Updated: Oct 30, 2020
The views expressed in this blog post reflect only those of the individual writer, not those of the BRCC as a whole.
Needless to say, this election season leaves my heart weary like the year.
As Catholics, we have certain political obligations. To hold respect for the dignity of each person, to focus on common good, and to participate in the civic life of our communities.
I have reflected long and hard on how to reconcile the way I vote with the way I pray. But I found that my voting is, in fact, a reflection of my faith. I believe that each person has free will to make the choices that are right for them, and it isn’t my prerogative to decide on their behalf. I believe that we should support each other, and especially that those of us with more to give should give more to those in need. I believe our laws should reflect this.
I’ve often heard people touting our Catholic beliefs of abortion as sin as a reason to vote the way they do. But issues that directly impact human life don’t stop at the womb. They continue into which children have access to clean drinking water. Which children are able to eat nutritious food, and which are forced to live in food deserts? Which kids get to study and grow in safe environments--free of fear of school shootings or being shot by the police, and which are seeds stomped into the cement? One party in the United States claims to follow the path of God, but its own leader is a perpetrator of sexual abuse and does not believe women deserve equal rights under the law. Is this a party I can support? More importantly, is this a party that Jesus would agree with? I can’t speak for Him, but I don’t see how a campaign based on the hatred of minorities and violence against the disenfranchised could be considered a campaign any follower of Christ could follow, as well.
I think what baffles me the most is how entitled some of our arguments feel to other people’s bodies. I had someone tell me I was sinning by taking birth control, and she never stopped to consider that it’s the only way I can control my chronic illness. If we force the laws of this nation to reflect only our religious beliefs, is that merciful and understanding? What does that say about our relationship with every other Child of God, believer or non-? We are not asked to force people to accept Christ. That would make us nothing more than modern-day conquistadors, committing a genocide of people who didn’t bend at the knee before our God. Of those who don’t bend at the specific angle we think is deep enough. But that’s never been what Christ has asked of us. He wants us to love and respect one another, to show grace and understanding, to lead by example and not by force. When it comes to most other sins that don’t pertain to a woman’s body, we don’t legislate away the ability to commit those sins. We create a community that leads by example by not committing the sins we stand against. But Christ tells us to not lie, and our own president has shown us that it’s clearly not illegal. The Lord tells us not to hold another God above him, but we don’t create a national religion here. I still believe in the promise of America, a country that opens her arms to all, feeds the hungry, heals the sick, cares for the poor. I think that version of America is the closest we come to following Christ. If we’re so busy legislating stones to throw at our neighbors, how will we love them, as Christ has commanded us to?
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)
I don’t feel that either of America’s two parties truly reflect the entirety of my beliefs, but I think there’s one that comes much closer than the other to them. I vote like I think Mary might have, looking for the solution that causes the least harm to her children. I vote for the mothers at the border, grieving for the children this administration stole from them. I vote for the women who feel they have no choice but to abort because the government does not protect them if they survive their pregnancy. I vote for the students I’ve taught in classrooms, so bright and so scared that we will not take care of them, concerned that as adults we’re too caught up in petty arguments to come together for the common good. I vote for the people who died to give me a safe home to return to at the end of the day, with a table full of food, and the freedom to think and question and wonder and dream.
This election goes beyond America. Do we reward the tantrums of a would-be tyrant? Do we approve of the way he behaves towards the people who have nothing to offer him? And if we do not, what will our votes tell the world about us?
If voting is our voice, would we not rather use it to heal the wounds we’ve made on our neighbors, friends, and sons?
Because I am Catholic, because I believe in the dignity of each person and in the priority of common good, I vote blue. My conscience and my heart beg me to protect my loved ones, to choose the softer blow, to look for an administration that would listen to its people, as opposed to the one that steamrolls over half of them. I vote blue like Mary, because I know what warmth and welcome we’re capable of as a nation. I vote blue because it’s the party that I believe cares for God’s creation in the most holistic sense of the principle.
Marie-Anne Barrón is a Junior concentrating in Cognitive Neuroscience & Education Studies.