Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Immorality Of Boycotting Election Day

Today is called "Super Tuesday", when many key states are holding their presidential primaries.  I heard from one commentator that this evening's election might well determine the composition of 25% of convention delegates.  I believe he was speaking of Republican delegates.  My focus in this post is on the GOP side.  As far as I'm concerned, the Democratic primary is essentially a choice between Lucifer and Beelzebub.

Already I'm hearing from some good Catholics who say "if my favored candidate does not win the nomination, I'm not voting in the general election".  To be frank, much of the sterling veneer is falling off Donald Trump but he still continues to poll favorably.  The next closest two are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and they too have their flaws.  In short, we don't have a perfect candidate.  That's the situation.

Both Sanders and Clinton pose clear threats to our nation.  What might help the Democratic nominee ascend to the White House are those faithful Catholics who will be inclined to stay away from the polls in November.  I believe that is a key factor as to why Obama won in 2012.  We knew Romney wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  However, four years after that election, can anyone really doubt that Romney would have been worlds better?  If nothing else, he most likely would not have proactively engaged in the disasters that occurred these past four years.

Shortly before the 2012 election, we heard the snortings from faithful but disgruntled Catholics who said they'd stay home (and many did).  I'll be frank again; in many if not most cases, these Catholics sounded like petulant two-year-olds who were mad because they didn't get their way during the primaries.  Their rancorous declarations of their intent to boycott the election really did resemble temper tantrums.  The same foot-stomping is beginning to happen, and the primaries aren't even over yet.

At that time, I made efforts to examine the "not going to vote" question by applying to it the Principle of Double Effect.  It is something that many mistake for the "lesser of two evils" mindset, but these two ideas are considerably different.  Here is one post.  This is a follow-up post.  Those were from August 2012.  These next two are from the following October - here and here.  Please read the comments in these posts; they can be quite telling.

This time I'm not hearing so much "third-party" talk as much as I'm hearing talk about not voting at all.  Let's look at that, shall we?  Again we're going to examine this question rigorously, attempting to apply traditional Catholic moral principles to it.  And yes, we really do have to take the time and effort to methodically work through these questions, as opposed to making these decisions on the basis of impulsive, "seat of the pants" emotions.

Again, applying the Principle of Double Effect, we have to first address the nature of the act of abstaining from voting.  We, as American citizens have a civic duty to make our voices heard via the electoral process.  How else will Catholic values be brought into the political arena if we don't vote?  Some might say, "the system is so corrupt that our votes most likely won't matter".  Be that as it may, if we don't vote, then we guarantee that our input won't even be registered, let alone matter.

Some erroneously hold that they abstain from voting then they won't commit sin by voting under less than ideal circumstances.  I believe, however, that given what I stated in the previous paragraph, that such abstention would constitute its own sin.  We can sin by omission as well as by commission.  I quote from Baltimore Catechism question 64: "What is actual sin?  Actual sin is any willful thought, desire, word, action, or omission forbidden by the law of God".

Obviously someone sitting out the November election is omitting to vote.  Is such omission sinful?  That's a key question; I think the answer is "yes" (barring illness or some other emergency).  How can deliberate refusal to mitigate probable harm to the moral character of our nation and indeed all civilization not be sinful?  For the sake of our nation and yes, your own souls, I beg disgruntled Catholics to man up (or woman up, as the case may be) and fulfill your duty this November.

I welcome comments from my readers and issue to them a challenge.  Please base your comments on faith and reason as opposed to emotion and "gut reaction".  Thank you.


  1. I will vote regardless of the choice I have. The 'lesser of two evils' seems to be my philosophy, but I will study the candidates available. If I have to vote for 'The Donald' I will definitely hold my nose, but I will vote for him. Hillary Clinton is a replica of Obama, and she would be the biggest pro abortion, pro homosexual marriage immoral leader next to him, not to speak of not really doing anything to help the poor and disenfranchised. She would be a disaster in every way. At least with Trump, we may have a chance to tamper to some degree the immoral run away train that the Democrats are driving.

  2. An added thought........we should be 'Catholic Americans' and not 'American Catholics'.

  3. I will not vote for a man who is in fact a liberal playing a isolationist/nationalist, if Trump is elected he will be Bernie Sanders light, if it comes down to those two, I'm doing a write-in vote out of principle, will not vote for either simply because the country has already collapsed fiscally and morally long ago.

    I love my country, but it is ultimately a secular authority which is man-made, the Constitution as originally written is still the greatest governing document ever made, but the Federal Govt. will not obey it's own laws, it is a country where if you are connected to the (right kind of) political power, no one can touch you for your crimes except Almighty God at death. Our country lacks both a true Rule of Law and a lack of even human Justice, let alone God's Justice, we have betrayed God and He has correctly casted our country to the Wolves of Satan, in which Trump, Clinton and Sanders all participate. I will not act as if another politician can save this country, when there is nothing left to save.

    That is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

    1. What tangible good do you think such a vote would accomplish? Remember - in order for such an action to square with moral teaching, the tangible good must at least be commensurate with the obvious evil of reducing opposition to proven baby-killers.

    2. 1.Because it shows that I will not bow down to Satan's Wolves (Trump, Clinton, Sanders) for the sake of a vote, my vote is a show of public support for a candidate, to vote for someone I know is evil in deed and in word would make me a hypocrite and would not save any of those babies, since Jesus needs to be the King of Kings and Lords of Lords in the hearts of my countrymen before they can see the evil of their murderous ways.

      2.Because Trump is about pro-life as I am a genetically engineered cyborg (both fictional) He means absolutely nothing he claims, Trump is also pro-abortion, he claims he was 'converted' which is about as likely as a 3 dollar bill. He has also contributed money to transgender counseling organizations for elementary school kids, which means he denies objective reality of male and female by his own actions.

      3. Last I checked the base moral principle of the Catholic Church is that the ends DO NOT justify the means, if your argument is based on "well Trump could be pro-life..." that's a figleaf argument and I won't abide by that, I do agree with the duty to vote, but who I vote for is my decision, it is NOT a mortal sin to NOT vote for evil especially when you can publicly support men of better integrity. In my case it is Rubio, Cruz or Perry, I will not vote for outright evil when I know I had a choice.

    3. 1. "My vote is a show of public support for a candidate"..betrays a very narrow, artificially limited purpose of voting. We can also vote to oppose a candidate as well. If you refuse to vote, how does THAT save any babies? As far as "because it shows", shows whom? Whom are you trying to impress? As I recall, voting is done in secret. No one can be "shown" unless you tell them.

      2. What you say about Trump can be said many times over for either of the two Democratic candidates.

      3. "The ends do not justify the means" is only of concern when the means in question are inherently immoral. Voting to limit potential damage is by no means immoral; I believe it is immoral to refuse to do so and just let a proven murderer waltz into office.

      I had hoped, by the way, that I was talking of the general elections as opposed to the primary. Perry is out of the race so it's really down to Rubio or Cruz. I truly hope and pray that Cruz takes the nomination, although Rubio would also be superior to Trump. But by no means can we just sit by and let Clinton or Sanders take the White House without us using all legitimate means to stop them; or doesn't that matter?

  4. I agree with you. Not voting is a vote for Hilary. This is about who we do not want (and cannot permit to be elected) more than it is who we do want. It is absolutely absurd not to vote out of "protest."

    1. Yes, I agree, even a 'write in' vote is a vote for the Queen of the Culture of Death.......on steroids. I don't really trust Trump either, he has already praised Planned Parenthood for helping women with their 'health care needs' other than abortion! When not even ONE Planned Parenthood Clinic across the country has a mammogram machine???? I'm doubtful that they even do pap smears. PLANNED PARENTHOOD DOES ABORTIONS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY!!!!! But.....Trump has at LEAST said he would curtail government money going for abortions. Now, what he SAYS and what he actually WOULD DO may be two different things, but it MAY slow the death train we have running out of control now.

  5. Vote and live at peace with your conscience by writing-in the name of the candidate who you believe would best govern as Our Lord would wish. Abandon yourself to God and trust in Him alone.

    This lesser of two evils stuff has played long enough and produced wretched results year after year.

    1. Liam, you obviously did not read the links that define the Principle of Double Effect. Do consider that abstention from voting is itself an evil. The same goes with squandering a vote on someone who is not going to win, just so one can enjoy being "at peace".

  6. I am hearing from Catholics who say Trump isn't pro-life, and therefore they are not voting. I tell them that they are then casting HALF A VOTE for Hillary--who is infinitely more pro-abortion than Trump ever was.

    Trump does not fit my PERSONAL criteria for who is "pro-life," but he is running on the repeal of Obamacare, and religious liberty. With the repeal of Obamacare, the HHS Abortion Mandate vaporizes.

    I cannot condone the attitude that says: No candidate is perfect, so I will sit back and do nothing to prevent the worst candidate, a true Satanist abortion fanatic, win.

    1. Religious liberty is one of the reasons we have the moral crisis. Firstly, our founding fathers meant it to be that we worship God free of persecution in whatever "Christian" denomination we choose. The religious liberty intention has now been wrongly twisted by most, including our Bishops, to let Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists all have equal billing. They whine when the Satanism plea their case, but under the twisted interpretation now applied, they (Bishops) have no case. They are already siding with Satanism (Islam)/paganism (Hinduism /Buddhism) with their contrary to Church teaching view.

    2. John, what does all that have to do with the question at hand, namely, our obligation to vote?

    3. My apologies for not being clear. The above post mentioned how Trump is basically the lesser of two evils, how he is for religious liberty, repeal of Obamacare, etc. I was meaning to point out the major flaw of voting someone in on the religious liberty issue, pointing out its flaws. Also, I can't vote for a sociopath like Trump, who has lied every bit or more about his stances on various issues than those he points his finger at. He is far from trustworthy, morally inept. I'm writing my candidate in, that way I can't say I voted in the idiot representing either party, who will continue to bring ruin to our nation, once elected.

  7. There is no moral obligation to vote. There is an obligation to offer service to the country that one is a citizen of, but there is no way that that can be construed as an obligation to vote. Actually, such an admonishment is most often heard by liberal bishops and it reeks of Americanism. Better that a rosary be prayed than a vote be made.

    There is a certain absurdity in suggesting that a vote must be made even though there is no candidate worthy of a vote. In our day a very good case can be made that the freedom to vote is merely a carrot before the donkey's nose. The power of voting is no power at all, but merely an instrument used to soothe the ill-informed citizenry. We have an example of this today where the Republican party insiders reject about 70% of their party who seem minded to vote for Trump. These insiders care nothing about what the voters want, but only how to secure their power.

    1. Let's take a look at the definition of Americanism. Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical to Cardinal Gibbons entitled Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae , defined this heresy as a principle that holds that "n order to more easily [sic] attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions." I fail to see how a reminder of the obligation to vote fits that definition.

      "Better that a rosary be prayed than a vote be made"? Why not both? Why set up a false dichotomy between prayer and civic action? How about "ora et labora"?

      "There is an obligation to offer service to the country that one is a citizen of, but there is no way that that can be construed as an obligation to vote." Oh, yes it is. While we (still) have rights as citizens of the US, we have a duty to use those rights for the furtherance of God's kingdom. I believe we will be judged for squandering opportunities to bring God's voice into the public arena.

      If you intend not to vote (and I pray you do vote), what objective, tangible benefit do you think will be realized by your abdication of duty before both God and man?

  8. It's not immoral to vote in this case. I'm voting, but I'm going to write in Ben Carson or Rand Paul. No one who claims to be American, let alone Catholic, can vote for the Democrat representative, and Trump is a sociopath, has proven to be a dirty liar (worse than Cruz and Rubio). One only has to look back to recent history to read up on his views and his political contributions, not to mention he's on wife #3. We are almost better off if the Dems win; the car will then speed up and crash into the wall faster, and then finally everyone will hopefully wake up from the disaster. We can then begin the rebuilding process. Pray, and fast, the crap we have to vote for on either side will only lead us to ruin faster or slightly slower.

    1. "We are almost better off if the Dems win; the car will then speed up and crash into the wall faster, and then finally everyone will hopefully wake up from the disaster." Going back to the Principle of Double Effect, one of the tenets of it is that we may never will an evil effect so that good may come from it (if in fact it even would). "The crap we have to vote for on either side will only lead us to ruin faster or slightly slower". That might very well be the hand that we will be dealt. In that case, I believe we have a positive moral obligation to our children and those whom we love to mitigate any harm done.

    2. Based on that fact, I am not going to will an evil effect to bring about good, by voting for either party. I will write in an honorable candidate, being that Trump (if nominated) and Hillary are both evil, and I have no business supporting the evil person on either side.

  9. I have been contemplating this matter since last night all the more. Where Trump won considerable support, it's becoming questionable whether other candidates will be able to earn the nomination. I detest the idea, but we main wind up with a General Election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Eeek!! I have never felt that Hilary Clinton would be at all concerned with morals; if anything, she's demonstrated to me that she's quite willing to act to oppose morals. I can't vote for her in good conscience.

    I find I'm stuck with this quandary: If those two are the (effective) choice, do I legitimately expect to gain anything by voting for Trump? As I consider that thought, ...I'm less and less convinced that I can.
    If Trump has necer been quite as blatant about supporting abortion, same-sex marriage, or other vice as has Hilary, neither can I honestly say that he'll approach these matters much differently from her. Hilary is an obvious no-brainer; she's made her intentions plain really since her husband ran for President in '92. Trump...we really don't know so much.There's where I have a problem with voting for him.

    Fr VF comments that Trump is running on repealing PPACA and protecting religious liberty, but I'm hard pressed to recall any definite comments Trump has made regarding either matter in the last several months, nor how he'd approach either matter. That's a real problem! If pressed for answers, "The Donald" finds a way to effectively duck the question, usually providing a good bit of bluster or a cool-sounding sound bite. He's about as clear as mud about how he would actually handle these concerns.

    I do hope that either Cruz or Rubio will manage to either win enough delegates to undo Trump's coronation, or else force a brokered convention in which someone else entirely might be chosen. Failing that, I will seriously consider writing in either Cruz or Rubio for the General Election.
    Persuading me to act otherwise will require someone to demonstrate to me that Trump will not be as bad for key issues (abortion, "safe" sex, gay "marriage", limiting government, etc) as would be Hilary.
    Hilary would be horrid, but Pres Obama has been abominable for 8 years. We've survived, however poorly. I'm not yet convinced that Trump would be any kind of improvement.

    I have yet to see any evidence that Trump holds to any particular principles--aside from immense skill as a negotiator--that will make him a President I would tolerate helping to elect.

  10. Continuing to vote in national elections is to give one's approval to the insane liberalism that is America, the Evil Empire, and it is in no way sinful not to vote to approve of such a government and a vote for lesser evil is a vote for evil.

    I quote from Baltimore Catechism question 64: "What is actual sin? Actual sin is any willful thought, desire, word, action, or omission forbidden by the law of God".

    Are you claiming that God forbids us from not voting; said otherwise, commands us to vote?

    1. As I read from the first few chapters of Jeremiah 29 and the first few verses of 1 Timothy 2, I'd have to say "yes". In both these passages, God is exhorting His followers to seek the good of the localities in which they resided. He didn't speak specifically of voting or any political system (in the Jeremiah passage, He was speaking to exiles and in Timothy He was speaking to those under Roman rule). Jesus also tells us that "to whom much is given, much is expected". If we have the right to vote, how dare we not use it to the betterment of His people and furtherance of God's kingdom - or at least to resist further corrosion of faith and morals?

      I also must counter your first sentence with this: "Refusing to vote in national elections is to give one's permission for the insanity in America to continue". Part of the reason (maybe a large part) is because for too long Christians have been passive and apathetic towards politics and other civic matters. They have abdicated their duties and left a void - a void that evil people were all too happy to fill. SO we should let this continue?

      I repeat one of my earlier questions: what tangible, objective benefit is to be gained by not voting? Again, please read up on the Principle of Double Effect. It is NOT to be confused with the "lesser of two evils" canard.

    2. Your vote does not have the least bit of bearing on the outcome of elections other than to legitimise the existence of this evil empire.

      Your vote in the past for putative conservative candidates has resulted in what?

      America has legalised abortion and sodomitic marriage and we are drowning in an ocean of pornography; add to that the various unjust wars since you have been voting for conservatives; add to that usurious capitalism which results in the theft of labor an concentrates the wealth in fewer and fewer hands.

      Usury, a sin, is state sponsored but you tell others it is a sin not to vote to support it?

      Who is your candidate, Cruz?

      He is an insane zionist who told the Christian Palestinians seeking his help to "stand with Israel." He has spoken about extensive carpet bombing to such a point that we might see the sand glow.

      How can you vote for him in good conscience?

    3. https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/reconciled-to-the-king/

    4. ABS, dare I ask what your "non-vote" has accomplished? We need to weigh the options as they present themselves, not as we might wish them to be. As for this "evil empire" canard, why don't you just pull a "Miley Cyrus" and find another country more to your liking? If none exists, I'd suggest you get off your foolish high horse and take some practical steps to improve this one.

    5. Dear Restore. You and your ilk have been dutifully voting and it has resulted in a government that has legalised Usury, Abortion, Sodomy,
      and Unjust wars.

      Stop failing would be a start.

      If you are going to claim your vote would overturn any of those sins crying to Heaven for vengeance you could be Baker Acted in Florida.

      You also seem unable to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism; worse, you act unpatriotically when you vote for moral monsters while telling others then are sining by not voting for moral monsters

    6. https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/conservatism-elections-and-the-kantian-chasm/

  11. It is your obligation as a citizen to vote for the person you believe will govern most wisely and justly.

    If no candidate is satisfactory, then your obligation is to vote for the person who is least bad. If the choice is Trump vs. Hillary, it is obligatory to vote for Trump because:

    Trump does not have the history of bribery, murder, drug use, abortionism, alliance with the Jihad, open borders, and all the endless evils promoted by the Democrat party. There is no possibility that Trump will promote abortion in the way Hillary always has.

    I have seen one Catholic moral principle MISAPPLIED by many of the commenters: Namely: One may not do evil as a means to a good end.

    Commenter after commenter has said: "Voting for Trump is evil. Therefore I may not vote for Trump as a means of defeating Hillary."

    This is nonsense. If Trump's opponent is Hillary, a vote for Trump is NOT an evil act.

    Many here have said, "I will not vote. Thus, I will keep my soul pure." Nonsense again. Your duty is to keep the WORST candidate OUT of office. You do not keep your soul pure by committing a sin of omission.

    Failure to vote when a monster like Hillary is running is a sin of omission. Mathematically, not voting is to cast 1/2 of a vote for Hillary.

    I am seeing a lot of people stringing together phrases from moral theology that they have picked up somewhere. What I am NOT seeing is a lot of sound moral reasoning.

    1. Dear Father. Perhaps this is more complicated than you and tis Blogger make it out to be.

      Vote for Trump? He is a strident supporter of abortion and Planned Parenthood. With all due respect, some time spent of the blog of a determined non-voter might profit all of us. He has a ton on stuff on voting and double effect


    2. Reciting Trump's deficiencies is irrelevant unless they prove that he is WORSE than Hillary. Trump's base will rise up in outrage if he DID attempt any significant pro-abortion actions. Hillary's base is entirely pro-abortion.

      Trump is not a "pro-lifer." But he and Hillary are not even in the same universe when it comes to abortion.

    3. I would not call Trump a "strident" supporter of PP, etc.

      But, as I have said before, reciting Trump's flaws is pointless, unless you are proving that Trump is worse than Hillary. When voting, that is the only thing that matters: Keeping the WORST person out of office.

      If you vote for the "best" candidate, but he has no chance of winning, then you are FAILING IN YOUR DUTY to keep the worst person out of office.

      Let's say you vote for Mr. Perfect Catholic, who has no chance to win.

      Any feelings you have that you have kept your soul "clean" or "pure" are an ILLUSION, because you have failed to do your part in keeping the worst person out of office.

      It is an absolute impossibility that Trump is even in the same universe as Hillary when it comes to support for abortion, gay marriage, open borders, Jihad, one-world government, banksterism, fiat money, etc., etc.

      Moreover, Hillary's BASE is 100$ in favor every one of these evils, and more. Trump's BASE is, on the whole, opposed to them.

    4. Double Effect is of NO relevance to the act of of voting. Voting for a "bad" candidate who can win, but who is not the WORST candidate, is not an evil act, and its possible effect is not an evil effect. That entire blog is based on a nonsensical misunderstanding of the moral principles involved.

    5. No matter which candidate you vote for you are voting in support of a regime that has insititutinalised/legalised/formalised three of the four sins crying to Heaven for Vengeance;

      Willful murder (abortion, unjust was)
      Defrauding a laborer of his wages (usury)

      Not voting in favor of this evil is a sin but voting in favor of such an evil empire is ok?

    6. Dear Fr VF. You are way off base here writing a catholic can vote for Trump. He said in the last debate he would order soldiers to kill the families of terrorists.

      Double effect your way out of that and I'll eat every single palm tree in florida

    7. Trump did not say he would order troops to murder innocent people.

      He said he would alter the Rules of Engagement. The RoE's currently require our soldiers to withhold fire and die, if defending their own lives would result in any civilian casualties.

      Jihadis use civilians, including their own families, as shields. (This is, of course, illegal.) Trump said he would change the RoE's to allow our troops to fight--and especially to defend their own lives--even if doing so will kill those people the Jihadis are using as shields. This is a classic case in which the Principle of Double Effect applies, and allows our troops to kill the enemy and to defend themselves. The guilt for the deaths of the "human shields" belongs entirely to the enemy.

      As usual during this campaign, Trump's opponents have been lying about what he said.

      Another example:

      Trump said his healthcare plan would not allow the absolutely destitute to "die in the streets."

      Cruz ran with this, claiming over and over against that Trump "supports socialized single-payer healthcare for every American." A bald-faced lie. And only one of many bald-faced lies from Cruz.

    8. Dear Father. During the debate, Trump said he would kill the families of terrorists. It is true he later backed-off and chose to follow the law but he did not do what you claimed he did do


  12. "Fr VF comments that Trump is running on repealing PPACA and protecting religious liberty, but I'm hard pressed to recall any definite comments Trump has made regarding either matter in the last several months, nor how he'd approach either matter."

    Well, then, you must have spent the last few months in a cave. Trump makes these commitments DAILY at EVERY political rally. These are available on YouTube. These commitments are also on Trump's website.

    1. You are taking Trump at his word? The you must think that words trump Trump's actions over scores and scores of years.

      Identify his metanoia for us. Seriously, go ahead

      Lord have mercy

    2. Oh, I see. A voter should disregard everything a candidate SAYS, and judge the candidate ON THE STATE OF HIS SOUL.

      Nevertheless, to answer your question: Donald Trump entered into the state of sanctifying grace on October 5th, 2011.

    3. Dear Father. You don;t understand what the word metanoia means?

      ABS was merely writing that Trump has given no sign of having had a spiritual conversion, the result of which would be a change in what he has always supported.

      You can ignore his long history of action and choose to beleuve his campaign words but no matter what you do you can not claim ABS was judging his soul for that is not what was done.

      It is worth noting that your support of him is making you come unglued

  13. That entire blog is based on a nonsensical misunderstanding of the moral principles involved.

    Dear Father. These are very important questions and so it is not helpful for one like ABS (limited intellectually) to just be told essentially "I am right, he is wrong" when it comes to double effect for it appears to ABS that Zippy is right.

    What would be far more helpful is for you to tell us why Zippy is so obviously wrong; better yet, engage Zippy on his Blog and we can see the exchange that will be helpful to we lurkers.

    Please consider it. ABS is not trying a "Why don't you two fight?" tactic for entertainment but as a way for us to come to a better, or more complete, understanding of the problem.

    Thank you Father

  14. Mr. ABS, you have failed to list one benefit derived from your lack of participation in our civil process. Concurrently you continue to hurl self-righteous jabs at those of us who are striving to make progress against the culture of death. Inasmuch as you seem hell-bent on trying to have the last word in these comments to justify your passivity, I am bringing these screeds to a screeching halt right now. God help you.