Voting One’s Conscience

AdminArchbishop Paul's Reflections5 Comments

Everyone is free to vote for either candidate for President and for other items on this year’s ballot. A person’s vote seems to revolve around the policies each candidate puts forward during the campaign and the party platforms passed at each convention before the election. Everyone should vote according to each candidate’s policies and values that are consistent with their own values and beliefs. Some people may decide to vote based on where the candidates stand on the issue of sanctity of life. Others may base their vote on how the candidates stand on other issues. They may even decide to vote for a candidate that doesn’t support the overturn of Roe vs. Wade. Yet they still accept the Church’s teaching that abortion is a sin. No one should be condemned or harshly criticized for how they vote. One’s vote should be exercised freely. A person can share whom they voted for, but there is no need to make an overly public display of it.

When it comes to our kids, I do have one question to ask: Do schools still stage mock elections using a ballot of items to vote on? I think it would be a great idea if parents could sit down with their children who are capable of looking at a ballot and making a choice. If they are willing to share how they voted, parents can walk their children through each ballot item. They could help them to articulate why they voted the way they did. What did they consider in their decision? This is where the question might be asked, is the vote consistent with what the Church teaches? Is that a fair question to ask? Voting should not be based on how one feels.

The issue that concerns me the most today is the mutual intolerance that exists between our political parties. Stories are being put forward about what will happen if a certain candidate doesn’t win, causing confusion and worry. Cable news and social media outlets seem to fan these tensions with talks of mass protests and riots. This is a problem. We should do nothing in family life that encourages this kind of behavior. There is no room for intolerance and hatred in determining how a person votes. To act in this manner is contrary to our faith. Parents, do all you can to foster a sober and serious attitude with your children when it comes to voting. Voting is to be based on what someone thinks and not what they feel.

The blessing of the Lord be upon you,

Archbishop Paul

5 Comments on “Voting One’s Conscience”

  1. “They may even decide to vote for a candidate that doesn’t support the overturn of Roe vs. Wade”

    This is another way of saying they are supporting abortion, which is against the Churches teaching.
    As much as many would like, you can’t have it both ways. Either you support the candidate who holds to the sanctity of life or you don’t. I believe we are held accountable before God on these decisions we make, which are life or death to an unborn generation.
    During the Democratic presidential primary, with multiple candidates running, not one supported the sanctity of life…
    Let’s be clear on who is doing the rioting and looting, with more plans to burn cities down, if they’re candidate doesn’t win.
    What has become acceptable by the world’s standards is not acceptable to God and the Churches teachings.
    Redefining marriage, gender and LGBTQ, are examples of this. Biblical references are clear on this.
    While there are many other issues between candidates that can be openly discussed, IMHO…these mention above are not acceptable to the Orthodox Christian.
    Our Nation and an unborn generation are depending on us…

  2. Hello Don,

    I am hoping the statement “Let’s be clear on who is doing the rioting and looting, with more plans to burn cities down, if their candidate doesn’t win”, is not suggesting that any far left or right group was largely responsible.

    Federal authorities and the DOJ have found the perpetrators to be largely comprised of “opportunists”. In other words, deviants that do not identify with any particular group. You can read this report on Reuters here:

    The notion of single-issue voting is politically motivated, and not handed down by Christ. Of course the right to life of the unborn is sacred. But so is the right to life of George Floyd, or Philando Castile who committed no crime and murdered in his car by police in front of his child and girlfriend in Minneapolis too. So is the life of Freddie Gray in Baltimore who was riding his bike and tackled by officers, searched, charged with possessing a knife, taken into custody, and died from spinal cord injuries in the back of the police van. So is the life of Breonna Taylor who committed no crime but was shot to death by plain clothed police officers raiding her apartment. Christ did not dictate a hierarchy on the sanctity of life. The value we place on life is not one dimensional, nor should our consideration in our vote be one dimensional.

    Most important to note, is that abortion rates have dropped dramatically and continue to drop dramatically, since the nineties, regardless of what party is in power. Single-issue voting is ineffective if the sole purpose is to reduce the incidence of abortion, because it continues to decline regardless.

    1. Hello Stacy,
      You have stated,
      “The notion of single-issue voting is politically motivated, and not handed down by Christ”.
      As the reason for not voting for a Pro life candidate. When you look at what separates the two parties, the vote is much more than a single issue.
      The left supports Abortion, redefining marriage, family and gender, LGBTQ, antifa, etc..
      So the vote is much more than single issue. It divides us as a nation in what you believe morally. While neither side is perfect, as an Orthodox Christian the moral issues take precedence over who i vote for.
      No one is in support of police action that results in wrongful death. But defunding the police or creating autonomous zones is not the answer.
      Yes, moral issue stance of a candidate, should guide us in who we vote for as Orthodox Christians.

      1. Don,

        I personally do not endorse any one party, and I base my vote on a number of things, and not a single issue. I do notice that it is a theme in your statements to attribute certain stances to the left that are not based in truth. Some are but others are not. I have not seen the current Democratic candidates running for POTUS say they “support antifa” or are going to “defund the police”. While there are certainly far left extremists that do.

        With that said, I HAVE seen the current leadership refuse to denounce violence of white supremist groups, as well as hide the seriousness of the coronavirus to the American people, that has taken many lives. And those lives are just as sacred. In 2020, white supremist groups (not antifa), committed over 90% of the violence attributed to terrorism in America and is clearly a growing danger right now. It was this type of mindset (the Turner Diaries) that Timothy McVeigh admitted inspired him to take 168 lives in Oklahoma in 1995.

        It goes both ways in judging the moral compass of the actual leadership in office. If we truly value “life” before all else, then to some, that may mean voting for what will have the most impact on honoring life. We must respect why people vote how they do, if they are truly weighing and prioritizing things on a moral basis.

        If someone chooses to table some things because they feel other moral issues are a bigger danger to the country right now (fueling division and hate, reducing the spread of covid etc), then they are still voting with their moral conscience, regardless of party lines.

  3. Don, and Stacy
    I wish to thank you for your honest, thoughtful responses to my note. Don, when I said abortion is a sin, I have no way of knowing that this is just “another way of saying that they are supporting abortion.” When someone has an abortion they are under the canonical discipline of the Church for procuring one. However this is a difficult pastoral issue that has to be worked out between the person who had the abortion, her priest, and the bishop. The canons are to be applied in a medicinal way and not a juridical way. So I have a hard time Don agreeing with that statement you made. I personally would be fine with Roe vs. Wade being overturned. But does that have to be the only litmus test of determining if one is Pro Life; the overturning of Roe vs. Wade? Should one not take a stand on Roe vs. Wade, should one’s Orthodoxy be questioned even if one accepts the Church’s teaching that abortion is a sin, a woman would not get one, nor tell someone else to get one?

    The other moral issues you raise are different because they are not legal issues. There are moral issues on both sides of the fence. The issue of abortion is different because it does involve the taking of innocent life. The Church does define abortion as an act of “murder.” (See Roe vs. Wade is a serious matter.

    If you have been reading my notes, I have mentioned on numerous occasions that the “Sanctity of Life” needs to be understood in a wholistic matter, from the womb to death. The point in my reflection was trying to speak to the polarity that exists in our society and the Church needing to be a witness to the whole truth. God is neither a Democrat and Republican. With reference to families, the goal was to give parents some guidance to children as they grow and are ready to vote; to speak to the importance of voting, and to do so in serious respectful manner without antagonizing others.

    What I appreciated in both your note Don, and Stacy’s was the respectful tone in which they were written. I don’t know if this helps but I do the best I can. God bless you Don and Stacy. +Paul

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