The Catholic guide for voters

The Herald reports on a guide put out by the Catholic Church for the 2008 election. They don’t endorse a party or candidates,but do have a checklist of issues people should ask about and take into account.

I’ve managed to locate a full copy of the guide. Here are some of their statements, and my scores:

Every abortion involves taking one person’s life for another person’s reasons.

0 for DPF.

The Church supports stem cell research using adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood, but not creating embryos for the purposes of research and other people’s medication and then discarding them.

And another 0. Very strongly in favour of embryo stem cell research. Their potential is incredible.

Those who support euthanasia and assisted suicide sometimes seek our support by claiming they are acts of mercy.  The Church in contrast sees this as an abandonment of people who most need our care and protection, particularly when they themselves are concerned not to be a burden to others.

And a hat trick of zeros.

Some employment policies and practices affect family life.  For example, families can be deprived of adequate time together, workers may have experienced a reduction in job security and real wages, and children and young people may not be sufficiently protected.

Another zero for me as they rail against liberalising shop trading hours.

Psychologists point out that a father’s love and a mother’s love are different and that each contributes differently to a child’s development.  The Church continues to recognise and respect the need for a child to receive both kinds of love.

This leads into their opposition to same sex marriage and adoption. And yet more zeroes for me.

Ten years ago the Churches joined together in the Hikoi of Hope to ask the government to give more weight to the impact of the economy on people’s lives in the areas of employment, poverty, housing, health and education.  New Zealand now has the lowest unemployment figures in the OECD, but this has not been reflected in improved living standards for the poorest New Zealanders, and inequality continues to grow.  Our Catholic social tradition recognises that the effect on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community is the measure of our public policies.

And another zero as the words Hikoi of Hope wants to make me vomit. They show no understanding of a country’s need to create the wealth, to be able to share it. Instead they just advocate for higher taxes and higher benefits.

A truly humane society would ensure that people have times of stillness to see more deeply into life; times of quiet to hear from the heart; time for wonder, beauty and thanksgiving – and other things the Treasury cannot count. These are dimensions of life and of being truly human that are squeezed out when the market forces which should be in our service, somehow become our master.

And now they blame poor old Treasury for the fact some people work hard. Yet another zero.

Their other sections are on asylym seekers, international aid, cultural diversity crime and environmental justice. I’m going to save time and give myself a zero for all of them.

The Catholic Church has that rare ability to advocate for almost everything I disagree with. On most social issues they are reactionary and conservative while on economic issues they are to the left of the Alliance. They are equally hostile to social freedoms as they are to economic freedom. My views on the churches can get very passionate because of that.

This must be why when I was entered the church in England where Shakespeare is buried, that my friends expressed surprise that my feet did not catch fire 🙂

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