Wisconsin bishop: Voting pro-choice puts your soul in jeopardy

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, October 28, 2012 11:27 EDT
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Bishops arrive for a meeting of Roman Catholic Church leaders from around the world at the Vatican on October 8. (AFP)
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Bishop David Ricken has a message for the 304,614 members of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese: Voting for pro-choice, pro-marriage equality candidates could “put your own soul in jeopardy.”

In a letter to parishioners, the bishop warned against voting for candidates who support “non-negotiables” like access to abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and same sex marriage.

“A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program that contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals,” Ricken wrote in the letter (PDF). “Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally ‘complicit’ with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

The letter also criticized a new Health & Human Services Department rule that requires most employers to provide free birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. Churches and other religious institutions are exempt from the rule. However, critics of the so-called contraception mandate claim that requiring Catholic employers to provide health insurance plans to that cover contraception is an infringement on religious liberties.

“These positions are indicators of a broader societal disposition to remove God from the public square and from any relation to society whatever. It is precisely religion and the free exercise thereof which has made this country great in the past,” Ricken wrote.

Despite its partisan tone, the letter does not specify whether voters should cast their ballot for Republican or Democratic candidates.

The Johnson amendment in the Internal Revenue Code prohibits tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate.

“My letter should not be misunderstood as an endorsement of any political candidate or party. The church does not endorse political candidates or political parties,” Ricken said Saturday during a press conference.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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