A timely and important question from Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans:
It has become commonplace for politicians to use name-calling and insults to win an election instead of running on their achievements and qualities. What has happened to politics? What has happened to politics, from my perspective, is candidates in campaigns no longer run on merit, their qualifications or their ability to lead, but run on the weaknesses of the other person. The name-calling and insulting comments that candidates exchange, in my mind, create an evil spirit among us. Even if we as adults can walk through this and sift it out, my question is, “What are we teaching our children and young adults about respect for those persons who disagree with them, or about civility in elections and a Christian spirit?”
He also brings up these important points:
There are four principles we are asking Catholic to consider in supporting a candidate: The first issue is human life. This has to do with the respect of all human life from conception to natural death. Not only does it include abortion, but also euthanasia, the death penalty and caring for the poor and issues regarding biotechnology. The issue of human life also deals with the issue of war and will the candidate promote peace in our country and beyond. The second issue is family life. Marriage must be held up as a great gift from God. A candidate must be willing to do all he or she can to help a person form a family that gives respect to family and children. Family life also has to do with wages. Do the wages that are offered to people in their various occupations support their families and give them an ability to live respectful lives? The third is the issue of social justice that includes issues such as welfare policy, religious freedom, Social Security, affordable health care, sharing housing and sharing the resources of our earth with the poor. And it also embraces reforming the criminal justice system and welcoming the stranger with the issue of immigration. The Catholic Church teaches that people, under certain circumstances, have a right to leave their country and find a new life. Social justice also deals with respect for the environment and using the environment in a way that promotes respect for humanity. The fourth is global solidarity. What is the candidate willing to do to foster solidarity, for the elimination of global poverty, for religious liberty and human rights? We must ask how the person will work with the United Nations and international bodies.