We’ve only had one Catholic President, and he was nominally Catholic at best, and a Clintonian womanizer. Here is President Kennedy (his back to the camera), U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy (far left), and actress Marilyn Monroe, on the occasion of President Kennedy’s 45th birthday celebrations at Madison Square Garden in New York City (19 May 1962). Photo by Cecil W. Stoughton [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
I’d like to respond to two queries I received in the comboxes of my posts about Donald Trump here on Patheos. Polly Macdavid commented:
Also, you’re a Catholic? I know lots of Catholics who hate Trump, many of whom are in my own family. Maybe they won’t vote for Hillary Clinton but they won’t vote for Trump either. They’ll sit this one out. In fact, I predict the lowest voting numbers in history this coming election.
Yes, I’m Catholic. I vote for the candidate who is pro-life, or at least more pro-life than the other person. If I were in Germany in 1932, I would have voted for the guy who didn’t hate Jews and didn’t want to kill them. Some considerations are far more important than others.
DanielS (apparently a Catholic) also asked a similar question:
Dave, I’m eagerly awaiting [Catholic talk show host and author] Al Kresta’s analysis of whether or not a Catholic could, in good conscience, vote for Donald Trump. He seems to presently be leaning against the idea, but admits he’s waiting to see more information and more of Trump’s specific plans. In the meantime, I would love to read your own thoughts on the matter.
The Church allows us to vote for less-than-perfect candidates, even if they believe some things we cannot accept, in cases where it is “lesser of two evils.” The biggest dealbreaker for me is being pro-abortion. I won’t vote for anyone who is.
I’ve known Al for almost 35 years, and he was in the pro-life rescue movement when I was, in 1989-1990. I think in the end he would almost certainly pull the lever for Trump, given the choice. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t.
By “your thoughts” I meant an article that specifically addresses concerns that many Catholics raise about the moral liceity of voting for Trump. Some folks cannot, in good conscience, vote for what they consider to be an evil; and folks like Al have been vociferous in stating that it is a bullying tactic to encourage people to vote against their conscience simply because the alternative is a Hillary presidency. As Al has pointed out, “voting for the lesser of two evils” may not be a particularly great way of phrasing things. We’re not entitled to ever directly will evil.
I think I’ve at least looked through each of your relevant articles on this, but I’m sure that this specific concern has been addressed.
I don’t see any particular need to write about that, because our choice is either Hillary or Trump. If we are to remain involved in civil politics, as the Church wants us to be, we need to vote for a viable candidate for President (who actually has a chance to win).
The Church allows us to vote for folks who aren’t totally in line with Catholic teachings. After all, there has been just one Catholic President (JFK), and even he was a nominal one, and a womanizer.
Obviously, then, no presidential candidate has ever been completely in line with Catholic beliefs or moral practices. They’re either Protestants or secularists (and Romney was even a Mormon, which isn’t even Christian; Jefferson was a Unitarian, Sanders is Jewish, etc.). That means we have to vote for less-than-ideal candidates from our Catholic perspective.
This is no violation of conscience. The Church allows and encourages it.
I have no trouble voting for Trump at all. He is clearly the superior choice in this scenario. It doesn’t follow that I agree with every jot and tittle of what he stands for, nor does voting for him imply that, as Catholic social teaching regarding voting makes clear. He was my 15th choice of the original GOP primary candidates.
I was originally a Cruz guy, then switched to Rubio, and would’ve voted for Kasich in the Michigan primary (but I didn’t vote in it, because Trump was far ahead). I liked all the candidates except for Pataki (pro-abort) and Gilmore (know nothing about him).
Now it’s GOP (Trump) or Hillary. Few choices have been clearer than that.
My biggest concern by far is the pro-life issue, and the closely related matter of new Supreme Court Justices. We know beyond any shadow of a doubt what sort of Justices Hillary would select.
Trump has provided a list of eleven judges he would choose from (or at least judges of like mind). He was widely praised and given kudos for selecting judges who are accepted as genuinely conservative, constructionist, pro-life, etc.
The choice then is crystal-clear: either radically leftist, childkilling Justices from Hillary, who will dominate the Court for at least a generation, or the pro-life conservatives that Trump has said he would appoint. That’s not a difficult or conscience-torturing choice at all. The Catholic votes for life, and the chief way that progress is made on the life issue is through the overturning (or at least modification) of the radical Roe v. Wade ruling, which came from on high, from seven men in 1973.
The significantly restrictive pro-life legislation currently taking place in many states — almost on a monthly basis — is a direct result of later Supreme Court decisions that allowed restrictions of abortion, and those decisions came as a result of pro-life Justices on the Court. As I like to say, “This ain’t rocket science.”
See my Previous Posts About the 2016 Presidential Campaign:
Trump & Reagan: Shocking Similarities [1-15-16]
In (Partial) Defense of Donald Trump [3-10-16]
Roarin’ Lyin’ Ted [5-4-16]
Trump is a Slimeball, Moron, & Scumbag [sarcastic, satirical title, 5-27-16]
Meta Description: The Church allows us to vote for flawed candidates, who believe some things we cannot accept. Pro-life is today’s supremely important issue.
Meta Keywords: 2016 Presidential Campaign, American Politics, American Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Catholics and presidential election, Catholics & Trump, pro-life, Supreme Court & abortion, Catholic social teaching