The bishop of Tyler, Texas, is pushing Catholics to vote in upcoming elections and specifically to vote for those who support basic rights and freedoms, especially the right to life.
“July 29, CATHOLICS PLEASE VOTE with a well formed conscience & choose candidates who respect life, morality, marriage, family & our basic freedoms,” wrote Bishop Joseph Strickland on Twitter Wednesday.
“It is critical that we keep eternal truths at the forefront as we vote,” he added. “Study the issues & choose candidates who respect FAITH.”
Last August, Bishop Strickland praised a brother bishop for refusing to give Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion legislation.
Responding to an article titled: “Catholic Bishop Will Deny Pro-Abortion Politicians Communion Until They Repent of ‘Evil,’” Strickland thanked Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, WA, for his courage in upholding moral truth.
“Thank you bishop Daly for standing strong,” Bishop Strickland wrote in a tweet. “Our society needs to wake up to the reality that when unborn & completely innocent children are not safe from their own mothers, life has no value and the tragic violence we see is simply a consequence of our disregard for life.”
The article quoted Bishop Daly in his condemnation of efforts to expand access to abortion, insisting that “allowing murder of children up to the moment of birth is evil.”
“Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception,” Daly said. “They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm.”
Bishop Strickland later explained his defense of his brother bishop, underscoring the importance of non-negotiable life issues.
“What I really tried to say as I intervened and talked about the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death — those are the grave issues, as far as I’m concerned. That’s what we need to focus on,” he said.
Last November, the United States Catholic bishops proclaimed the abortion question as the “preeminent” political issue of our time.
In a teaching document outlining the political responsibility of Catholics titled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the bishops put forward abortion as a “prime example” of an “intrinsically evil” action, the sort of things “we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor.”
In our nation, “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others,” the bishops said.
“A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed,” they added.
In January of this year, Pope Francis backed up the U.S. bishops, stressing that the right to life is indeed the “preeminent” social and political issue of our day, because “if you’re not alive you can’t do anything else.”
The pope went on to call the right to life “the most fundamental right,” reiterating his conviction that it is “not first a religious issue; it’s a human rights issue.”