This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pro-life voting with 3 pro-choice candidates

What's a pro-life voter to do when all three candidates have declared themselves to be pro-choice? This is the choice in the 8th District of Virginia. Even Republican nominee Col. Patrick Murray claims to be pro-choice, although he said in the primary that he did not like Roe v. Wade. In this, he seems like Gov. Sarah Palin, who when asked by Katie Couric what she did not like about Roe had no answer. This is likely the case because most Republican politicians don't give the actual issue much thought, beyond making sure they say the right thing in the primaries in order to pander to pro-life voters. Once the base is satisfied, so is the mention of abortion on the candidate's web page (a seemingly universal phenomenon this election cycle in at least Nevada, Delaware and Virginia - and I suspect most places). If the electorate is pro-life, they issue may get lip service in the general election, to be forgetten the day after the election. I doubt that the level of understanding of the constitutional issues in Roe is very high among most politicians on either side - although I suspect the Democrats might be a bit more informed on the nuances of the decision. If anyone can find any mention of Roe on Mr. Murray's site, they win a prize. See for yourself at

Be that as it may, in order to not seem outside the mainstream of the 8th District, Mr. Murray claims to be pro-choice. The incumbent, Democrat Jim Moran, is decidedly pro-choice and quite a bit more familiar with the nuances of Roe and the ethical issues involved. He is sincere in his beliefs, as is Independent Green Ron Fisher. Neither candidate is pandering. Since Capt. Fisher is not a viable candidate, I will limit my analysis to Congressman Moran.

If the stated policy on abortion is the same, does this mean that the pro-life voter must stay home? Hardly. More important than the stated position on abortion is the impact the candidates' parties and positions will have on the actual incidence of abortion. This is always the case, actually. Profession matters much less than effect in the real world. That is how God will judge us - on what comes from our actions rather than on what we say we believe. "By your fruits ye shall know them (Matt 7:16)."

Where does each candidate come down on this key factor of the seemless garment of life. In such an analysis, any Republican, including Col. Murray, is suspect. The positions on his site fairly well reflect the current positions of his party, which promises entitlement cuts. Republican policy in this area includes preservation of life time limits on welfare. It does not take much imagination to realize that this restrict leads to abortion by TANF recipients (or at least the use of artificial birth control). Tax cuts to the wealthy, which the Colonel supports and the incumbent does not, are likely to lead to further pressure to cut aid to the poor - leading them into the arms of their local Planned Parenthood office.

It seems that a true pro-life voter must put Republican coalition politics aside and continue to vote Democrat (as many did in 2008, for exactly the same reasons).

This makes Jim Moran the best candidate in VA-08 from a pro-life point of view (and don't let your priest tell you otherwise). Indeed, if he says that one must vote pro-life - it means that a vote for Moran is required, given the commitment of Col. Murray to choice and to Republican economic policies.


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