Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is Voting for a Candidate Who Supports Intrinsic Evil an "Objectively Evil" Act?

Mark Shea thinks so:
I think it is an objective evil to support a candidate who wishes to use his office to commit gravely immoral acts such as sign the Freedom of Choice Act or support stem cell research. I make no distinction between candidates who want to cannibalize babies who are big and candidates who want to cannibalize babies who are small. I think anybody voting for either candidate is committing an objective evil.
This assertion elicited a response from several commenters who took issue with Mark's thesis, including this one from me:
I thought one is not morally permitted to do an objectively evil act under any circumstances, even if good might result from it.

Yet, as Dave points out, "the Bishops clearly state, sometimes even with examples, that it is OK to vote for a candidate supporting some evil positions, in order to prevent an even worse candidate from winning".

So, if your formulation is correct, Mark, you're saying that the Bishops have informed the faithful that they may engage in an "objectively evil" act?
So, what say you? Is Mark correct that voting for either Sen. McCain or Sen. Obama is an "objectively evil" act? I just don't see how it could be, given the Bishops' guidance in Faithful Citizenship, which specifically lays out circumstances under which such a vote might be licit.

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At 9/17/2008 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What it amounts to is a claim that one cannot remotely cooperate in some one else's formal cooperation in evil. Since that was grossly convulated, I'll go to an analogy and move remote to mediate cooperation.

A man has taken six people hostage. He demands six pizzas be delivered and in return he will release the hostages. He also makes clear that he will give the 6 pizzas to a man prone to gluttony. Like any sane person, you don't particularly desire that the gluttonous man consume the six pizzas, but you have a firm belief the hostages will be released for the pizzas. You also figure that the hostage taker has some obligation not to encourage the glutton in sin and that the glutton himself has an obligation to avoid sin. Anyhow, you give the pizzas, and the hostages are released.

You are hereby condemned for cooperating in the glutton's gluttony. By construction, you can probably figure out that I think this is silly. Or to put it another way, Mark and Zippy could care less about the glutton or the hostages, but they are interested in grandstanding on the topics of gluttony and hostage taking.

At 9/17/2008 9:55 PM, Blogger RobK said...

Mark is incorrect. Mark's position is incorrect because he does not recognize that not acting is also choosing. We like to talk about lesser of evils in elections. Unfortunately, that is an apt description.

Secondarily, to argue thusly could essentially disengage a Christian from the culture. For example, we should not support companies that do evil or donate their money to support abortion(you'd be amazed at the list). Then of course would could expand this even further using the different .

Taken to an extreme, this position argues for a disengagement from society. One thing is clear from the Gospel - we are not called to disengage. We are called to be leaven. Therefore, I think Mark's call to disengage is incorrect.

At 9/18/2008 4:06 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

It strikes me that Mark's position also involves a complete failure to successfully think through what a democratic republic is -- that it is a system in which one elects a specific person (from a limited slate) to office, not one in which one approves a bundle of policy positions masquerading under the name of a particular person.

At 9/18/2008 10:22 PM, Blogger BillyHW said...

Why do you still read Mark Shea?


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