Voting Catholic When Both Candidates are Flawed

BCI is having and observing many discussions about the upcoming election–specifically how to vote Catholic when both major party candidates declare themselves pro-choices or have political records that are flawed on Catholic moral issues.  Some Catholics are saying they would rather vote for no one or an independent candidate to stay true to their Catholic values. We would like to present a different perspective called, “It’s the Supreme Court, Stupid.”

A comment from “Fr. J” conveyed a perspective we thought other readers should see:  “If neither major candidate is perfect on moral issues important to Catholics, it is morally permissible to vote for the one likely to do less harm.”

This video version of the Voters Guide for Serious Catholics conveys the same principle at around 6:45:

A transcript of the video can be found here.  Of note is the following passage:

“In some political races, where every candidate endorses positions contrary to non-negotiable principles, choose the candidate who takes the fewest wrong positions and who is likely to do the least harm.”

Now let us bring this home to Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate race and also to the presidential race.  BCI believes, as several readers have stated in comments, that one of the biggest impacts of this election affecting Catholics will be in Supreme Court appointments over the next four years.

For U.S. Senate, Scott Brown and Elizabeth “Liawatha” Warren are both campaigning as pro-choice, but that does not make them both equally flawed. For Catholics, Warren is far more concerning.

Here is a listing of Brown’s positions on abortion and life-related issues–he at least opposes partial-birth abortion, supports conscience exemptions for religious organizations on contraception, and co-sponsored the Women’s Right to Know Act, which would require a woman to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the developmental progress of her fetus.

Warren has made her appeal to women along with her support for abortion rights and “women’s reproductive health issues” a big part of her campaign messaging.  Scott Brown responded with ads saying he is also pro-choice. But Warren is extreme. Warren is supported by the pro-abortion, Emily’s List, which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to help her get elected.

In the third debate, Warren named Elena Kagan as a model Supreme Justice, and criticized Brown for him having voted to reject her nomination. Elena Kagan is pro-abortion and helped advance Bill Clinton’s position in favor of partial birth abortion. Read these two articles to get a sense for the sort of candidate Elizabeth Warren sees as a model for the Supreme Court:

When Kagan Played Doctor: Elena Kagan’s partial-birth abortion scandal

Elena Kagan on abortion: more than meets the eye

In that same debate, Brown named Antonin Scalia as a model Supreme Court Justice.

If you do not think this election is about Supreme Court nominations, think again after you consider a recent Elizabeth Warren campaign ad, and who she has campaigning with her:

Warren’s critique of Brown on issues affecting women is part of a campaign to persuade voters that this election is about which party controls the Senate.

“The next Supreme Court justice could overturn Roe v. Wade,” one of Warren’s recent television ads says. “One vote could make the difference: your vote against a Republican Senate, your vote for Elizabeth Warren.”

At her headquarters last week, Warren was joined by Sandra Fluke, the law student Rush Limbaugh called a “prostitute” for testifying in favor of insurance coverage of contraception. Fluke made the argument that Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to women’s rights.

 “This race here in Massachusetts is important beyond Massachusetts,” Fluke said. “This is a race that could very well decide who controls the Senate for the next term. A vote for Scott Brown is a vote for a Republican majority.”

So, how should a faithful Catholic vote on this one?  Which U.S. Senator would you rather have deciding on whether to approve the next Supreme Court justice–the radically pro-abortion Elizabeth Warren or the moderately pro-choice Scott Brown?  Which do you think will do the least harm?  If you do not want Elizabeth Warren to win, what is the best way to use your one vote to keep her from winning?

  • Do you not vote for anyone?
  • Do you vote for a 3rd party candidate who has no chance at winning (which is essentially throwing away your vote and giving the advantage to Warren)?
  • Or do you hold your nose and vote for Brown, as the candidate with at least some chance of beating Warren, in order to keep the candidate likely to do the most harm out of office?

BCI thinks that decision should be an easy one.

Regarding the presidential race, BCI believes the thought process should be similar.  For serious Catholics, both Obama and Romney are flawed.  Assuming the Senate remains controlled by the Democratic party, would you rather have the next Supreme Court nominees come from Obama or Romney?  Voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning in the Electoral College may feel good the moment when you cast your ballot, but will it feel good the next day if Obama wins?  As “Objective Observer” objectively observed:

“Ask yourself how you will feel, when you wake up on November 7th, and hear that Barack Obama has been re-elected by a razor thin margin, and it’s the votes that went to [the third-party candidate]”

There are times when we would prefer not to vote “for” either candidate, so that leaves voting against the one you like less.”

With respect to either the U.S. Senate race or the presidential election, BCI will restate that we think “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid.”  For the sake of the future of the country, we believe serious Catholics should hold their noses and vote for the candidate who will do the least harm, in order to keep out of office the candidate who will do the most harm.

12 Responses to Voting Catholic When Both Candidates are Flawed

  1. David S. says:

    BCI, thank you for this post. My wife and I have been struggling with not voting for either candidate or voting for Scott Brown.

    I think the notion of “holding one’s nose” and voting for Scott Brown is too kind. This piece of trash supports the continued killing of unborn babies, and more recently homosexual marriage. I am sick to my stomach at the notion of voting for this murderous politician.

    However you are absolutely correct in that this really comes down to the Supreme Court and there is no doubt that Warren will under no circumstances vote for a nominee who is pro-life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s the economy, jjobs, and foreign policy! Not women’s issues, not abortion, not immigration

    • jbq2 says:

      In reply as a Catholic, you have to base your decisions on moral precepts. Judas was the first Catholic immoral businessman. His first thoughts were of “30 pieces of silver”.

  3. Catholic Joe says:

    If you watch this excellent video, you’ll see that certain issues are non-negotiable for serious Catholics. Even if you’re not a Catholic who takes these issues seriously in voting and you think, wrongly, that they’re superseded by the economy, jobs and foreign policy, we can’t get much worse than what we’ve had over the past four years at a national level. At no time in his time in public office has Obama ever balanced a government budget. How anyone who calls themselves “Catholic” could ever vote such that would help Obama get reflected (or help Warren get elected) is beyond my comprehension.

  4. saintpio1 says:

    A 3rd party vote COULD win. go to his site and read what he is about. He also has 76% of the electoral votes he needs. He can be written in on most state ballots who don’t have his name on them. WE JUST NEED TO GET THE WORD OUT FAST!!

  5. Liam says:

    Btw, unrelated but on the most important issue facing MA Catholic voters on the local ballot, here comes Ezekial Emmanuel (Rahm’s brother) throwing cold water on the pro-PA-suicide arguments:

  6. ANNE says:

    1) Catholic citizens are required to Vote.


    3) No Catholic may vote for any candidate who supports intrinsic evils.

    4) If both candidates support an intrinsic evil, we must vote for the candidate most likely to do the least harm.

    For comparisons on the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms go to or search ” What Catholics REALLY Believe Source “.
    (See answer to question #13)
    It is true that the next President with the approval of the Senate will probably appoint one if not two Justices of the US Supreme Court and some seats on the Distrist Courts and Appeals Courts across the USA.

  7. ANNE says:

    ‘CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition’- – –

    QUOTE: – – – CCC: ” 2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally OBLIGATORY to pay taxes, to exercise the right to VOTE, and to defend one’s country:

    Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

    [Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.
    The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.” – – – UNQUOTE

    • Marie says:

      saintpio 1,

      Some goals are best reached by a circuitous route and Tom Hoefling stands a chance of being elected in 4 years, but not now. The word that must be gotten out is that a third party cannot win the 2012 election

      If a vote is wasted and the wrong candidate becomes President, then there will be a grooming of the next presidential candidate and that grooming will occur over the next 4 years; we all know the players; see the writing on the wall. Know that if the wrong candidate is elected then there will be a continuation of the past 4 years and in 2016 an extension of the agenda.

      Read again the information that John O’Gorman shared in the previous blog and vote for the best candidate based on that information. And, then, work diligently to get Tom Hoefling elected in 2016.

      John O’Gorman wrote: “I have researched the Catholics in Congress and summarized as follows: Democrats: 80 (91%) Pro-Abortion Catholics, and 3 (3%) Pro-Life: 27 to 1 (5 Mixed)………
      Total 88 Republican: 0 (0%) Pro-Abortion Catholics, and 70 (97%) Pro-Life: 0 to 70 (2 Mixed)……..Total 72 *SUMMARY: 80 (50%) Pro-Abortion Catholics outnumber 73 (46%) Pro-Life (7 Mixed)….Total 160 Startling Contrast: Among Catholics in Congress, 3% of Dems are Pro-Life v. 97% of Republicans! Anyone seeking my research on the K of C or Catholics in Congress can contact me, John O’Gorman, at _LifeJohn@aol.com_ ( ”


    • Liam says:

      Just an important clarification: The moral obligation to exercise a vote is *not* a moral obligation to limit one’s choice to the top two political parties: the Church imposes no such moral obligation on the faithful, and we must strain to avoid encouraging to infer (let alone imply or state, even worse) that any such obligation exists.

      • Marie says:

        You, Liam, are very correct. Democracy in action only and having nothing whatsoever to do with the Church.The only obligation, I feel, is to vote.

        Any who wish to cast a vote to support a candidate who best represents their particular philosophy should do so. However, if they do so thinking that the vote will result in a win for an underdog candidate, then I would try each and every time to point up the fact that it is a wasted vote and helps neither their candidate nor accomplishes their goal; nor, does it make all right in the world. Nor, in this case, would it send a message either to the selected candidate or the frontrunners. Ultimately, they do what they will in the voting “booth”.

        Too much in the balance with this particular race to waste a very precious weapon: the vote.

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