I’m a big fan of dark chocolate so it was with great delight that I embraced the news of dark chocolate’s anti-oxidant properties. That was all I needed to hear in order to justify my personal intake of the wonderful substance. Once it began being used as a cover for such things as raisins and almonds and cherries, well, it was as if the food fairy had granted my every wish. With that knowledge in hand, convincing myself that my snacks of dark chocolate covered raisins and almonds and cherries were quite nutritious was a piece of cake (pun intended).
So, when I recently engaged in a passionate exchange about the responsibilities of being a Catholic voter, it was easy for me to recognize the ol’ it-has-anti-oxidant-properties-and-an-almond-is-good-for-you-thus-dark-chocolate-covered-almonds-should-be-part-of-any-health-conscious-person’s-daily-diet thinking of my friend.
After all, aren’t we all trying to convince ourselves of one erroneous thing or another? Even when we know better? And I could hardly fault this misinformed voter as I dearly clung to my one pound bag of nutritious, healthy dark chocolate covered cherries. Isn’t that how the game is played? If I allow you to tell yourself one thing that I know to be false, it is fair to assume you will allow me to tell myself another thing that you know to be false?
As Catholics, I am sure that we are all well aware of our responsibilities at the polls. It is almost as if we don’t really have to have this conversation. And yet, consider how many Catholics vote or hold office with the proclamation that “choice” is a choice, or that other issues stack up, equally, with the abortion issue. They don’t. This isn’t my opinion, this is the teaching of our one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. We can try to convince ourselves of anything we want and yet it simply won’t change the reality of our obligations as a Catholic voter. No matter what, a daily binge of a pound of dark chocolate covered raisins is not going to promote a healthier me.
I have enjoyed the heated interactions on Catholic Exchange when Mary Kochan, our beloved (and sometimes beleaguered, as well) Senior Editor, suggests that the line in the sand is abortion (it being one of the non-negotiables). Then someone logs in and offers that war and human rights are just as important. Then Mary, God bless her, will take the time to explain how nothing else matters if we don’t sustain the human dignity of the unborn and while war can be called just or unjust, it still can’t be the line in the sand. You can feel the passion of these online conversations and yet somehow, somewhere, we as Catholics have to get the bottom of the matter. We must seek the Truth, which for us is in Christ. We can wholeheartedly agree that fair wages for a day’s work and care for the elderly are critical issues we face in America, or that the demise of our health care system or predicted collapse of social security are dire and pressing matters; but they won’t matter if we vote for politicians that say unborn babies can be killed. If we cannot honor those we can’t see; how can we honor those we can?
I do admire and encourage everyone’s interest in delving deeper into what it means to be a Catholic voter and as political ads begin flooding the airwaves, I pray that each and every Catholic voter at the polls thoroughly understands his or her responsibility to God’s kingdom and where the line in the sand is truly drawn.