Trump, Hillary and Catholics
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Let’s just say for kicks and giggles that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both elected as co-presidents of the United States, with former Secretary of State Clinton being in charge of domestic policy and Mr. Trump heading U.S. foreign policy. In this scenario, the United States is led by a woman who sees abortion as a social need instead of a necessary evil and a man who has no problem with bombing the Middle East without regard towards civilian casualties.
Now stepping back to reality: who should a decent hardworking American Catholic vote for? Well, that’s a question that sadly has no objective answer. This is one of the many reasons why being a Catholic involved in politics can get messy and confusing.
On one hand, the official standing of the Roman Catholic Church is that abortion is the termination of an unborn life, and hence, it is always wrong, sinful and immoral. Not even the circumstances by which that life was conceived are considered relevant for the Church. On the other hand, Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, reexamined the Church’s view of Just War and clearly stated that the indiscriminate destruction of cities or areas is a crime against God and humanity.
So who would you trust with the nuclear football, he who has vowed to commit a crime against humanity or she who “kills babies?”
If we see politics that way then it would probably be best to stay home on Election Day, have brunch, watch some Netflix, eat dinner, recite three Hail Marys and then just call it a night. Even better, we as devoted Catholics should pack our bags and move out of the country, ideally to Vatican City. Since moving to another country isn’t a feasible option, at least for most us, and acting like bystanders would also be immoral, then a more adequate solution to this dilemma has to exist.
Well, the thing is politics and policies are not really white or black. I am against abortion in most cases, but I don’t see people who are pro-choice as baby killers, either. Likewise, I am not fond of the idea of civilian casualties but the alternative of more American ground troops losing their lives in the Middle East is, at least, equally terrifying.
The world is a complicated place, and, at the end of the day, politics are part of the Earthly city as described by St. Augustine. It would be foolish to think that we can perfectly make political decisions while strictly following the guidelines of St. Augustine’s heavenly city. We must also take into account that, yes, there are times when the Catholic Church is right when it comes to making political opinions, but there are also times when the Church’s opinion is flawed. If we strictly followed Catholic teaching, then we would all have to oppose homosexual marriage and homosexuals’ right to adopt children. We would be out on the streets demanding for the perfectly good and caring homosexual parents to return the children they just adopted to a life in the forester care system. In other words, opposing gay marriage is like me telling someone that they are not allowed to have a cookie because I am on a diet.
It all boils down to being the best Catholic you can be, while living in harmony with those who might not share all of your same beliefs and ideals. What I am going to do and encourage all Americans to do, regardless of race, sex or religion, is to try to align your values, a candidate’s values and their promises with the Church’s teachings and philosophy as well as possible when making the decision on who you are going to vote for on this year’s Election Day.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.