The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



The social responsibility to vote Democrat

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, March 9, 2006

I found the article in Wednesday’s edition of The Observer titled “Faith impacts political choices, lecturer says” to be an interesting look at the politics of the Catholicism. However, I take issue with [junior] Matt Smith’s comments about the compatibility of Catholicism and Republicanism. His case is built on the stances of the Republican Party on what he calls “the five non-negotiable issues of abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage.”

Let me first say that I find the Republican Party’s defense of life admirable. I believe the work to foster a greater respect for life is crucial and I believe that in Democratic Party there is a growing minority who share these views. However, saying that these five issues are the only “non-negotiable” ones in Catholic faith misstates Catholic teaching.

One place where I take one major issue with Smith is on gay marriage. What basis is there for gay marriage being non-negotiable? Perhaps in discussing gay marriage Smith should consider that gay marriage is mentioned four times in the Bible, twice in the book of Leviticus, which also suggests that livestock should be used as sacrifices. Furthermore, gay marriage is unmentioned in the Gospels.

However, as I said before, I respect Smith’s emphasis on life. I would only challenge his party to consider its consistency on life. If life is a gift from God, how does he explain the large percentage of Republicans who support taking life through the death penalty?

Finally, Smith’s views on non-negotiable issues fail to mention social justice and peace. All three of these issues are mentioned on numerous occasions in the Gospels as central tenets of Jesus’ teaching. In his encyclical “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concerns)” Pope John Paul II voiced concerns about Conservative fiscal policy. These issues are also non-negotiable, yet conservative ideology contradicts Biblical and Papal teaching on all three.

I challenge readers to study the Gospels and decide if conservatives have a monopoly on faith. I do not suggest the Democratic Party is without contradictions, but the Republican Party fails in essential ways.

Michael FolgerfreshmanZahm HallMarch 8