Action Alert!

Avoiding political labels

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 23, 2020

Each of us is unique. We naturally don’t like others to pigeonhole us, to fix us with superficial labels.

In an election year, it is unfair to suggest that thinking members of any political party agree with the entire party platform. This, in a nutshell, is the reason why it may be unfair to condemn as immoral the policy positions of individual members of a certain political party. As the old joke has it, do not allow 95% of lawyers (or doctors, politicians, or clergymen) to give the rest a bad name.

We priests are told that we cannot suggest that voting for members of a specific political party is morally off-limits, just because the party dogmatically holds abortion as a human right. There are always exceptions to that party line, we are reminded. Members of that party dodge criticism by deftly parsing the nuances of platform positions.

During the Second Vatican Council, the bishops did not formally condemn Communism by name. Probably that was because there were many Marxist theorists on hand, who would have objected to any negative characterization of Communist ideology. Still, those with the eyes to see could recognize the ideologies that the Council Fathers did condemn.

So, in the “spirit of Vatican II,” and for purposes of illustration, here is a lexicon for a purely hypothetical American political party: a party whose purposes would be so evidently evil that no Catholic could vote for its candidates without being guilty of grave sin.

  • A woman’s right to choose: Abortion
  • Reproductive freedom: Abortion
  • Unalienable human right: Abortion
  • Progressive: Pro-abortion
  • Inclusive: Abortion for everyone
  • Science: Evidence providing the right to abortion
  • Qualified nominee to the Supreme Court: A jurist with known pro-abortion sentiments
  • Sex education: Teaching children about abortion
  • Change: Enacting pro-abortion legislation
  • Compassion: Free abortion
  • Climate change: The result of restricting abortions
  • Racism: Restricting access to abortion
  • Racist: Someone who opposes abortion for all people
  • Planned Parenthood (1): An organization that specializes in providing abortion to women of color
  • Planned Parenthood (2): Abortion-industrial complex
  • Single issue voter: Someone for whom opposition to abortion is the primary issue
  • Crossing the aisle: Cooperating with pro-abortion politicians in the opposing party
  • Compromise: Ensuring the right to abortion remains in a piece of legislation
  • Budget cut: Defunding abortion
  • Divisive: Speaking ill of abortion
  • Hypocrisy: Opposition to abortion
  • Judgmental: Calling abortion a sin
  • Moderate: One who rejects socialism but is pro-abortion
  • Poor: People in need of free abortion
  • Bipartisan: Funding Planned Parenthood abortion facilities
  • Ultra-conservative: People who oppose abortion
  • Fundamentalist: Bible-believing people who oppose abortion
  • The herd mentality: Organized opposition to abortion
  • Mainstream media: Pro-abortion media personalities
  • Common ground: United in pro-abortion advocacy
  • Diversity: Multi-cultural abortion advocacy
  • Alt-right media: Networks that permit anti-abortion media personalities
  • New World Order: International abortion rights
  • Shipping lanes: Delivering abortion fetal material to the world
  • Abortion: A very lucrative human trafficking business
  • Dystopia: A world without abortion

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. See full bio.

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: doughlousek7433 - Sep. 26, 2020 12:37 PM ET USA

    A solid list of solid thinking. It's a shame that the media report that a majority of "Catholic" plan to vote for a candidate who espouses most of the list!

  • Posted by: dsauclair9437 - Sep. 26, 2020 11:35 AM ET USA

    I couldn't have come up with a more creative checklist for my first-time voter. Thanks, Fr. P!

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Sep. 24, 2020 7:23 AM ET USA

    Well, you most certainly did not suggest that we vote for members of a specific political party! Seriously, though, this is really good. Very creative, and to the point.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Sep. 23, 2020 5:26 PM ET USA

    The list would be amusing if it didn't fit so well a particular party and its spokesmen in the broader media world today.