Trump reaches out to Catholic voters; a new poll suggests they’re listening

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a town hall in Sandown, N.H., on Oct. 6. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a town hall in Sandown, N.H., on Oct. 6. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump is seeking to woo Catholics via a letter writing campaign as a new poll suggests the candidate is making up ground with Catholic voters, especially white Catholics who may hold the key to a Trump victory. In a letter to participants at the Catholic Leadership Conference being held in Denver, where one of Trump’s Catholic and pro-life advisers was advertised as a featured speaker, the Republican presidential hopeful said that Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine would seek an agenda hostile to Catholics.

RELATED: A Trump win depends on white Catholics

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“On issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics, the differences between myself and Hillary Clinton are stark,” the letter said. “I will stand with Catholics and fight for you.

“Hillary Clinton has been openly hostile to these core Catholic issues for a long time, and is only going to be worse with Tim Kaine now following her lead,” it continued.

Kaine, a practicing Catholic, says he is personally against abortion and supports the ban on using federal money to fund abortions called the Hyde Amendment, a break with Clinton. But he believes the procedure should be legal, a case he made in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate against Trump running mate Mike Pence.

RELATED: Kaine and Pence Talk Faith in Final Moments of Vice Presidential Debate

Among the issues cited in the letter were abortion, religious liberty, homeschooling and jobs. The letter was posted by the Catholic News Agency earlier this week. As president, the letter said, Trump would not force employers, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception if they object on religious grounds.

This has been a battle between some Catholic groups and the Obama administration for several years, with the employers citing religious liberty concerns and the administration saying the government has a compelling interest in expanding access to contraception.

“That is a hostility to religious liberty you will never see in a Trump Administration,” the letter says.

In a separate letter sent to the conservative lay group CatholicVote, Trump wrote, “Our current president has not respected Americans’ First Amendment rights. Many believe he has declared a war on Catholics. And my opponent promises to be even worse!”

CatholicVote published an essay in January assailing Trump for “appealing to our worst fears instead of our best hopes” and urging Catholics to “look beyond Trump.” In September, the group reversed course, writing, “Catholics can in good conscience vote for Donald Trump.”

Trump wrote in the letter that if elected, he would support legislation that would allow businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on religious objections as well as provide conscience protection measures for healthcare workers opposed to abortion.

A Pew poll last month found that most U.S. Catholics do not support businesses refusing to serve same-sex couples based on religious objections.

“As President, I promise that I will protect the rights of Catholics to live their faith, to serve their communities, and to act on their beliefs without fear,” the letter says. “This approach one would think is just common sense. And I don’t care if people call it politically incorrect.”

Several prominent Catholics active in conservative political circles have doubted Trump’s commitment to pro-life causes. The candidate was in favor of abortion access for many years until switching sides as he geared up for a presidential run.

In recent months, some of those Catholic critics said they now believe Trump is committed to pro-life causes, and some joined Trump’s Catholic advisory board last month. The candidate used the letter to the Catholic Leadership Conference to reiterate his promise to appoint pro-life judges.

“I will appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench, like Justice Clarence Thomas and the late and beloved great Catholic thinker and jurist, Justice Antonin Scalia,” the letter said.

Trump also gave shoutouts to two Catholic bishops with ties to Denver: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, the previous archbishop of Denver, and the current leader of the Archdiocese of Denver, Samuel Aquila.

On the same day Trump’s letter was released, Archbishop Aquila published a column on the archdiocese’s website in which he implied that supporting the Republican Party is a more acceptable choice for Catholic voters. He wrote that he holds an “aversion for both candidates,” but he said Catholics nonetheless should vote in the election on Nov. 8. Before doing so, however, he said they should consider their relationship to Jesus versus party loyalty.

Part of that discernment process should involve looking at the party platforms and considering which one “supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family, and the poor.”

Those instructions came after the archbishop criticized the Democratic Party platform, which calls for an end to the Hyde Amendment;healsocriticized the Obama administration’s contraception mandate.

America’s Editors: Defend the Hyde Amendment

“We are where we are today because too many Catholics and other people of faith have embraced the ways of the world and not the ways of Christ,” Archbishop Aquila wrote.

“One only needs to look to the Health and Human Service contraceptive mandate, or the attempt by President Obama to force a transgender agenda onto public schools,” he wrote. “We are witnessing the dictatorship of relativism and the erosion of true freedom.”

A poll from the Public Religion Research Institute conducted in late September and released this week shows Catholic voters may be receptive to Trump’s message.

While most other surveys until now show Clinton leading among Catholic voters, the P.R.R.I. poll found nearly half (49 percent) of all Catholic voters say they plan on voting for Trump, with 42 percent picking Clinton. Among white non-Hispanic Catholics, Trump does even better—56 percent to 31 percent.

A P.R.R.I. poll from August had Clinton up 55 percent to Trump’s 32 percent among Catholic voters.

Sister Simone Campbell, head of the social justice organization Network, said in a statement on Friday that Trump’s letter to the Catholic Leadership Conference was “a political ploy” that “won’t fool anyone.”

“Donald Trump is once again trying to use dog whistle politics to appeal to voters; he tried using the old code words and failed,” the statement continued. “What Donald Trump doesn’t realize is that in this election, Pope Francis voters are carefully weighing their choices to vote for the common good.”

Michael O’Loughlinis the national correspondent for America and author of “The Tweetable Pope: A Spiritual Revolution in 140 Characters.” Follow him on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.

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William Rydberg
1 year 2 months ago
Nice to know that Catholics are on the Radar-Its lousy being taken for granted by any Party. Where is the other Presidential Candidate's letter? I still like Mr Senator Bernie Sanders because he even visited the Pope during his run... Still haven't read anything in America Magazine on Mr O'Loughlin's connection to the Society of Jesus? in Christ,
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
Still haven't read anything in America Magazine on Mr O'Loughlin's connection to the Society of Jesus?
He is just a hired gun, who has written for America for 4-5 years. He can be counted on to tow the liberal line but in this article he gives a more than fair treatment of Trump. This is not typical but it is refreshing for someone like me who also thinks Trump should be no where near the presidency but then again I think that of Mrs. Clinton even more so. Trump has superior economic policies to Clinton, superior legal policies to Clinton, superior law enforcement policies to Clinton, superior foreign policy recommendations than Clinton but he is still Trump. He can't help taking the bait to his manhood in speeches and debates. He is criticized for what he says while Clinton is truly deplorable for what she had done.
I still like Mr Senator Bernie Sanders
You keep on saying this but Bernie Sanders has nothing in common with the Catholic Church. If anything he would probably go farther than Obama and Clinton in implementing anti-Catholic regulations in government. His economic policies which appeal to the emotions of many would destroy the economy and create poverty we have never dreamed of. He is a bullet well dodged. Just my opinion.
William Rydberg
1 year 2 months ago
Bernie's policies are to the right of most of the Ruling Parties in Europe. As for Life Issues I think that you can count him on the side of the Angels when it comes to things like end of life palliative care. In CANADA, we had successive conservative governments the past 2 decades. And we have NO LAWS on the books prohibiting Abortion. So beware! Go Bernie! In my opinion...
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
I will keep repeating this. Polls are meaningless as far as determining what is best for people. Mr. O’Loughlin is constantly citing them and I guess that is appropriate but they should never be used for determining what is best. The people who run the government, the bureaucrats, think the hoi polloi are ignorant and do not have sound opinions. Here is an extreme and harsh criticism of the opinions of the average american in a Washington Post article
Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons
http://wapo.st/2dR91HP And here is an example where people vote against their self interest. It is about Catholic Schools in New York City.
Why inner city students have no choice
http://bit.ly/2dC8tXX
Joseph J Dunn
1 year 2 months ago
Probably the best commentary on the public sector near-monopoly on public education and its destructive impact on children in low-income areas: Vergara Case Decision http://studentsmatter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Tenative-Decision.pdf. Is this not an example of that "structural sin" we read so much about?
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
But the students lost. Such obvious injustice and the system is rigged to support voting blocks you can count on like the Teacher's unions. The ironic thing is that the judge said.
The court’s job is merely to determine whether the statutes are constitutional, not if they are ‘a good idea
Somebody should tell the supreme court this. http://lat.ms/2dICSmG Another example of true irony is that the same people who lost and got screwed will vote for the people who screwed them. That is what the bishop in New York City was talking about. The best example of this is that Blacks vote around 90+ percent for Democrats who are the ones who have caused their very undesirable situation. The message to Catholics is that people who identify as Catholics will also vote for people who will screw the Catholic Church. One has to ask if they are Catholics first or something else first? I have been using this meme for several years with friends. A large percentage of the people are either misinformed, misguided or immoral. It explains why in the case of the first two, how good people vote for dysfunctional policies and people. With Trump and Clinton we have an example of the latter.
Douglas Fang
1 year 2 months ago
It seems that Joe Biden is telling the truth – Trump is playing us for “suckers” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f71bjcYQ9lA This is confirmed by no other than Trump himself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTACH1eVIaA Donald Trump is the worst presidential candidate in modern history. This is why the Atlantic has endorsed Clinton, the third time it has ever done so in its entire 159 years of history. By the way, the first candidate endorsed by the Atlantic was Abraham Lincoln. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/11/the-case-for-hillary-clinton-and-against-donald-trump/501161/ Just today alone, Trump dropped 2 bomshells: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/donald-trump-still-believes-the-central-park-5-are-guilty-2016-10-07 It is a blatant example of racial bigotry, is it? http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-10-07/tape-of-trump-speaking-crudely-about-a-woman-emerges - There is nothing more for me to say. I’ll let the pundits work on that. His policies are pure jokes, in other words, he has no policies, period. Economic? The stock market went down whenever Trump was moving up in the poll. This works like clockwork. Environment? No control on the use of dirty fossil fuels, especially coal. Abandon Climate treaty because Global Warming is a hoax Foreign? Only dictators from Russia, North Korea, and China are rooted for him as they know his policies will significantly weaken the position of America and its Alliance. Legal? Exploit tax loop holes to avoid paying income tax for many, many years. Brag that only stupid people are paying tax. This is beyond my contempt. Law Enforcement - Stop and Frisk, Building Wall, Mass Deportation, Racial/Religious Profile, etc. In the end, there is no Christian value whatsoever that we can find in Trump. Zip, Zero, None… thinking otherwise is just self-deception.
ed gleason
1 year 2 months ago
The new tape shows that Trump and Caligula are twins. And people are going to vote Caligula/Trump as president?
Vincent Gaglione
1 year 2 months ago
Published as this article was on same day that Trump's vulgar comments of ten years ago were revealed in his own voice, the irony is immense. Oh yes, there are Catholics who will vote for him, even a Bishop or 100 of them! The fact is that Trump has the morals of a dog in heat and all his promises about abortion restrictions and religious freedom are about as important to him as are the wives whom he cheats on. The self-righteous who find every excuse for him are actually more depraved than he is. Yep, the people of family values. What a laugh.
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
The fact is that Trump has the morals of a dog in heat
Could't the same be said of Bill Clinton? and worst for Hillary for tolerating/enabling it as he became president and as they became rich? Just google "jeffrey epstein bill clinton" for a sample. I find it interesting of those who criticize Trump, and he has a lot to be criticized for, but then fail to criticize Hillary. Why are they silent? Given that, what Trump said has also been said in any locker room full of males. I know because I have heard it. The famous expression from Casablanca: Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! Why isn't there outrage at the person who revealed it at this moment? This is truly an instance of an individual trying to affect the election of the president of the United States. This person if he/she were an honorable person would have released this a year ago. We would be having an election of Hillary Clinton against Marco Rubeo or someone else now. So someone is screwing around with the governing of the United States and no one is mad at this individual. Why not?
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
J. Cosgrove, Great point. The media and the Clinton campaign will push any negative news about Trump to extremes in the hope that more people will vote for Hilary. This does not mean that Trump is not Trump's worse enemy. Ironically however, both candidates are seriously flawed: one makes irresponsible comments about other groups of people without careful attention to accuracy of fact or any foresight of the consequences of his remarks; the other is a pathological liar, believes she is above the law and will pander to any group to get votes, like African and Latino Americans, then when elected will not make good on her campaign promises but play the blame-game. If Clinton brings up the latest locker room chatter that most males, like Trump, enter into (regardless if this is wrong), she will have to defend the decades-long adulterous affairs of her husband, and her own behavior when she denigrated the women as bimbos etc., who were the victims of her husband's adulterous actions. Make no mistake about what I am saying. I think many Americans will not vote for either of them. Unless Trump can turn his campaign around and do well in the second and third debates (and not shoot himself in the foot before election day), it will be a close race. In the end, Clinton may be elected but none of her domestic policies will get done in Washington. In other words, we will have another 4 years of Obama-like policies and a polarized Washington. I pray not.
Vincent Gaglione
1 year 2 months ago
What is it that you do not understand about a man sexually foisting himself without consent as Trump describes himself doing and a salacious affair between consenting adults? One is essentially an assault, the other fornication. Or is Trump's behavior more common in your cohort community than Bill Clinton's is in mine. The great irony of it all is that Hillary Clinton preserved the marriage, a Catholic value not much attributed to her! The wife cannot be faulted for the sins of the husband. The contortions of Trump supporters despite his incredible pronouncements and behaviours is a wonder to behold.
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
The contortions of Trump supporters despite his incredible pronouncements and behaviours is a wonder to behold.
I am not a Trump supporter. Never have been and am still not. I am more upset that this was not revealed a year ago. Somebody just directly affected the election of the president of the United States on purpose. You should be upset too.
What is it that you do not understand about a man sexually foisting himself without consent.
Perfect description of Bill Clinton enabled by his wife. I don't approve of either man.
The great irony of it all is that Hillary Clinton preserved the marriage, a Catholic value not much attributed to her! The wife cannot be faulted for the sins of the husband.
Are you serious? LOL
Or is Trump's behavior more common in your cohort community than Bill Clinton's is in mine.
You should refrain from ad hominems. My Catholic education taught me to do so. It is also an indication that one's argument is weak. So I again thank you for supporting my point of view. You have no argument against it.
Keith Kondrich
1 year 2 months ago
A conversation between Donald Trump and Jesus Christ. . . http://www.beliefnet.com/news/articles/a-conversation-between-donald-trump-and-jesus-christ.aspx
Keith Kondrich
1 year 2 months ago
I wonder what our Blessed Mother, Mary, would have to say about Donald Trump's attitudes, comments, and actions toward women. "The level of any civilization is always the level of its womanhood. In as much as woman is loved, it follows that the nobler a woman is, the nobler man will have to be to be deserving of that love. That is why the level of any civilization is always the level of its womanhood." (The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
Carlos Orozco
1 year 2 months ago
I fully agree, Keith. But RAPE ENABLER Hillary Clinton, of all people, should remain silent on Trump's disgusting comments.
Douglas Fang
1 year 2 months ago
Trunp and some of his supporters kept on saying that “the talk in the tape is typical of men locker room conversation”. I found it quite untrue and a disservice to most men like us. I grew up in a country where Christians/Catholics were a very small minority. Most of my friends were not Christians. Yes, we did use vulgar language when we talked about women between ourselves. However, we never used the kind of language that implied “sexual assault” like that. Only men in power like Trump can use this kind language. Ordinary men don’t talk like this. His talk is a clear example of abusive of power. This is the reason the media is afraid about Trump. Trump behavior is a behavior of a psychopath dictator. I have lived for many years under a dictatorial government and I deeply understand that the worst victim of it is the free press. The second debate did nothing to alleviate this fear. Actually, it made it worse. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mr-trump-doubles-down-during-the-second-debate http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/9/13222826/donald-trump-debate-clinton-jail-dictator Honestly, I don’t understand what kind of bones Trump is throwing to CatholicVote to make them warm up to Trump … There is no liberty under a dictator, including religious liberty.
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
The incredible hypocrisy of the Left is amazing. Anyone who criticizes Donald Trump, and he should be criticized, and does not criticize Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are hypocrites. For example
President Obama has singled out Beyoncé for praise, and the singer is a big Hillary Clinton supporter, to not a word of protest from Clinton regarding her status as a role model for young girls. Bill Clinton met with Beyoncé and her husband, rapper Jay Z, in September. If Bill or Hillary thinks the lyrics of Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin‘” “horrific,” in Hillary’s words, they are not letting on
I am sorry to be so direct. For a detailed discussion of this hypocrisy see: http://bit.ly/2ekEHss and
These people who celebrate porn and abortion and make heroic figures out of small-souled, sex-deluded creatures such as Bill Maher and Lena Dunham and Sandra Fluke and lionize sick predator men like the Kennedys and Bill Clinton are not merely being hypocrites or playing politics when they denounce Trump. They are deliberately engaging in The Lie: the corruption of meaning itself. They aren’t outraged because they’re decent. They’re using our decency as a pawn in their quest for political power.
http://bit.ly/2e15zip
Joe Kash
1 year 2 months ago
I once would have thought harshly about Donald Trump's sexual proclivities and his adulterous behavior but in the interest of being more like Pope Francis, "Who am I to judge". Now that those in adulterous relationships can receive the Eucharist, why should I hold this against Donald Trump?
J Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago
Apropos to the article. It will be interesting to see what the authors and editors think of this.
In the Podesta E-mails from WikiLeaks: Catholic Church a ‘Middle Ages Dictatorship’
http://bit.ly/2dwL5sy Here is another website discussing this http://bit.ly/2dX7jFI Podesta is a Catholic.. But of course Pedesta said this
“I know she has begun to hate everyday Americans, but I think we should use it once the first time she says I’m running for president because you and everyday Americans need a champion,”
Which shows how cynical they are. Most of the press is ignoring Wikileaks. I wonder why.
ed gleason
1 year 1 month ago
Why ignore?.. It's Russian prop..... next?
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 2 months ago
Let’s not forget about Pro-Life members of congress. In June 2016, Congressman Steve King proposed two amendments that would block the IRS from collecting the capital gains tax. Pretty boring stuff right? The 400 richest US taxpayers have a ten-year combined income of one trillion dollars, the majority from capital gains. Steve Kings wants to block the IRS from collecting federal income tax on one trillion dollars of income. Does Steve King know only three states have an annual GDP over one trillion dollars? One of the three, California, if it were a country, would have the sixth largest GDP in the world. Then there’s Pro-Life Senator Chuck Grassley, who in 2003, as then-chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee, helped steer through Congress a 15% capital gains tax rate. Ask him what the top federal income tax rate is...perhaps he will say 39.6%.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
I was hoping Trump would become more Presidential and temperate, but this has not happened. Far from it. He is not fit for the office of the President. His views about pro-life are suspect, and his judgment on foreign policy vacillates. His almost knee-jerk reactions to anyone who provokes him are very concerning and it calls into question how he will react to Russian, North Korean and Iranian aggression. On the other hand, Clinton is pro-choice and abortion on demand is her mantra. She cannot be trusted to tell the truth and will lie to suit her agenda. Above al, she is a very divisive person. She is not a Bill Clinton who moved to the center and negotiated with Republicans to get things done for the people. Hillary, on the other hand, prefers to wall herself in and surround herself with like minded staff and demand Congress pass her platform agenda. She has little ability or desire to negotiate, compromise and build good relationships with her advisories, the Republicans, in order to get things done. Just wait until Congress will not pass her platform promises, and watch her play the blame game. This is what has been happening for the past 8 years. I will not vote for either Presidential candidate, but will vote for the House and Senate candidates.

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