by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
In a democratic society, an essential part of Christian discipleship is to exercise our right to participate in choosing those who represent us in government. We have a responsibility to be engaged citizens who work actively for the common good.
For the Catholic, voting is not just a good thing to do, but a moral responsibility. Many people have made heroic sacrifices to give us the freedoms we enjoy. We have a duty as Americans, Kansans and Catholics to take advantage of our right to vote.
Moreover, we are called not simply to vote, but to be well-informed voters who, in casting our ballots, apply the moral principles and priorities of our faith. Since the beginning of our nation, the Catholic bishops have chosen not to endorse political candidates or parties. The Catholic Church does not tell its members how to vote.
At the same time, it is the responsibility of the church to help form the consciences of her members to understand the principles and priorities that should guide their decisions as voters.
There are many important moral issues facing our society. For the sake of brevity, I wish to reflect upon three that are particularly timely.
Racism is an intrinsic moral evil that results in grave injustice to its victims, but also is an offense against God, who has created every human being in the divine image. We must choose leaders who not only oppose racism but are committed to healing its festering wounds.
Peaceful protests are constitutional rights that need to be respected and protected. However, violent riots resulting in the deaths of innocent victims and the destruction of public monuments and private property are also grave evils. Our leaders have a responsibility to protect citizens and preserve civil order.
This past November, the Catholic bishops of the United States again identified the protection of unborn children as the pre-eminent moral priority because: 1) abortion attacks the most vulnerable and innocent; 2) abortion occurs within the family, destroying the most precious human bonds thus harming parents; and 3) the sheer number of human lives destroyed, nearly one million annually, adds to abortion’s societal importance.
Tragically, the Kansas Supreme Court has claimed to have discovered a right to abortion in our state constitution.
To correct this grave injustice imposed by the court, the Value Them Both constitutional amendment needs to be adopted by the citizens of Kansas.
We need elected officials who will take action to defend the innocent life of the unborn and their mothers.
The Value Them Both constitutional amendment, while not prohibiting abortion, returns to our state Legislature the ability to enact laws that place restrictions on the abortion industry, protecting both mother and child.
Passage of the Value Them Both amendment requires affirmative votes by 2/3 of both the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives.
On Aug. 4, primary elections will be held in Kansas. The first step to exercise your right to vote is being registered. The Kansas Catholic Conference has organized a voter registration drive. You can access an online voter registration form at: kansascatholic.org.
To vote in the August primary, you would have had to register by July 14 but you can still register for the general until Oct. 13. In this COVID-19 environment, you may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to vote by mail.
Become knowledgeable about candidate positions and voting records on issues with important moral implications. Let your voice be heard. Vote in the upcoming August primary and in the November general elections. Thank you and God bless.