Weighing life in the presidential election

By Father Joseph Breighner
So, who do we vote for? Obviously, I can’t endorse any candidate. And since I’m writing this in the beginning of September, long before the debates and the election and the debates, any opinion I would offer might change.
Many of us are old enough to remember elections when the choices seemed better, and the elections seemed happier. I remember when John F. Kennedy was nominated. His brothers, Robert and Edward, were waiting in the wings. A humorist at the time did a routine where he imagined only Kennedys could run for office: “Vote! Vote for the Kennedy of your choice, but vote!”
Great tragedies, of course, followed that election.
This year the election itself could be a tragedy. There have never been so many negatives toward each candidate. I’m reminded of a Woody Allen writing years ago. He wrote: “We are faced with absolute destruction or total annihilation. Pray we choose wisely.”
What do we do? First, we can pray for both candidates. I have to confess that I often get wrapped up in the issues and personalities, that I forget that they too need prayer. This is not a sporting event. This is the future of our country, and certainly an influence on the future of our planet.
Who is the pro-life candidate?
Allow me to tell a story. Recently, the Catholic Church helped open another pregnancy center on Belair Road in Overlea, across the street from an abortion clinic.
One day a mother dropped her daughter off at the clinic to have an abortion. But the young woman paused before going into the center, and noticed the Pregnancy Center. She went to the pregnancy center instead. She chose life.
I realize that abortion is not the only pro-life issue. As someone said, to win the Democratic nomination you must receive the endorsement of Planned Parenthood, and to receive the Republican nomination you must receive the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.
We know too well the deaths caused by certain weapons. Yet, there are also lives saved by weapons. Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun controls, and still the highest incidence of gun violence. Good citizens keep the law. Criminals do not.
On the other hand, I have yet to see good coming from an abortion. I have counseled too many women who have regretted that decision the rest of their lives.
Advocates of abortion speak of “safe abortions,” but the procedure was not safe for the unborn child. By dehumanizing the child, we make abortion a procedure rather than a murder.
No, I’m not trying to inflict more guilt on women who have had abortions. You’ve suffered enough. We all stand in need of God’s love and forgiveness, none more than I.
And I can understand why many women seek abortions. Virtually every commercial, every program has something sexually stimulating about it. Our society has made sex mandatory and life optional. It works better the other way around.
I always credit Monsignor Jim Farmer with the quote: “The Scriptures tell us that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby stirred in her womb. It didn’t say the fetus stirred. It said the baby.”
By depersonalizing life, we have made life optional. We have to find candidates who resist that. As the saying goes: “It’s a child, not a choice.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were more than 1 million abortions in the United States in 2011, the last year it has reported data. What a tragedy.
Yes, there are many more life issues – global warming, terrorism, viruses and infections.
If we can agree that life is worth protecting, then let’s vote for the candidate we believe best protects it.

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