everybody deserves to live. So can we quit for a minute with the conservative/liberal/patriotic/radical nonsense that tell us the lie that some lives are worth more than others? Pro-life means all life. Liberal means freedom for everybody. Nobody is “subhuman” or “worthless” or “unnatural.” However inconvenient or appalling he might be, every person was made worthy of love by a God who died to save him. Nothing he does can ever negate that.

There is a lot of evil in this world. Fight it with love.

  1. Because you’ve always got to nuance everything on the internet, I’ll point out that I’m not talking about just war or legitimate defense. Even then, nobody deserves death. Killing is a last resort in an attempt to prevent atrocities. []

100 Ways to Be Pro-Life

I am pro-life. I’m not just pro-birth or anti-abortion. I’m pro-life. That means I’m pro-babies and pro-elderly and pro-immigrant and pro-disabled and pro-peace. I’m anti-poverty and anti-discrimination and anti-hatred. I vote against abortion and against capital punishment and against toxic waste. I offer help to pregnant women, single mothers, overworked fathers, depressed teenagers, homeless veterans, middle-class suburbanites, undocumented immigrants, uneducated children, struggling students, lonely old men, and frightened refugees. I don’t think your life is worth any more because you’re white or American or intelligent or born. I don’t think it’s enough to be pro-life and not do anything about it. And while we may each be drawn to focus on a different pro-life issue, I’m not convinced that you can really be pro-life if you’re not whole-life–conception to natural death, no exceptions.

We can’t all pray outside clinics or write legislation or teach the next generation to value the dignity of each life. But we can all fight for life. We can love the lives around us and reach out to those far away. We can sacrifice for those who need it and refuse to be silenced. We can question and weep and rage and pray. We can fight.

  1. Adopt a cute little baby.
  2. Adopt a belligerent teenager.
  3. Adopt a child with a cleft palate, spina bifida, or multiple sclerosis.
  4. Thank a birth mother.
  5. Be a foster parent.
  6. Take a meal to a family that’s struggling.
  7. Start awkward conversations about hard issues.
  8. Take a pay cut to do something meaningful.
  9. Stop by your local crisis pregnancy center. Do whatever they need done.
  10. Write to your Grandmother.
  11. Have a picnic in the park for the homeless.
  12. Where's the supportThrow a baby shower for a teen mother.
  13. Offer to babysit for that frazzled couple you know–for free.
  14. Read up on immigration reform.
  15. Don’t buy clothes made in sweatshops.
  16. Show your children pictures of unborn babies.
  17. Spiritually adopt a prisoner on death row.
  18. Love your children.
  19. Love other people’s children.
  20. Share this article about what a blessing an autistic child can be.
  21. When a couple suffers a miscarriage, mourn with them.
  22. Get involved with your local Catholic Worker House.
  23. Buy generics–give the difference to Catholic Relief Services.
  24. Recognize that mental illness is an illness.
  25. Go through your closet once a year–give anything you haven’t worn to the St. Vincent de Paul society.
  26. Stop judging people because their ancestors immigrated after yours did.
  27. Support businesses that are taking a risk in order to fight for our first amendment rights.
  28. Give up your seat to an elderly/handicapped/pregnant/world-weary person.
  29. Give blood.
  30. Give a kidney.
  31. Give bottles of water to day laborers waiting for work.
  32. When an unmarried woman tells you she’s pregnant, figure out a way to tell her how proud you are. If your life is transparent, telling her she’s your hero won’t make her think extramarital sex is okay in your book.
  33. Read Dead Man Walking and all the footnotes.1
  34. Invite a woman dealing with a crisis pregnancy to live in your home.
  35. Grandmother JPTake your baby to a nursing home and hand her around.
  36. Advocate for women’s health without advocating for killing unborn women.
  37. Buy a homeless man dinner.
  38. Watch this movie and tell me if it’s as cute as the trailers made it look.
  39. Watch Bella in a group and then discuss. Is abortion ever necessary? Would you have gone to the clinic with her?
  40. Watch Million Dollar Baby in a group and then discuss.2 Was there another way out? What value does suffering have?
  41. Teach your kids to tithe from their allowances; meet quarterly to pick a charity to give to.
  42. Study Just War Theory before you support a war.
  43. Study Just War Theory before you support pulling out.
  44. Have babies.
  45. Smile at them in public.
  46. Smile at them in private.
  47. Write your senator.
  48. Thank your priest after he preaches on any controversial topic.
  49. Give to people who need it–no questions asked.
  50. Give until it hurts.
    I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc. is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say that they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditures excludes them.–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
  51. Pay a fair wage.
  52. Tell your local crisis pregnancy center you’ll babysit for their clients–free.
  53. Tell your story.
  54. Andrea BocelliInvite your aging parents to live with you.
  55. Keep blessing bags in your car for the homeless.
  56. Talk–gently–about abortion with those who support it.
  57. Love post-abortive women (and men) extra hard.
  58. PRAY!
  59. Thank a veteran.
  60. Stand up to a bully.
  61. Don’t waste food/clothing/energy/an opportunity to help.
  62. Stay informed.
  63. Choose to believe that people generally have good intentions.
  64. Give your time, talent, and treasure to a soup kitchen, a battered women’s shelter, an assisted living facility, Habitat for Humanity, legal aid, prison ministry, a home for teen moms, a camp for the disabled…anywhere that helps anyone.
  65. Talk about atrocities being perpetrated in other countries.
  66. Sign the Declaration of Life and give a copy to your family members. It may not be legally binding, but it’s a powerful statement.
  67. Recognize beauty in every human face. And every body type. And every ability level. And every set of problems and addictions and anxieties.
  68. Figure out why research done on adult stem cells is better than on embryonic stem cells–on every level.
  69. Question Guantanamo Bay, nuclear proliferation, gun laws, and international debt.
  70. 100_0099Spend some time in Palestine and begin questioning that wall.
  71. Befriend the outcast.
  72. Share the Gospel with someone.
  73. Buy locally.
  74. Take a risk on someone handicapped/uneducated/foreign when you’re hiring.
  75. Learn the facts about human embryology. Share them.
  76. Recognize that poverty is not synonymous with laziness.
  77. Live on minimum wage for a month.
  78. Smile more.
  79. Don’t use hormonal contraceptives.3
  80. Bake cookies for prisoners.
  81. Educate people about human trafficking.
  82. Don’t assume all homeless people are on drugs.
  83. Talk to a friend about her alcohol problem.
  84. Go to the March for Life.
  85. Blog about pro-life issues.
  86. Realize that war, poverty, capital punishment, education, discrimination, euthanasia, health care, immigration, affordable housing, fair trade, prostitution, and sweatshops are also pro-life issues.
  87. grinning FelicityTake your kids to the Special Olympics.
  88. Pray for those who go hungry every time you eat. Eat accordingly.
  89. Talk to a theologian when dealing with end-of-life issues.
  90. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
  91. Mentor at-risk youth.
  92. Stop yelling at your kids.
  93. Walk more, drive less.
  94. Look for a need in your community. Meet it.
  95. Teach ESL for free.
  96. Befriend someone who disagrees with you.
  97. Listen more than you talk.
  98. Don’t give up on people.
  99. Forgive.
  100. Love everybody. No exceptions.

Your whole life can be a battle for life–every life. What would you add to the list?

  1. They’re out of date but little has changed besides inflation as far as I know. []
  2. Warning: rated morally offensive by the USCCB reviews for violence and the obvious moral quandary. I had no qualms about showing it to mature teenagers. []
  3. Or any, for that matter. []

On Human Life

Hi! My name is Meg. I’m 29 years old and, by many definitions, an adult.

Yes, that’s me headbanging and playing the shovel. You really wish we were friends in real life.

Before I was an adult, I was a teenager.

Here I am at my senior prom–how cute!

Before I was a teenager, I was a tween.

Leotard and a kilt. At least I’m not rocking Rosie’s floral print and vest.

Before I was a tween, I was a child.

A grimacing child with awesome lopsided pigtails.

Before I was a child, I was a toddler.

I learned to talk before I was a year old. Here is photographic evidence that once I started, I never shut my mouth again.

Before I was a toddler, I was a baby.

The earliest baby picture I’ve ever seen of myself, courtesy of my lovely Aunt Miriam.

Before I was a baby, I was a fetus.

Clearly, none of the rest are pictures of me. My lame parents don't have any pictures from before I was born.
Clearly, none of the rest are pictures of me. My lame parents don’t have any pictures from before I was born.

Before I was a fetus I was an embryo. EmbryoBefore I was an embryo, I was a blastocyst.

The next three images are from the Yale Fertility Center.

Before I was a blastocyst, I was a morula. Morula Yale

Before I was a morula, I was a zygote.

Zygote YaleBefore I was a zygote, I was nothing. I was never an egg. I was never a sperm. The creature that I am began at a very specific moment in time. I began the moment my DNA began–not at birth, not at viability, not at implantation. I began at my conception.

You see, there’s no ontological difference between a fetus and an infant. The only real difference is location. A baby at 9 months gestation and a full-term newborn are exactly the same in every way except location.

before birth after birth

And while viability might sound like a firm line–saying that those who can survive without help are people and those who can’t aren’t1–we can’t actually know which babies will survive. I know a man born at 22 weeks who’s perfectly fine. He even has a master’s degree. But most laws set viability at 24 weeks. And, of course, viability varies from place to place–how could we possibly say that one fetus is a person and the other isn’t simply because one is in Brussels and the other is in Brazzaville? It’s a fuzzy line at best and a heinously immoral one at worst.

Neither birth nor viability is a moment at which a lump of tissue changes into a person. The person you are now is the same person you were in your mother’s womb. There’s no genetic difference, no difference in anything but accidentals.

When you were in your mother’s womb, you were genetically human–and a different human from your mother. You were biologically alive.2 You were you when you were a fetus. You were you even when you were one tiny little zygote, smaller than the head of a pin. We can trace your existence back in time all the way to your conception and no further. You began at your conception. Your life began then–not at birth, not at viability. At conception. You were already you.

And so is every baby, wanted or unwanted. She already has a soul, a future, a place in the world. If you know she’s there, she may already have a heartbeat (22 days) or even brainwaves (40 days). But whatever stage that baby is at, she has her very own unrepeatable identity. She will grow and develop and become more and more herself. But her self does not begin at self-awareness or birth or viability or implantation or any other arbitrary line. Wanted or unwanted, she was herself from the moment of her conception. Would that we had the courage to love her just as she is.


If you’ve had an abortion, I ache for you. I don’t judge you or hate you or condemn you. I love you. Really, I do. I am so, so sorry that I couldn’t help you. But I want to help you now. Project Rachel is a post-abortive healing ministry–no judgment, just beautiful women who will weep with you when you are ready to weep. Please know that your Church loves you–your God loves you–and we want you back. More than anything, he wants you back. He has already forgiven you, even if you haven’t yet asked.

And if there is anyone who makes you feel unwelcome in the arms of Mother Church, you let me know. I’ll kick butt and take names. You are my sister and I want you home with me.

  1. You can tell that’s a problem already, can’t you? []
  2. Walker Percy–who apparently was a doctor? Who knew?–explains this in an interesting way here. []

Holding My Nose and Voting for Mitt

I hate politics. I mean, I know a lot of people say that–especially around elections–but I really do. Maybe it’s that I feel so discouraged by the options. Maybe it’s that a faithful Catholic doesn’t really fit in either party. Maybe it’s that it’s so complicated and there’s so much grey area–as an apologist, I guess I just like questions that have reasonable, infallible answers.

The Church doesn’t allow priests to hold public office. If only….

I don’t generally talk politics. I’ll discuss issues, but all I’ll usually say about parties is that a faithful Catholic can’t be a platform Democrat or a platform Republican. I don’t even usually tell people who I voted for!

Needless to say, I really don’t want to write this post. But the Lord has put it on my heart, so here we have it.

First, let me say this: I’m not a Republican. If we’re talking basic party principles, I’m a Democrat. I believe in big government and federal programs to help the underprivileged.1 I honestly believe that Democratic ideals are more in line with Catholicism.

Ideals. The particular values that seem to define the party today–well, not so much. Obviously, there are plenty of social issues that I’m much more conservative on. But high taxes? Sure. Higher taxes on the rich? Absolutely. Gun control? You bet!2 Besides, as my mother always says, the Democratic party defines itself by the ideal that the state ought to intervene to protect the vulnerable: the poor, the criminal, you name it. The Democratic party, by all rights, ought to be the pro-life party.

And you know what? Even though the abortion issue is such a huge one, I’ve never been a single issue voter. I weigh it heavily, sure, but a (hypothetical) candidate who supports abortion but would enact programs that provide healthcare for pregnant women, offer tuition assistance for single moms, and furnish low income families with childcare? Well, that candidate could actually reduce the number of abortions significantly. It’s just not always black and white. Not to mention the fact that the abortion issue is less relevant to some offices. A governor of a state like Texas, for example, might not have much to do with abortion laws but has quite a lot to do with stays of execution. So why would I pick the anti-abortion candidate as a matter of course? It’s more complicated than that.

Instead, I tend to split my ticket and I generally agonize over the candidates’ websites. I was absolutely torn during the Bush-Kerry season and the last election wasn’t exactly easy.

This one? A piece of cake.

Now, I’m no fan of Mitt Romney. Sure, he can deliver a joke. And he kind of looks like a Ken doll, which is nice, I guess. But I’ll admit that he’s phony. And I’m sure he’s a liar, like all politicians, and that he’s changed his position based on what is politically expedient. I don’t like what he said about the famed “47%” and I don’t agree with most of his fiscal policies, from what I can tell.

But this election season, I haven’t had to bother agonizing over every little thing. Because to my mind (and to the mind of the Catholic bishops), Obama crossed the line.

When the HHS Mandate was passed, I told a friend, “Now I’ll just have to see if the Republican candidate is so bad that I have to write somebody in. Obama just lost my vote.”3

When he came out with that sham compromise, I realized that I had to vote against him, whoever the opposition was (within reason, of course). A move like that–forcing the nation’s biggest and the world’s oldest Church to violate a teaching she’s held for 2,000 years and then smiling and telling us that if we close our eyes it’s like it’s not happening? Absolutely not. Obama’s complete disregard for religious liberty with the HHS mandate is appalling. If he’ll pull something like that in an election year, I can’t even imagine what he’d do in his final term. So my mind was made up in January: anybody but Obama.

I say this not as a Catholic but as an American. This nation was founded on the principle that the freedom to act according to one’s conscience and the freedom to live according to one’s religion are essential freedoms. My (mostly Protestant) ancestors came to this country for that very reason. That the President of the United States is now forcing religious institutions to act against their convictions is an outrage. The Founding Fathers would be disgusted.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America)

The President’s camp has been spinning the first amendment, using the language “freedom of worship” as opposed to “freedom of religion” or “religious liberty.” The implication is that the Constitution guarantees only that I may pray as I choose, not that I may live my faith. I’m permitted to be crazy and worship a cracker, it seems, as long as I only do it in church. Outside of church, I must do what I’m told.

But the traditional understanding has been that the free exercise of religion includes the freedom to live one’s faith, assuming that it does no harm to another. We don’t compel Jewish delis to sell bacon or Baptist reception halls to serve liquor. We don’t force Jehovah’s Witnesses to get blood transfusions or require Evangelical businesses to stay open on Sundays. Traditionally, individuals and organizations have been free to choose on such matters. I suppose that in this instance, I’m pro-choice.

As an American, I believe that people may be compelled to do what they don’t want to do but never what they feel they must not do. I don’t want to drive the speed limit or file taxes or get a new car when my clunker’s emissions are too bad, but I don’t find those things morally abhorrent. I do them with minimal whining and move on with my life. But I refuse to be morally complicit in evil,4 whatever the cost. In this case, the cost seems to be Romney. If I’m not voting for him, I’m essentially voting for Obama. And while Romney has some serious issues, I don’t think he’s advocating anything intrinsically evil.

Basically, I’m either voting for Romney or I’m accepting the violation of my religious liberty. It’s either him or the betrayal of my conscience. The choice seems clear to me.

Yup, this is my actual ballot. For some reason, I feel as though it should be illegal to post this online. It isn’t, is it? UPDATE: I called the Kansas Secretary of State’s office and they said not to worry about it. The law’s unclear in Kansas as it was written before social media but they assured me that they will not be prosecuting anybody.

I’m often accused of being a single-issue voter (by people who have no idea how I vote, what’s more), but this isn’t a single issue. Sure, it’s contraception and abortifacient drugs. But it’s also Obama betraying his supporters, lying to the public, trampling on consciences, and castrating the first amendment. To my mind, those are serious issues, and I don’t see that any of his policies are good enough to overshadow the evil of limiting our religious liberty and giving Catholic social services this ultimatum: do evil or close your doors.

I’ve seen a number of comments on Facebook recently to the extent that a Christian can’t rightly support a candidate who would cut social welfare programs, since Jesus told us to serve the poor. Now I agree that the state should have some role in this, but it’s Obama, with all his social programs, who’s really going to hurt the poor. If he’s re-elected and HHS is upheld by the Supreme Court, every Catholic school, hospital, homeless shelter, soup kitchen, adoption agency, and nursing home is going to have to shut down or go bankrupt.5 That’s 7,500 schools educating 2.3 million children, 230 universities educating 1 million students and employing 65,000 professors,6 and more than 600 hospitals caring for 1 in 6 patients in America.7 Exactly how would shutting them down help anybody at all? How would closing Catholic soup kitchens feed the hungry? How would bankrupting nuns help the immigrants they serve?

I can’t vote for a man who would require people to violate their consciences and drive them to financial ruin if they don’t. I can’t vote for a man with no respect for the First Amendment or the Catholic Church. I can’t vote for a man whose Catholic running mate8 made a blatantly false statement claiming that there is a conscience exemption. There is no exemption for Catholic institutions that aren’t parishes, convents, or monasteries. Do evil, shut down, or go bankrupt from the fines.9

So the issues I’m concerned about here are the right to life, women’s rights, chastity, service to the poor and marginalized, civil rights, personal integrity, political integrity, the integrity of the Constitution, and the freedom to believe and live as one’s conscience dictates. Seems pretty broad to me.

But what if I were a single-issue voter? Is there no single issue that’s important enough to eclipse all the others? What if I told you I was against Hitler because of his views on eugenics?10 Sure, I appreciate how he’s trying to rebuild the war-ravaged German state and rallying a disheartened nation, but I’m just not comfortable with his crimes against humanity. It’s okay to oppose Hitler for that one reason, right? Why couldn’t I vote against Obama simply because he’s the rallying point of a radically pro-abortion Democratic party? Why can’t I vote against a man simply because he supports genocide?11

This has nothing to do with restricting women’s access to birth control–we gave up that fight with Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965. We’re not claiming, as the rhetoric insists, that our religious freedom is being destroyed because we are “unable to force others to not use birth control.” Nobody is trying to restrict access to birth control. All we’re saying is that those whose religious convictions forbid them to encourage, fund, approve of, or participate in an action should not be forced to do so.

These aren’t federal insurance policies we’re talking here–these are governmental requirements on private policies. Those who are connected to these private institutions are there, at some level, by choice. This isn’t an attempt to limit the public’s ability to contracept, it’s a refusal to cooperate in such actions as regards the employees of Catholic institutions.

If you take a job at a Catholic institution, you have to deal with the fact that your employer won’t pay for your contraception. It’s part of the job. It’s illogical to appeal to the federal government to insist that you be allowed to serve bacon at a vegan restaurant; if you want to serve BLTs, get a different job. Those who work at McDonald’s have to accept the uniform; if you want to wear cutoffs and flip-flops, get a different job. Catholic organizations will not pay for your birth control; if you want your birth control funded by your employer, get a different job.

I realize that in this economy “get a different job” can sound heartless. But if your access to free contraception is so important to you that you’re willing to compel a 2,000-year-old institution to betray its convictions, it should be important enough to you that you’re willing to be unemployed or underemployed. I can see believing that your need for contraception to be legal trumps my personal beliefs, but to say that I should betray my God so you can get cheap meds for free? That’s unconscionable.

And you know what? Treating-my-body-like-it’s-broken, pregnancy-is-a-disease, wouldn’t-punish-them-with-a-pregnancy aside, even assuming that I were in favor of all these “women’s reproductive rights,” I still wouldn’t believe that Obama respected women. He claims to be working for women, but this “First Time” commercial is how he tries to get our votes? Honestly, I feel degraded. Why am I defined as a woman based on my sexual availability to men? Why, when trying to convince me intellectually, are you treating me like all I care about is boys and sex and people’s opinions? WHY IS EVERYBODY OKAY WITH THIS????12

See, Cardinal Dolan is laughing because they both make these claims but they’re not true–laughably so. Get it? If you’re not following Catholic Memes on Facebook, do that now. I’ll wait.

I’ll have to hold my nose to vote for Romney, believe me. But a career politician who waffles on matters of prudential judgment is a whole different matter from a man who runs on a platform of intrinsic evils.13

I can’t tell you how to vote, and plenty of Catholics who are far more politically savvy than I have given you much to think over. But when every single bishop heading an American diocese has taken a stand against this president’s policies,14 I think it’s safe to say that this religious freedom issue is no small matter. Whether you’re Catholic or not, I’m begging you to consider seriously whether you want to live in an America where the president chooses to disregard the Constitution and is hailed as a champion of the downtrodden for doing it. It’s a slippery slope, my friends, whether you think this instance is wrong or not. I don’t want to be Chicken Little, but I think we’ve gotten to this point:

A vote for Barack Obama is a vote against freedom. Romney-Ryan 2012.

  1. Seriously, please don’t argue this with me. I hate politics and this isn’t the point. And yes, I believe in subsidiarity. I just don’t apply the principle the way some might. []
  2. I’m not kidding. I don’t want to hear any of your arguments on these issues. I’ll never be a Democrat, barring some major platform renovations, so it doesn’t matter anyway. []
  3. If you don’t know what the HHS mandate is, you really need to click that link. []
  4. No, I’m not condemning you. The Church asserts that contraception is evil, not that those who contracept are evil. []
  5. Not to mention the evidence that all his talking about reducing financial inequality ain’t going there…. []
  6. Stats courtesy of the inestimably reputable, but numbers are similar elsewhere. []
  7. Check out those stats. []
  8. No, I didn’t put Catholic in quotation marks. He hasn’t been excommunicated and it’s not my job to make those accusations. []
  9. The Archdiocese of Washington estimates that it “could incur devastating penalties as high as nearly $145 million per year, simply for practicing our faith.” []
  10. No, I’m not calling Obama Hitler. It’s an analogy. []
  11. Even ignoring the racist implications of American abortion statistics, genocide is the systematic extermination of a particular group. 50 million inconvenient babies in 40 years. []
  12. Anthony Esolen has an interesting take on what else this ad represents. Julie Borowski just thinks it’s ridiculous. []
  13. I used this line on Facebook. The response I got was that you have to decide for yourself what is intrinsically evil. No! You don’t! THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!! []
  14. And plenty of non-Catholics. []