The Morality of Voting for an Imperfect Candidate

There is a principle in Moral Theology — the principle of double effect — which, under certain clearly defined conditions, permits us to perform an act that has both a good and an evil effect. In order for that act to be a moral choice, it must meet all four of the following conditions:

1. The act itself must be good or indifferent.

2. The good effect must not be caused by the evil effect.

3. The good effect and not the evil effect must be directly intended by the agent.

4. The good must outweigh the evil.

The Founding Fathers, by drafting, ratifying and implementing the Constitution of the United States, engaged in the most monumental example in American history of deliberately choosing what is commonly called “the lesser of two evils.”

These courageous and devout Christian statesmen consciously, deliberately, purposefully chose to accommodate slavery – in fact, to constitutionally protect it for the next two decades – in the newly independent United States of America.

Slavery is evil. The founders knew this. They could have proclaimed with righteous indignation, “Slavery is evil, and we refuse to enshrine it in our new Constitution.”

That, of course, would have been the end of the convention as the Southern states would have bolted immediately, and the young nation’s slide into chaos would have continued unabated.

Next Tuesday, some feel they face a similar dilemma. They see flaws in the Romney/Ryan ticket and wonder if they can, in good conscience, vote for flawed candidates.

Moral theology says yes. I think Scripture says yes, too. God picked David to be King of Israel, right? He was hardly perfect. Look how that whole Bathsheba thing turned out.

Every citizen has only one of four choices:

A. Vote for Obama/Biden;

B. Vote for Romney/Ryan;

C. Vote for somebody else who hasn’t got a chance;

D. Not vote.

Each person has to check these against the list above. And don’t try to kid yourself that somehow C and/or D are superior choices simply because they let you stick your nose in the air whenever the next president screws up and sniff about how YOU didn’t vote for him.

Plus, you better be very sure that is NOT why you are tempted to choose C and/or D. Because if it is, your choice fails the moral stink test big time.

There is a famous saying, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

It’s not the evil people who are examining their consciences and scouring Scripture for guidance about God’s will concerning this election. It’s the good ones! Therefore, C and/or D are choices for “good men to do nothing” which, by elimination, is a choice to allow evil where you have the power to prevent it.

Personally, I think Moral Theology allows only one choice, which is to get your butt to the polls and vote for Romney/Ryan, lest the light of liberty be extinguished by four more years of a president so awful that he makes the paranoia of Nixon, the appeasement of Carter and the moral degradation of Clinton all rolled up together look kinda not so bad.

But that’s just me.



Filed under Barack Obama, Constitution, Elections, Mitt Romney

12 responses to “The Morality of Voting for an Imperfect Candidate

  1. Outstanding analysis. May I re-post this at Quiner’s Diner?


  2. Bob this is excellent. It gets the message across, go vote the bastard out!!


    • Wish I could take credit, Aussie, but Chrissy wrote the post. All I did was give Mr. Quiner permission to reprint it, which Chrissy would have done if she had been the first to see his comment!


      • chrissythehyphenated

        True. And I got a giggle out of his courtesy, seeing as I ripped off entire lines of two other posts while I was composing this one. ::snort:: I did at least give the URLs, even if I was a tad sloppy about quote marks and such. … I was tired. It was late. Whine. Whine.


  3. I’m fed up with idealists who are caught up in their idealism that they have lost touch with reality. If people refuse to vote until they have a perfect candidate to vote for, they’re going to have an awfully long wait. Until the day Jesus Christ appears on the ballot, your only choice is going to be voting for an imperfect candidate or not voting at all.


    • chrissythehyphenated

      Yes. I’m even more fed up with the allegedly Pro-Life Christians who go way to the other end of this spectrum, excusing votes for rabidly pro-abortion politicians because “they’re good on social issues.”


      • I have no patience with people like that. What are they using for brains?


        • chrissythehyphenated

          The ones I know personally … I think it’s not about brains. I think it’s about the anti-Republican prejudice American Catholics were raised with that was reinforced by our liberal schools and is constantly swamping us from the media and Hollywood.


          • Tee-hee… I was raised Evangelical Protestant in a lily-white suburb that was zoned Republican. I was ten years old before I even knew anyone who was a Democrat!


          • Right. It’s really not so much about brains. It’s all about who you trust. Most people don’t have time to research everything, so they depend on people they trust to tell them what the truth is. Unfortunately, child-molesters, snake-oil salesmen, strippers, union bosses, Marxist dictators and democrats (but, I repeat myself) all know this and are awfully good at making it seem like they care about YOU. Wait. Did I say strippers out loud? I don’t know why; I have no direct knowledge there… I’m just trusting what Solaratov has told me. 😀 What I’ll never understand is why people have so little sense about who they trust.