Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who to Vote For, Continued...

March 4, 2010,

On February 19, I sent out an Esperansa Newsletter imploring you to support only the candidates who would make a public commitment to oppose both abortion and the legalization of same-sex unions.

I pointed out the deplorable state of Guam's public record on divorce, abortion, crimes against the family, and out-of-wedlock birthrate, and traced these ills to our unwillingness to hold our elected officials accountable on moral grounds.

I also offered a solution: getting a signed commitment from candidates before we give them our vote. A copy of a sample commitment statement can be found here, or you can read the entire letter of 2/19 here.

Yesterday, March 3, during a public forum held by the National Association of Social Workers-Guam Chapter at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, the candidates were asked the following question:
If you are elected and Bill 185, which recognizes domestic and civil partnerships, is placed before the Legislature, how would you vote on the policy proposal?

You can personally read their answers here or in today's PDN.

In our opinion none of the candidates answered correctly to our satisfaction. However, given our Church's teaching requiring Catholics to support those candidates whose positions "will do the least moral harm", we would have to support Tony Ada or Martin Benavente, ONLY.

Both Ada and Benavente answered "No" to the above question, which is in our view the correct answer. However, both recommended that the issue be left to a referendum, which in our view, and the Church's view, is the wrong answer. The Church clearly states that all Catholics, and especially politicians, "are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions" (Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, Ch. IV. Par. 10)

Thus, given the Church's clear and adamant teaching on the matter, politicians, as well as all Catholics must oppose such legislation regardless of its form. Perhaps someone on this mailing list can forward this newsletter to Ada and Benavente as there is a good chance that they may not be aware of the above referenced document.

Roque Aguon and William Sarmiento both appealed to their Catholic Faith, but did not say No. As just mentioned, the Catholic Faith does not allow for another opinion on the matter. And Art De Oro and Sara-Thomas Nededog both stated that they would support the legalization of same-sex unions.

The abortion question was not asked. Or, if it was, it was not reported.

There are some who think that this is one issue among many and that we shouldn't be giving so much weight to this one issue. It's not we (Esperansa) who are "giving weight" to the issue, it is the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a non-negotiable. We are only passing on the teaching of the Church and urging its local application in this election.

There are also others that think because Bill 185 is reportedly "dead" that it shouldn't factor into the current election. Bill 185 is not dead (as evidenced by the question posed at the forum). It is still a live bill and could go to a vote at any time. The current election could tip the balance in favor of the bill.

And even if Bill 185 was withdrawn, the issue will not go away. Proponents will simply wait until there is a more favorable climate in the Legislature, something you, as a voter, could help bring about by voting for anyone who did not answer with a resounding "NO".

For those who think that the legalization of same-sex unions is a matter of civil rights I recommend reading my rebuttal to a PDN editorial which was printed on 2/1/10 (read here.) But regardless of the argument over civil rights we must remind ourselves that we will be held to account by a much higher judge than what we will encounter in the civil order.

One last point, and this is just a personal reflection: What to do about our friends, relatives, co-workers, business associates, etc, who are "gay"?

I move in many circles. I encounter "gays" in all those circles. Simply put, they are no different than any other human being. I have no issue at all with anyone who considers him or herself to be "gay". I have problems of my own. However, I do believe that no matter our condition when we come into this world, we are not created to stay that way.

All of us our called to supernatural life. The word itself "super-natural" means above nature. We are created and graced by the Sacraments to rise above our natures, no matter what they may be, and respond to God's call to perfection: "Be ye perfect...". Yes, it will hurt, but love without pain is a lie.

So for those of us who want to see a better Guam, now is the time to make a change. Let's vote based on principles and not on party, personal relationships and personalities. We've already been doing that.

Tim Rohr
The Esperansa Project

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