|God Help Us!|
Christopher A. Ferrara
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, New Jersey|
A day later, Bishop Robert J. Herman, administrator of the Diocese of Saint Louis, published a column in which he warned, both literally and metaphorically, that “Judgment day is on its way… For many, this coming election may very well be judgment day, for this election will measure us…. The right of our children to be protected from destruction is greater than my right to a thriving economy. My desire for a good economy cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion. My desire to end the war in Iraq cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion.” (CNA, October 18, 2008).
A vote for B. Hussein Obama is unquestionably a vote to remove all restrictions on abortion. This man of mystery—who is he, where was he really born, and who are the equally mysterious financiers of his Harvard law degree?—has vowed precisely to eliminate all restrictions on abortion by signing FOCA into law, whose passage by a Democrat super majority will be his for the asking. This is a man who, in the one moment of visible nervousness I observed during the last presidential debate, doggedly defended the practice of leaving the victims of botched abortions to die in a utility room at a Chicago hospital.
When I look at John McCain I see just another American politician, a typical product of the fundamentally corrupt Lockean regime under which we live—under which we are forced to live, while still having the moral duty to make the best of a bad situation to the extent that this is within our power. But when I look at B. Hussein Obama I see… nothing. Beneath the veneer of an attractive appearance and an eloquence that is little more than an ability to palaver endlessly without stumbling, there is a perfect specimen of what T. S. Eliot described in his post-war apocalyptic verses on the spiritual death of the Western world:
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar.
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
If, as Saint Augustine teaches, evil is the absence of good, than B. Hussein Obama—according to his own words concerning what he will do to the innocent unborn if given the power—is the closest thing to a purely evil political candidate America has ever seen. I do not think this can genuinely be disputed by any traditional Catholic. I do not think there is even one of us who, when the time comes, will be able to stand before the Judgment Seat and say to God in the face that it really made no significant moral difference—none at all—whether B. Hussein Obama or John McCain became President of the United States.
And yet some of the same traditionalists who advocate casting an utterly useless vote for Chuck Baldwin—a Baptist minister—blatantly contradict themselves by suggesting that one ought not to vote for McCain-Palin because of their morally defective Protestantism. It has even been suggested that one ought to scruple over Palin’s presumptive (but not clearly demonstrated) condonation of contraception. As if Chuck Baldwin doesn’t condone of it! As if every American politician of any note—Protestant or Catholic—hasn’t condoned it since at least the 1950s.
I am amazed at the spurious arguments proliferating among us concerning the rather basic moral question whether Catholics are obliged to oppose a candidate of incomparable evil by voting for a candidate, with a chance to win, who is inarguably a polar opposite on the matter of abortion. We are dealing here with a prudential judgment involving a choice between politicians who are not faithful Catholics, one of whom, however, takes the Catholic position on the overriding moral issue of our time. A Presidential election is not a preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation. For goodness sake!
But what about abstention from this election? In my view, the prospect that the most evil Presidential candidate in American history could be elected if we do nothing precludes the exercise of that moral option. The publishing house of the Society of Saint Pius X offers a beautifully reproduced edition of My Catholic Faith, the classic English language catechism derived in large part from the Baltimore Catechism. On the subject of abstaining from elections involving critical moral issues, we read this lesson:
A Catholic elector who gives his vote to a candidate hostile to Christian principles, or by abstaining from voting contributes to the success of such a candidate, has much to answer for. §105.2 Civic Duties.
In the end, of course, the vote we cast or decline to cast in this election is a matter of conscience, of which God alone will be the final judge. But when even a member of America’s traditionally reticent episcopacy speaks in terms of Judgment Day, one has to think that in this election we are faced with something more than the usual Hobson’s choice of American politics—something that changes the moral calculus in a way that we just have not seen before. Historians would call this moment a climacteric. This time, in my view, the regime has presented us with a choice that we ignore at our peril.