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Bishop denounces single-issue voting; says it 'corrupted Christian political witness'

Bishop denounces single-issue voting; says it 'corrupted Christian political witness'

People gather for the 47th March For Life rally on the National Mall where U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the crowd, January 24, 2020, in Washington, D.C. The Right to Life Campaign held its annual March For Life rally and march to the U.S. Supreme Court protesting the high court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal nationwide. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A Roman Catholic Church bishop has denounced the practice of single-issue voting, especially on the issue of abortion, arguing that it has “corrupted Christian political witness.”

Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, penned a column published Wednesday by the Jesuit publication America Magazine regarding the upcoming presidential election.

In his column, the bishop argued that “in pursuit of ‘single-issue’ strategies to end abortion,” many Christians “scandalously turned a blind eye to real breakdowns in solidarity and dehumanizing policies, including crackdowns on worker rights and voting rights, the slashing of social support for the poor and sick, racism and the exploitation of immigrants and the environment.”

“All of this has backfired and contributed to the issue’s intractability, widened the polarization in our society, harmed the credibility of the commitment of Christians to the common good and compromised the integrity of our Gospel witness,” wrote Seitz.

“We must repudiate any compromise of the moral integrity of the church’s witness through partisan alignment with single-issue political strategies disconnected from an integral ethic of human life.”

Seitz spoke with concern about the “deepening dogmatism of the Democratic Party on abortion,” which included “promoting abortion without any sensible restrictions.”

“Trump has voiced his support for unborn life and taken steps toward defending life, like the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy. Likewise, he has taken positive steps to protect religious liberties,” continued Seitz.

“But the president has also tainted the pro-life cause with the individualism and cult of wealth, greed and celebrity that very quickly erode solidarity and cheapen life.”

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The bishop noted that many Christians feel “politically homeless” this election, concluding that the “church is not engaged in shoring up the political agendas of either party.”

“The followers of Jesus are washed in the waters of baptism that bring forth a new community of radical inclusivity that transcends narrow self-concern, elitist social division and arbitrary political boundaries,” he said.

Several prominent Christian leaders have spoken out against voting for former Vice President Joe Biden, specifically highlighting his pro-choice stance. Tony Perkins, the head of Family Research Council, argued that Biden's Catholic faith doesn't "square" with his "radical position" on abortion as he pushed back against the idea that Biden was the “more acceptable” presidential candidate for Christians in 2020 than President Donald Trump.

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas has also contended that evangelicals who vote for Biden "have sold their soul to the devil and accepted the Democrats’ barbaric position on abortion."

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a prominent Catholic Church leader, stated in August that he believes Biden should be denied communion over his abortion views.

In an interview with Thomas McKenna of Catholic Action for Faith and Family on Aug. 31, Burke argued that Biden’s pro-choice views meant he was not “in good standing” with the Church and should thus be barred from receiving communion.

“This is not a political statement, I don’t intend to get involved in recommending any candidate for office, but simply to state that a Catholic may not support abortion in any shape or form because it is one of the most grievous sins against human life,” said Burke.  

“I would tell him not to approach Holy Communion out of charity toward him, because that would be a sacrilege, and a danger to the salvation of his own soul … also he should not approach to receive Holy Communion because he gives scandal to everyone.”

“Because if someone says ‘well, I’m a devout Catholic’ and at the same time is promoting abortion, it gives the impression to others that it’s acceptable for a Catholic to be in favor of abortion and of course it’s absolutely not acceptable.”

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