Obama and McCain: Where Do They Stand on Catholic Issues?

Now that history has been made and Obama is the first African American presidential candidate (Hilary resigning from the race is merely a formality), I felt compelled to write about who will likely be the two main candidates for presiden: Barack Obama and John McCain. And I would like to present each candidate's position as they relate to the most important issues for Catholics.

What compelled me to write this post is the fact that I know of quite a few Catholics who will be voting for Obama or Hilary (when she was still in the running). This really made me think, because the Democratic party does not hold many of the same beliefs as the Catholic Church. This is especially true for the main issues that Catholics should be concerned about. For a great explanation of the top issues for Catholics, please see the Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics which can be found at the Priests for Life website.

Why are there Catholics who won't be voting like Catholics? Does the separation of church and state extend to the separation of political beliefs and religious beliefs? This seems to be the case and it is very disturbing to me. Yes, there are a LOT of issues and problems each presidential candidate must address and I am not saying these other issues are not important, but as a Catholic, Jesus has given us a Church to guide us in the opposition of evil. Therefore, we should heed the Church's warnings on when politics and laws are in direct opposition to God's law.

I think a lot of Catholics out there are simply not educated on the most important issues of God's Church and I hope to provide a little education here. Be warned that if you are Catholic and continue to hold on to the beliefs that are in opposition to the Church, then you are in a gravely sinful situation and I hope that you may reconsider your position and reconcile your beliefs with the Church.

I have listed each issue as it is listed in the Voter's Guide and after each issue, I list Obama's position, then McCain's position, then my comments on which candidate is the most Catholic in their position. For information on each candidate's stance I tried to limit myself to using information available on each candidate's official website. I used Google to search for articles containing the candidate's position when the information was not available from their website.

1. Abortion
Obama: Like so many pro-abortion politicians, he doesn't come outright to say he supports aboration, but instead says he supports a woman's right to choose. He is opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade and champions "reproductive choice."

McCain: "At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level."* His website states that Roe v. Wade must be overturned, but it does not state that he will try to overturn the law. Instead, he proposes nominating judges who will not "be in the business of legislating from the bench."* He also seems to be in favor of States deciding on a more local level whether to make abortion illegal or not.

Who is more Catholic? Obama's beliefs put him in direct opposition of the Church. McCain is much closer to the Church's beliefs with one small caveat: abortion can still be legal at the local levels. However, it seems he does indirectly support overturning Roe v. Wade and this is a major step in the right direction. McCain gets the Catholic vote.

2. Euthanasia
Obama: Euthanasia is not mentioned and addressed directly on his website. The only reference on his website is from a blogger by the name of Tricia. Obama stated that he regrets voting for government intervention for Terri Schiavo in an article on www.worldnetdaily.com.

McCain: Euthanasia is not mentioned and addressed directly on his website. The only reference happens in an article that is linked to his official website and McCain implies that he may be against euthanasia. But his position is not clear.

Who is more Catholic? Both candidates do not address this issue on their website. Obama would not vote for government intervention for Terri Schiavo if he had a second chance. This is contrary to the Catholic Church's position on the issue. McCain's position is vague and more clarification is needed.

3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Obama: He supports the use of embryonic stem cell research. On his website, he tries to soften this fact by stating that he is a co-sponsor of an Act which only allows the use of "excess" embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics.

McCain: He opposes the "intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes."* McCain also opposes the use of human embryos gestated in animals. He supports amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research.

Who is more Catholic? Obama again directly opposes the Catholic Church with his beliefs, while McCain is moslty in line with the Catholic Church. McCain does leave a window open by not stating a position on other human embryos (aborted embryos, for instance), therefore not opposing ALL embryonic stem cell research.

4. Human Cloning
Obama: He does not directly address cloning on his website. According to blog.bioethics.net, Obama voted against a 2001 bill that would have banned all types of cloning. He has stated he is against "human cloning," but this is a vague statement.

McCain: McCain oppose human cloning and voted to ban it and any such experimentation under federal law.

Who is more Catholic? Obama's position is vague and he needs to clarify his position more, but he may not be against ALL cloning. McCain's position is clear and it is in line with the Catholic Church's position.

5. Homosexual "Marriage"
Obama: According to pewforum.org, Obama supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Obama also supports civil unions of homosexual couples and voted against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

McCain: Believes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. However, he does not come out and say he directly opposes homosexual marriage and instead wants legislatures to create the laws and not the courts.

Who is more Catholic? Obama's position once again is in direct opposition of the Catholic Church's position. McCain's position point toward the Catholic position but it does leave some room to homosexual "marriage" to be allowed.

*Quote is taken directly from the candidate's website.


Adam Garland said…
"I think a lot of Catholics out there are simply not educated on the most important issues of God's Church and I hope to provide a little education here."

I agree. I wholeheartedly agree.

I think Christians in general aren't very educated when it comes to the Church and the Bible. Thanks for this post. It was a good piece of journalism.
Anonymous said…
John - As this relates to the kind of work I do, I'm glad to see you wrote this post on the candidates and the Church's teachings on the important issues. :) Another good resource for the Church's view on issues is the US Bishop's statement - "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" (www.faithfulcitizenship.org). That's the one we're promoting that people study this election year. ;)
- Your cuz, Marilou
Anonymous said…
Thanks for re-posting a link to this on your Facebook page. Craig and I are going to South Bend to vote absentee this weekend. This was a very timely read.

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