I realize the title of this column sounds provocative. One might readily think that this article is going to address the issue of what to do during the primary elections, which are already underway through early voting, regarding candidates and the issue of abortion. Rather than address this topic here, you are better off reading Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Instead, this column will address two different topics, one being the upcoming election and the other being an update on the major U.S. Supreme Court case related to abortion. What will lack in provocation will not be lacking in important information, so I hope you keep reading and won’t immediately turn my column into tinder for your next backyard fire pit party.
Election & State Board of Education. Most of you likely saw last week’s Southern Nebraska Register which included a center spread of the Nebraska Catholic Voter Guide. This center spread provided a candidate survey of state and federal legislative races and the gubernatorial race. If you missed out on the information, pull last week’s edition out from your pile of mail or visit www.NebraskaCatholicVoter.com for more information.
What was missing from that center spread because of a lack of available space was candidate survey information for State Board of Education races. There are three seats (out of eight) on the State Board of Education that are up for grabs and, like the other races mentioned above, it will be important for Catholics to be well formed and prepared to vote for State Board of Education candidates.
It almost goes without saying but over the last couple years the State Board of Education has been a source of renewed focus for Nebraskans. The proposed health standards which the State Board of Education attempted to advance caught the attention of countless parents, grandparents, educators, advocacy groups, among others. This focus on statewide education policy also led many to take a renewed interest in their own local school board. This renewed interest in education policy has led to a flurry of candidates running for these state and local public offices.
As we have continually encouraged Catholics across the state, please pay attention to these races, do your research, inform your conscience, and take the opportunity to vote in these races, as well as other state and local races on your ballot.
Again, to learn about candidates for the State Board of Education, visit www.NebraskaCatholicVoter.com.
Draft Opinion Leaked. On Monday night, the equivalent of an earthshattering moment happened at the U.S. Supreme Court. An online news source, Politico, ran a breaking story detailing that the “Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision[.]” Their story is based on a leaked copy of “an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito.” The claim is that this 98-page draft opinion lambasting and overturning Roe v. Wade has the support of five Justices.
The story is earthshattering, in large part, because the Supreme Court has a tradition of being able to conduct its work in a confidential manner. The general public is generally not privy to the outcome of a case until the Court’s opinion is finally and formally published. The process of arriving at these opinions occurs behind closed doors. If the leaked opinion is a genuine draft opinion (which it appears to be at the time I write this column), this would be a significant departure from protocol, a departure which is bound to have numerous implications.
I would encourage you to read Politico’s coverage of the draft opinion. But I also want to leave you with some more practical advice.
It’s not clear, at this point, who leaked the opinion and why, but the news coverage will undoubtedly put added public pressure on the Court. Now more than ever we need to pray and fast. If indeed the leaked opinion is a sign of things to come (i.e., the overturning of Roe), we need to pray for the Justices to stick to their legal convictions and follow through with overturning Roe.
Also, I encourage you to prepare yourself more thoroughly for the public debate that will ensue whenever this decision formally comes out. If we are going to win the abortion issue, we need to be well-equipped to cogently and charitably defend pro-life values.
Finally, overturning Roe is only one part (though a huge part) of the equation. We need to also build a culture of life, which means we must do everything in our power to walk with mothers in need. Pray on what it is you can do to help mothers in crisis pregnancy to choose life, and then act on where it is God is leading you.
God bless your continued work of bearing the light of Christ in the public square!