Election 2012: Catholics Vote for the Common Good
As Catholics faced with critical choices during this election year, we come together as faithful citizens guided by the Gospel commands to love our neighbors, protect the most vulnerable and hold the powerful accountable. We are also “values voters” – Catholic priests, women religious and lay Catholics – who believe the narrow agenda of the religious right does not speak for most people of faith
As Catholics who defend the sanctity of human life, we stand up for the unborn, the homeless, the inmate on death row, the environment and our neighbors suffering from hunger because all life is created in the image of God.
At a time when our nation is plagued by the highest poverty rate in five decades and the richest 400 Americans now own more wealth than half of all Americans combined, we reject a radical individualism that threatens a commitment to the common good.
At a time of budget cutting and debt reduction, we believe fiscal responsibility must be rooted in economic fairness and not cause more hardship for the struggling middle class and low-income families.
At a time when workers’ rights are under assault, we stand with our bishops and Church teaching that affirm the vital role of unions.
While some elected officials and candidates demonize government, we join religious leaders from diverse faith traditions who have called for a “Circle of Protection” to defend government programs that help the most vulnerable.
Our economy needs a moral foundation and should serve all Americans, not simply the privileged few. The priorities of Wall Street bankers and political parties must not be confused with the teachings of Jesus. Those who insist that tax breaks for the wealthy must be paid by cuts to programs that literally save lives do not embody the spirit of the Gospel. Those who think it’s class warfare” when millionaires and billionaires are asked to contribute to the common good should consider what class is winning when 46 million people – including one in five children – live in poverty.
This election raises essential questions and presents stark choices. Can we address our fiscal challenges without shredding social safety nets that help those most in need? Should insurance companies profit from denying care to the sick, or will we defend health care reform? Will we protect the environment or continue to deny threats to God’s creation? Are we still a nation that believes all immigrants should be treated with dignity? Are we all in this together, or are we simply looking out for ourselves? These are profound questions about values and the kind of country we will leave to future generations. We commit ourselves to putting our faith into action during this election year, speaking up for those without a voice and holding candidates and elected officials accountable to the common good.