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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yes, a Conscientious Catholic Can Vote for McCain

Over at Jimmy Akin's blog, "SDG" has a very thorough and well-reasoned multi-part argument regarding the issues facing a conscientious Catholic who is voting in the presidential election. McCain is not a perfect candidate when it comes to his stance on embryonic stem cell research and other moral questions. Because of this, some Fumare commenters have implied that a vote for McCain is therefore morally problematic and it would be better to vote for a third-party candidate.

SDG faces this head on and convincingly argues that, in any contest between two or more viable candidates, it is always morally legitimate to support and vote for the candidate one regards as the preferable or least problematic viable candidate. SDG argues that the contrary position that one cannot support the least problematic candidate unless he or she is free of all support for intrinsically evil policies is not supported by Catholic moral theology. Of course, SDG acknowledges that there may be legitimate reasons to vote for a nonviable, third-party, "quixotic" candidate. However, SDG argues that "one can never rightly claim that it is morally necessary not to vote for any viable candidate, or that those who do support or vote for the least problematic viable candidate are (however sincerely) objectively wrong to do so." SDG goes on to say that some of the vocal third-party-candidate advocates who loudly argue that they can't vote for the imperfect McCain in good conscience are actually doing a great disservice because these advocates "could help peel away critical support from McCain in battleground states, thereby indirectly contributing to an Obama victory. Morally speaking, this is not the same as actually supporting or voting for Obama, but the outcome for the common good of the country is no better for that."

Check out the whole argument. SDG's argument starts here with Part 1. In Part 6, SDG takes on the position of the third-party-candidate advocates.