OPINION: Donald Trump for President
An endorsement informed by Catholic teaching
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
NOTE: VOX’s Editorial Board encourages readers to watch the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, October 19, at 9 p.m. Eastern, to better understand the difference between the candidates.
In every election season Catholics are faced with the duty to vote. But in an election season that appears to be one of the most important in decades, and one that will shape the future of America, how does a Catholic decide for whom to cast his ballot? The Church offers many resources, and Catholic organizations offer even more. Based on the counsel from these sources, the VOX Editorial Board endorses Donald Trump for president.
Promoting the common good through voting is a moral obligation for Catholics (CCC 2240). According to a Catholic Answers voting guide, when voting, there are 5 non-negotiable issues that a Catholic must respect. They are: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual “marriage.” Voting for a candidate that supports one or more of these constitutes approval for these intrinsic evils. Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila stated in a recent column that “the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching.”
While Mr. Trump may not be the ideal candidate for whom to vote, his positions are radically different and more closely aligned to Catholic teaching than those of his opponent, Secretary Clinton. Mr. Trump has consistently upheld pro-life matters throughout the election season, even naming a list of potential Supreme Court Judges, many of whom are pro-life. During the October 9 debate, he stated that he wished to appoint a judge in the “mold of Justice Scalia” and that the judge “will respect the Constitution of the United States.” Sec. Clinton, in contrast, specifically mentioned that the Republican nominee would appoint judges who would reverse Roe v. Wade and Obergefell (the ruling that legalized homosexual “marriage” in all 50 states), and she stated that “that would be a terrible mistake.” The Democratic Platform (available here) lays out its requirements for judges, which include “protect[ing] a woman’s right to . . . abortion.” (p. 25)
Senator Tim Kaine, Sec. Clinton’s running mate, is a Catholic, but he supports legal abortion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church strictly condemns abortion (CCC 2270-2275). In a recent column, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas urged voters to “be wary of candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe.”
The Republican Platform (available here) states that “the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.” (p. 13) In addition to Mr. Trump and the Republican Platform’s strong pro-life stance, Governor Mike Pence, the running mate of Mr. Trump, has a very strong pro-life voting record, and as governor of Indiana signed many bills protecting the sanctity of human life. The Republican Platform also calls for stem cell research, but specifically calls for it “without the destruction of embryonic human life.” (p. 37-38) It also urges a ban on human cloning, creating and experimenting on human embryos, and “oppose[s] euthanasia and assisted suicide.” (p. 14)
With respect to the non-negotiable issue of homosexual “marriage,” Sec. Clinton and the Democratic Committee are clear in their support of this “intrinsically disordered”(CCC 2357) relationship. The Democratic Platform also “applaud[s] last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people – like every other American – have the right to marry” (p. 19) a person of the same sex. The Republican Party, on the other hand, condemns “the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges” when five lawyers deprived 320 million Americans of “their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” (p. 11) Gov. Pence supports traditional marriage, as is evident by his past record. He was a supporter of the now-repealed Defense of Marriage Act and opposed Obergefell.
Mr. Trump has made attempts to reach out to Catholics, even asking Fr. Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (a staunch pro-life Catholic), former Senator Rick Santorum (another staunch pro-life Catholic and former GOP presidential candidate), and many other Catholics to serve on his Trump Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee. In a letter to CatholicVote.org, Mr. Trump “promise[s] that [he] will protect the rights of Catholics to live their faith, to serve their communities, and to act on their beliefs without fear.” In contrast, recently leaked emails revealed anti-Catholic sentiments from Sec. Clinton’s campaign staff.
It is easy to see which party and candidate support the five non-negotiable issues, and which oppose them. While many Catholics consider it impossible to vote for Sec. Clinton because of her anti-Catholic stance on issues, some of those same voters are reluctant to vote for Mr. Trump. While this is understandable, and deciding to not cast a ballot may in some cases be the only moral action, casting a vote for a candidate that seems to be the least likely to promote immoral laws is certainly a valid choice. Votes cast in these conditions are not “morally the same as a positive endorsement” for positions that support intrinsic evils, but are, in fact, actions “aimed at limiting the evil, and an action that limits evil is good.”
Fr. Frank Pavone states that, despite the recent release of lewd comments made by Mr. Trump, Father Pavone will still vote for him. “The reason is simple: this presidential election is not about a choice between [Trump] and someone better; it’s between [Trump] and someone far worse. Moreover, it is not ultimately about [Clinton or Trump], but rather the good of the nation as reflected in two things: a) What will they do, and b) Who comes into power with them.” Archbishop Naumann encourages voters to “think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint” to high administrative positions. He goes on to say that it is a disappointment that Sen. Tim Kaine “is an orthodox member of his party, fully embracing his party’s platform, but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.”
Many might consider Mr. Trump to be a flawed candidate, and may refuse to vote for him, but it is the opinion of the VOX Editorial Board that Mr. Trump is the better, and only possible, choice for president and will do good for our nation. Despite the fact that both candidates are far from perfect, Sec. Clinton’s policies and personal opinions are directly contrary to Catholic morals, and Mr. Trump, Gov. Pence, and the Republican Platform have many views that closely align with Catholic teachings and morals.