Vote Catholic?: Beyond the Political Din

Overview

Voting your conscience can be a challenge. In our emotionally charged political environment, many people are asking about the role of faith in elections. Of course, faith should inform the political choices we make and the way we use our time to try to improve the world. It seems the loudest Catholic political voices fall in one of two choruses-that of "the left," advocating for social justice issues, and of "the right," claiming abortion as the single most important issue. In Vote Catholic, Bernard Evans helps ...

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Overview

Voting your conscience can be a challenge. In our emotionally charged political environment, many people are asking about the role of faith in elections. Of course, faith should inform the political choices we make and the way we use our time to try to improve the world. It seems the loudest Catholic political voices fall in one of two choruses-that of "the left," advocating for social justice issues, and of "the right," claiming abortion as the single most important issue. In Vote Catholic, Bernard Evans helps us get beyond the sometimes deafening din of these choruses. He takes us to the heart of an important third voice-Catholic social teaching-and shows how this teaching can inform Catholics as they wrestle with political choices. Without putting forward a particular platform or advocating particular candidates or positions, he presents a clear set of principles from the teachings to guide our decision-making process. With special attention to the Catholic position on life and human dignity, Evans shows that the issues and the solutions are more complex than our "headline news" world suggests. Complex though the issues are, Evans's straightforward presentation will help readers go to the polls with faith and confidence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This reviewer would recommend the book highly for undergraduate courses in decision-making or social justice. . . . It is short, readable, and cheap—an asset in any college classroom.
Horizons

Every conscientious Catholic will find this an invaluable resource when pondering a decision about for whom to vote.
Prairie Messenger

Now is the time to see the light. Bernard Evans sheds light by disseminating Catholic social teaching in Vote Catholic? He suggests we go beyond the headlines and campaign slogans because ‘Religion and politics do mix!’
The Jersey Journal

. . . Vote Catholic? Beyond the Political Din is a ‘must read’ and ideally a ‘must discuss,’ for Catholics before going to the polls or becoming involved in politics in other ways. It is a very readable book that will appeal to a wide range of American Catholics, those of voting age as well as teens. Discussion points are noted at the end of each chapter, which can help to guide conversations about the issues Evans addresses. It is to be hoped that such discussions will take place around the family dinner table, over coffee with friends and neighbors, and in parish communities and schools.
Pastoral Music

Being a responsible voter and a faithful Catholic is never easy, but Bernard Evans' book provides some clarity through ‘the political din.’ He explains ideas like ‘the common good’ and the background to the U.S. bishops’ election-year statements. Evans eschews single-issue voting, like making anti-abortion the litmus test, because he argues that being pro-life means supporting candidates who protect human life and dignity at every stage and in every way. This concise guide through Catholic social teachings never settles for the simplistic. A must-read in an election year!
Barbara Beckwith, Managing Editor/Book Review Editor, St. Anthony Messenger

Bernard Evans has written a valuable book for every Catholic voter (and others as well). He makes it very clear that voting, a moral obligation, is an expression of one’s faith. I think Chapter Five, ‘Promoting a Pro-life Agenda,’ is especially helpful in deciding on a candidate when no one candidate’s position on various life-issues satisfies all our moral concerns. He stresses, and rightfully so, that voting on a single issue is not voting responsibly. Vote Catholic? Teaches us to vote the Gospel!
Bishop Victor H. Balke, Diocese of Crookston, MN

In an age of single-issue politics, the marriage of extremist religious and political ideologies, and competing values and agendas, Bernard Evans offers some down-to-earth common theological sense about what should guide Christians when they vote. Firmly rooted in Catholic social teaching, issues like promoting the common good, the dignity and value of all human life, and the ‘preferential option for the poor,’ are central concerns in this context. While written specifically as a guide for Catholics, Christians of various denominations will find this extremely helpful as well. The summaries and study guides at the end of each short chapter make this an extremely useful text for adult education in parishes and schools. Here is a book that needs to be read!
Maxwell E. Johnson, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame

Publishers Weekly

This effort to bring clarity to the question of how Catholics should vote is aimed at dispelling the notion that certain issues-abortion in particular-carry more weight than others when Catholics cast their ballots. Evans, who holds a chair in rural social ministries at St. John's School of Theology in Collegeville, Minn., begins by saying that religion and politics can and do mix. However, he insists that focusing on a limited number of issues distorts overall Catholic teaching on the subject of voting. He suggests that Catholics take a wider view by considering such things as the living wage, capital punishment, health care, education, immigration, housing and public assistance, all of which he sees as related to the church's strong position in defense of the dignity of human life. Evans bases his premise on "Catholic social teaching" and cites various church documents, including statements of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This teaching, he posits, invites consideration of the needs of the larger community, the protection of human life and the promotion of the interests of the poor and marginalized when participating in an election. While some readers will appreciate his more broad-brushed view of the political landscape, others will be troubled by Evans's reluctance to make certain issues nonnegotiable. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814629468
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Bernard F. Evans holds the Virgil Michel Ecumenical Chair in Rural Social Ministries at Saint John's School of Theology Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota. His previous books include Lazarus at the Table published by Liturgical Press in 2007.
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