I am a Catholic and I am anti-slavery. I deplore slavery and have been an active part of the abolitionist movement. But this November of the year of Our Lord 1860 I am voting for Stephen A. Douglas.
Now I know my announcement will befuddle many Catholics who think that Abraham Lincoln is the only possible choice if you are truly as anti-slavery as I say I am. Some of my friends ask me how can I possibly support Senator Douglas when he was largely responsible for the Compromise of 1850 and supported the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision of 1857?
Though Senator Douglas does not regard a slaveholding society as one whit inferior to a free society I think he is the best choice to reduce slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 proves that he is pro-choice on the issue of slavery since the act allowed these new states coming into the union to make up their own mind as to whether slavery should be allowed in their territory. He lets the people in the state decide as to whether slavery is moral or immoral. Surely this will limit slavery and as we work for a more just society more and more slaveowners will decide to reduce the number of slaves they own. Just because Sen. Douglas has invoked racist rhetoric and accused Lincoln of supporting black equality which he believes the authors of the Declaration of Independence did not intend, does not mean that he is pro-slavery. Even supporters of slavery can be conflicted about slavery and whether blacks are equal to us or not and we should work to move to a society where slavery is safe, legal, and rare. Plus it is not true to call him pro-slavery. He is for the choice of slavery and people can decide on their own whether they want to become slaveowners or not. Shouldn’t we let people make their own choices on this issue? Do we really want to legislate morality? Now as a Catholic I personally believe that slavery is wrong, but lawmakers need to represent the people.
Catholics should not be single issue voters and let slavery dominate the discussion. Human dignity and the acceptance of the government of human rights is just one issue of many. What about economic and other social justice issues? The election of Lincoln could even lead to civil war. Do we want a president whose “personal” moral code could lead us to war with all of the horrific deaths that could result? Plus if a war does start no doubt someone like Mr Lincoln would infringe on our civil liberties by suspending the right of Habeas Corpus.
This year the best choice to reduce slavery is to vote Sen. Douglas.
Signed Douglas Kmiec