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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Who to Vote For?

On March 20, Guam will hold a special election for a vacant seat in the 30th Guam Legislature. There are 6 candidates in the running. Who will you vote for?

I can't tell you who to vote for but I will tell you who I will vote for: the candidate(s) who answer yes to the following 3 questions.

1. Will you support anti-abortion legislation that has been passed into law in the states and has been upheld by the courts?

2. Will you oppose the legalization of same-sex unions regardless of what they are called.

3. Will you sign a statement stating as such?

The answer to all three MUST BE an unequivocal YES. As a matter of fact, if there's even a waver on Question 1. The conversation is over. No need to even ask Number 2.

A PDF copy of the statement can be found at See the note on the Home Page for the link.

For those who attended the recent talks sponsored by the Archdiocese at four parishes regarding Bill 185, you will recall that my personal talk began with a list of several serious moral problems that face Guam:

1. The easiest place in the United States to get an abortion.
2. One of the highest abortion rates per capita.
3. The fastest and easiest place in the United States to get a divorce.
4. More divorces on Guam than marriages since 2004.
5. An out of wedlock birthrate that is almost 3 times higher than any other state.
6. Three times the average number of people in prison than the rest of the United States with the number one crime being Domestic Violence (crimes against the family), and the number two crime related to sexual misconduct.
7. An overwhelming number of porno shops, strip bars, and "massage parlors",etc.
(I have documented these numbers in previous posts)

And all on an island that has a Catholic per capita population many times higher than any state!!

The question I posed is "How did we get here?" "How in one generation did we get here?" How did we (though I'm not from here) squander the Faith of our ancestors in one generation and make Guam into what the above stats show?

I answered those questions with one answer: "We haven't been watching who we're electing". We elect people we like, people who pay attention to us, people who do us favors, people we are related to." But for the most part we completely ignore the moral principles to which we ultimately all will be held to account.

True, there is more to the moral demise of Guam than just electing the wrong people, but it's at least one thing, one very important thing, that we can begin to do something about.

Some will ignore the moral issues stated above. For them, there are more important issues, education, public safety, etc. For most, it will not be about issues at all, but about supporting their friend or supporting their party.

In the Old Testament, God punished the disobedient Israelites by giving them the leaders they deserved. Maybe we should ponder this a bit before we run off to the polls.

Again, I am not and cannot tell you who to vote for. As for this election, I do not know any of the candidates personally and I have not been approached by any for their support. But if I am, I will have my questions, and my written statement ready.

I will post the names of all the candidates who sign the statement. If you have the signatures of any candidates, let me know and I'll add their name to the list that we will make publicly available.

By the way, the same goes for the current run for Governor. We will be posting those too.

It's time to stop the silent slaughter of the innocent in downtown Tamuning. We need leaders who are not afraid. It's up to you.

Tim Rohr
The Esperansa Project

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Monday, March 08, 2010

The Moral Priority of Abortion

In a recent Facebook conversation regarding the current health care debate I was asked "would you support a politician solely on their pro-life stance?"

Here is my reply:

Thanks for asking. Yes, I would. Here's why. While there are lots of issues, the fundamental aspect of democracy is respect for the dignity of every person equally (as opposed to Tyranny which is based on the power of the strong over the weak). It also follows in a democracy that the weaker and more powerless a person is the more the powerful have the responsibility to provide and protect. Thus, the laws we have about children, the elderly, the handicapped, and so forth. Thus in a democracy, the integrity of the democracy is in direct proportion to its protection of the powerless: the more powerless, the more protection. 

The unborn child is the most powerless and the most defenseless of all because he or she cannot even scream or cry which is all most infants can do to communicate danger or discomfort. Thus in this health care debate, its not just health care that is at stake, but the very foundation and meaning of democracy. While we cannot outlaw abortion until Roe v Wade is overturned, taxpayers should not have to be made to pay for an action which at its root is the very antithesis of democracy. 

This is hard to understand because it is easy to point to all the helpless or defenseless people in our society including the uninsured. However, it is the DEGREE OF DEFENSELESSNESS of the victim that determines the priority, and the unborn is simply the most defenseless. 

As an aside, I am sympathetic to those who would want to keep abortion legal in the event of rape or incest, which is extremely rare. However, the real question is not when is abortion okay, but when is it okay for one human being to kill another. 

Obviously our society allows for such instances: war, self-defense, capital punishment. But the killing of an innocent, defenseless human being? When is that okay? 
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