Catholics Can Vote for Obama Without Sin

In today’s LA Times, this Op-Ed by Douglas Kmiec.  And for Catholics, reassurance that a vote for Senator Obama is not a sin.

From the column:

Some Republicans are telling Catholics that supporting Obama is a sin. Catholics are instructed not to cast a ballot for an advocate of abortion, but these partisans overstate the church’s teaching to make an even broader claim: Namely, that a pro-choice candidate is off-limits too. Were this true, Obama’s substantial lead in the polls might be subject to religious preemption among the 25% to 30% of voters who are Catholic in such battleground states as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Florida.

So can Catholics vote for a pro-choice candidate? The answer is yes, but as I found when I publicly endorsed Obama, you’ve then got “some ‘splain’n’ to do.” It’s a matter of conscience, but had Obama proclaimed himself to be pro-choice and said nothing more, it would have been problematic. But there are those additional words about appropriate education as well as adoption and assistance for mothers who choose to keep their baby.

Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on abortion, the common political ideal may consist only of that space. This does not, of course, leave the right to life undecided or unprotected. Nor for that matter does the reservation of space for individual determination usurp for Caesar the things that are God’s, or vice versa. Rather, it allows this sensitive moral decision to depend on religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual’s voluntary embrace of one of many faiths.

  15 comments for “Catholics Can Vote for Obama Without Sin

  1. Maria
    October 17, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    I started reading some of the comments, but had to stop at the first couple of pages. I found it interesting that there were a number of men who bemoan Obama and the Catholics or Christians who support him, and I wonder if there were similar comments from women. It irritates me that they keep misrepresenting the Freedom of Choice Act and using an anti-choice site as a source ( Why not just go to the source and decide for yourself what is, and what isn’t, included in FOCA??

    For the record, I respect Kimiec for keeping an open mind about Obama, and seeing beyond the abortion issue. I am glad that he, as well as family members who are active Catholics, will be voting for Obama. In a way, Bush is to thank for this: war-mongering pro-lifers aren’t trying to protect all lives, they are just anti-abortion and anti-choice.

  2. Jubal
    October 17, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Kmiec has done an outstanding job…of soothing his own conscience about supporting the most extreme pro-choice candidate in memory. But he presents a very weak argument for a faithful Catholic to support Barack Obama.

  3. Ken Maddox
    October 18, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I will leave the mini lesson on Catholic doctrine to Matt C. He is very knowledgable. However, I’m confident the law with respect to sin doesn’t leave room for individual judgement. Fortunately, we are not saved by scriptural law but by faith in Christ. Our lives are replete with sin. Fortunately, the innocent bitter suffering and death of Christ saves us from our sin.

    Obama supporters who are concerned with the “sin of abortion” need to ask themselves how comfortable they are with their sin. Does their willfull sin without repentence trouble them?

    If , they don’t believe abortion to be a sin then they probably don’t care what the Catholic church says.

  4. anon
    October 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm


    You hit the nail on the head. But what people like Jubal want to do is focus on sin/issues that don’t touch THEM. In other words, focus on the other person’s sin instead of EVER looking in the mirror.

  5. Mickey Souza
    October 19, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I am a devout Catholic, and asked my priest (who like Mr. Brown happens to be black) about this opinion. His response, first of all that the Catholic Church respects the separation of church and state.

    Second, he personally advised tht you should not silo you decision into a single issue, such as that of abortion–but look at all the issues involved.

    For instance, if you take the waging of war; we (Christians) are against it and killing one another, yet McCain believes it is a viable and seemingly preferable option. Next, the Republican stance for The Death Penalty is against that of the Catholic Church. This too is a very contraversial and divisive issue that McCain supports. Lastly, we believe in the sacredness of our Earth and it’s conservation. The Republican stance is to be less focused in caring for the ecology and preservation of our world.

    I myself detest abortion and have experieced personal pain watching as some of my family members got caught in it’s horrible undercurrents. However making myself blind to everything else because of it, would make it a more powerful enemy than it already is t me.

    Two quotes that have bearing on this subject:

    The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek.
    [1596 Shakespeare Merchant of Venice i. iii. 93]

    And Jesus answered him, “It is said, you shall not put the Lord God to the test”. -Luke 4:12

  6. Mary Catherine
    October 20, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Christians and Catholics are NOT to vote pro choice. A true Christian knows in their heart who to vote for. Any priest who tells you otherwise needs to go to confession and get his head examined. God says “Choose Life, not DEATH.” Don’t listen to radicals like Douglas Kmiec, he’s clueless and has rejected scripture. There is NO religious freedom, there’s God’s way or the highway when it comes to this issue. You are preaching some dangerous spiritual cyanide Kmiec. On judgment day, Kmiec won’t be there to save you or the U.S. Supreme Court. Vote Life

  7. October 21, 2008 at 1:18 am

    So Mary Catherine…

    Does your comment mean that all the conservative knuckle-dragging self-identified good christians who support the death penalty are not “true christians?” After all, as you say; God says “Choose Life, not DEATH.”

  8. Mary Catherine
    October 21, 2008 at 5:48 am

    God does say, CHOOSE LIFE….where the INNOCENTand helpless are concerned. The key word is innocent. There is also a time to CHOOSE war. Throughout the Old Testament we find many cases in which God commands the use of capital punishment. There is also a time to choose justice. As a paralegal who has seen more than my share of criminal activity at its worse, I am for capitol punishment and a Christian for 30 years.. I’m talking about certain members of our society who can’t be cured and who have committed the unthinkable, the most haneous acts. I have never once grieved in my spirit for taking this position. Killing the unborn though is never justified. They did nothing to deserve this.

  9. Mary Catherine
    October 21, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Mickey Souza-sorry to hear your priest gave such a spineless, wishy-washy answer. Did you ever get a concrete answer to your question?

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    October 21, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Christians and Catholics need to vote based on more than one issue; there are other issues where Republicans fail Christian principals.

  11. Mary Catherine
    October 21, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I concur Dan. Thank you.

  12. October 21, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Maybe I’m just a misunderstanding the “Scriptures,” But where in the Ten Commandments does it say “Thou shall not kill (except in the case of)?

  13. Mary Catherine
    October 21, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I wouldn’t try that argument with law enforcement or in front of a judge. Is it Bibically wrong if a policeman shoots a bank robber and kills him? Is it wrong to shoot and kill an intruder who breaks into your home? I’m sorry if you don’t understand the obvious.

  14. October 29, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Abortion is INTRINSICALLY EVIL. Got a catechism? If not, they’re available if you’re brave enough to read it, and put your misinformed, misguided ideology aside. There are 5 NON negotiables for serious Catholic voters. Jesus said either your for me or against me. No wiggle room for the Marxist candidate here, or for his duped entourage and lemming voters. What part of NON negotiable don’t the “liberal, open-minded” Catholics get? Google search it. 5 NON negotiables for Catholic voters. Nearly 50 million babies (documented) aborted since ’73. That’s one third of my sons’ generation NOT here to vote because of legalized murder. Abortion “on demand” has a very sinister ring to it, does it not? The DEFENSELESS babies in the womb, or (“killing field” these days) who are not even allowed their first breath don’t have anywhere to even TRY to hide from the scalpel and suction tube. What we do to THE LEAST we do to Christ. There’s no equating the war or the death penalty to abortion. They are NOT the same. Educate yourselves by reading the Catechism and stop parsing, dicing and slicing words to justify and rationalize your anything BUT Catholic stance on voting for Pro Death candidate. For being so brilliant, some of your gyrations at attempting to minimize abortion into an “issue” is stunning! Since when were you just an “issue?” You were all former embryos, and are now here blabbing in a com box and spouting heresy. Aren’t you glad you weren’t an “issue” to your moms and that your moms CHOSE to give you life? Jesus did NOT say, “let the children come unto me….but abort as many on demand as you deem necessary.” Maybe in your liberal, gender neutral, ever so tolerant bibles, but not mine!

  15. mary
    October 29, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    well i think abortation is bad cause its killing a life of a baby its liek killing sombody imagen that is so harsh im a catholic but im still voting for obama but it is bad its killing a life

Comments are closed.