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One issue is more than enough

Patrick Gallagher | Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In his column “One issue isn’t enough” (Jan. 28), Mr. Durkin writes that modern politics is complex and urges us not to vote based simply on the pro-life/pro-choice debate. This exhortation, however, fails to take into account the nature of the right to life as the underpinning of all other rights.
Our Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is very clear it is not possible to protect liberty and the pursuit of happiness without first protecting life, and for this reason the debate regarding the sanctity of life is not simply “one issue” as Mr. Durkin claims, nor can it be equated to school vouchers or climate change. Blessed Pope John Paul II explains this in his Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, writing, “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”
Because the right to life is so basic, and because the importance of all other political issues pale in comparison to it, abortion and euthanasia are among the non-negotiable issues the Church has stated all Catholics must vote against – both by voting against the policies themselves and by voting against candidates who endorse them. In effect, when it comes to voting for candidates who are pro-life, nothing else matters.   
So in response to Mr. Durkin’s question, “Does it really make sense to base political judgments so heavily on someone’s views on one issue alone,” I say yes, it does, because neither tax reform nor foreign policy matter one iota in a society that does not recognize the basic right to life of all of its citizens.
 Patrick Gallagher
Knott Hall