God uses the imperfect or, why I voted for Donald Trump

 Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump applauds and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence waves as Pence's daughter Charlotte looks on at a July 16 news conference in New York (CNS photo/Eduardo Munoz, Reuters).

Our society continues to disregard the the sanctity of human life. Issues such as immigration, the death penalty, domestic violence, human trafficking, terrorism and war are significant moral issues that stem from the basic disregard for human life. Donald J. Trump is not perfectly aligned with church teaching on all of these issues, but the sanctity of all human life is the foundational belief on which I based my decision to vote for him as president.

While I cannot confirm the depth of the president-elect’s Christian beliefs, I know he represents a pro-life platform. His running mate Mike Pence, an evangelical, provides great balance to some of Mr. Trump’s more troubling positions. Mr. Pence has asserted that some of Mr. Trump’s ideas about immigration, for instance, are “offensive and unconstitutional.” In addition, Mr. Pence has supported legislation that would ban gay marriages while Mr. Trump has donated to charities that worked to combat the AIDS crisis.* Overall, I admire Pence’s thoughtful demeanor and the fact that he openly classifies himself as "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.

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RELATED: Catholic Reactions to the 2016 Election

Mrs. Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, declares he is Catholic yet supports a “woman’s right to choose.” Any Catholic who makes this claim comprises the integrity of his or her faith.

Mr. Trump has proven that, like all of us, he is a fallen person. He was once pro-choice. But at least he has tried to mend his ways. Mrs. Clinton on the other hand has grown more radical in her stance on abortion. I believe she's still "falling," or "failing," if you will, to live a Christ-like life.

Fortunately, God has always used imperfect people to shape the course of history. Since Mr. Trump is not a career politician, he was the less skilled of the two candidates at masking his sins. Mrs. Clinton is a career politician. She has worked much of her life to attain political power.

Mr. Trump brings a fresh and optimistic approach to politics. He has worked very hard to live out the American dream despite his failings. During his acceptance speech, I sincerely believed him when he said, “I love this country.” Why else would a billionaire, who could live out an easy retirement and avoid ongoing public scrutiny, choose instead to take on such a life-changing role?

As a Christian Catholic, I believe the reason Mr. Trump chose to run for president is best defined by Pope Francis in “The Joy of the Gospel.” “An authentic faith—which is never comfortable or completely personal—always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it.”

Marla Brown is the C.E.O. of Pregnancy Aid in Roswell, Ga.

Correction, Nov. 14, 3:21 p.m.: Due to an editing error, the original version of this article misstated the author's position on Mr. Pence's stance on same-sex marriage.  

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Crystal Watson
1 year ago
You chose a man who is for waterboarding, who was endorsed by the KKK, who plans to deport or incarcerate millions of immigrants, who has most likely assaulted a number of women, a man who doesn't believe in climate change, a man who has said he'd bomb civilians ... the list of awfulness goes on ... all in the hope you could keep some women from deciding if they want an abortion. Wow.
ed gleason
1 year ago
Ask a few GYNs how many pregnancies would there be in 50 + years of admitted rampant promiscuity with young women with no birth control . Then ask Trump ...Where are the 50 children?
Brian Pinter
1 year ago
Ed Gleason: Agreed. Only one person thought to ask Trump if he ever paid for an abortion for one of his partners. He did not respond. Another question - should abortion be illegal in all circumstances? For example, ectopic pregnancy. There is a drug which will detach the fertilized egg from the fallopian tube. It's a direct abortion. Shoudl it be banned? Or if an 11 year old is raped and gets pregnant. Doctor says if she carries to term she and child will most likely die. Still no abortion permitted? Would like to hear the authors thoughts on these.
Jon Kerr
1 year ago
You missed the point of the opinion piece. Respecting life is the foundation of preventing all other forms of injustice. We will never be a just society if we tolerate abortion but open our borders, or disband the military, or somehow take control of global forces that have (forever) created climate change. And for those of us that work in the community trying to provide help and services to women and men in crisis pregnancies...we also have genuine empathy for the baby. You seem to have missed that point towards the end of your comments. Mother T. said it pretty well, “And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another, but to use violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.” The author is not defending the awful things Trump has done, she is simply saying he was the better of the choices to promote life.
Crystal Watson
1 year ago
No, I do understand about the worth of the lives of persons. But I don't think an embryo or an early fetus is a person. When Mother T talks about a mother killing her child, she's spinning semantics. That's equating someone taking a morning-after pill with someone killing their 5 year old child. People who have voted for Trump because he's pro-life have tossed away the lives of already existing persons for the lives of potential persons.
Jon Kerr
1 year ago
The position of our Pope on the topic: 1. "Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right is based on the recognition of the first, fundamental right, the right to life, which is not subject to any condition, of a qualitative, economic and certainly not of an ideological nature." During an address to the Italian Movement for Life in April 2014. 2. "It is necessary to reaffirm our solid opposition to any direct offense against life, especially when innocent and defenseless, and the unborn child in its mother's womb is the quintessence of innocence. Let us remember the words of Vatican Council II: 'Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.'" 3. "Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as 'unnecessary'. For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime. 4. "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." In an interview with America Magazine, September 2013. 5. "Nowadays, on account of the economic system that has taken root in the world, which has at its center the god of money and not the human person, everything is ordered according to this logic, and anything that does not fit within this order is discarded. Children are discarded, when their existence is troublesome or unwanted. The Spanish bishops recently spoke to me about the number of abortions, and I was left speechless ... In some Latin American countries there is hidden euthanasia … because the social authorities will pay only up to a certain point, after which the elderly have to get by as best they can." Addressing the Commission for Latin America, March 2014
Crystal Watson
1 year ago
Yes, he has always been a social conservative and certainly no friend to women.
Lisa Weber
1 year ago
I have a great deal of respect for Pope Francis and do not disagree with his teaching here, but the truth of the matter is that men simply cannot know the experience of women with regard to pregnancy and caring for an infant. I think every woman can think of circumstances in which she would at least consider abortion, so women are not likely to judge the choices of other women. Men are working with an incomplete set of information with regard to the matter, so the opinion of men carries less weight. We simply need to end this fruitless and divisive discussion at some point.
Tim O'Leary
1 year ago
Lisa - the majority of pro-life anti-abortion activists are women. If you won't listen to men making the same arguments, then listen to the pro-life women.
Lisa Weber
1 year ago
Women are entitled to their opinion, just like men are entitled to an opinion, but both are just that - opinions. The reality is that only the woman and her husband decide. The rest of us just have opinions and we may as well move on to something we can actually do something about.
L J
1 year ago
Lisa betrays scientific truths (and universal truths) by minimizing those who reject her thinking. The Roe v Wade "viability" argument was based on incomplete medical scientific information. Since then medicine has evolved in the field of Embryology and Genetics. Not so for abortionists. "A human being begins life as a fertilized ovum (zygote)...." Thompson & Thompson, Genetics in Medicine, 8th Edition, 2016, page 11. ISBN-13: 978-1437706963
Lisa Weber
1 year ago
What I am trying to say is that this divisive public discussion about abortion is fruitless though it causes harm. You may as well try to pass effective legislation on menstrual cramps - another thing that sometimes happens in a woman's uterus. The only person who can do something about menstrual cramps is the woman involved, no matter what the opinion of other people is. You might persuade a woman to treat menstrual cramps or you might take a stance that menstrual cramps should never be treated, but it really doesn't matter because she will choose her course of action. Yes, I think that any legal abortion past the first trimester should be discouraged simply because a woman should be able to make up her mind before that point. That does not mean that she will not obtain an illegal abortion if a legal one is not available. We simply have almost no control over what a woman chooses to do with regard to abortion so we need to quit fighting about it. We make stupid political decisions when we make opinions about abortion a top priority in elections. This election serves as an outstanding example of that.
Tim O'Leary
1 year ago
People used to say the same thing about slavery - nothing can be done, let's work together on other things. As to your comparison of the killing of a human being with menstrual cramps, that is very low. Shame on you.
Lisa Weber
1 year ago
I am only saying that you can do nothing about either one, not that they are the same thing. You can change a woman's mind about abortion but you cannot control her body. Only she has control of her body - whether anyone likes what she does with her body or not. Slavery involved people outside the womb - an entirely different matter.
L J
1 year ago
Lisa is telling us that her path is about pride, wrath and envy all mixed into one. Compare Lisa's hubristic angst (and other Catholic Spring womyn) to today's wonderful memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland, an ostensible female, very much in touch with her estrogen gifts, incredibly powerful and leader sans clerical color who radiated a whole different paradigm than Lisa's https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-margaret-of-scotland/
L J
1 year ago
"but the truth of the matter is that men simply cannot know the experience of women with regard to pregnancy and caring for an infant. " Jennifer Palmieri and John Podesta's "c"atholic Spring get plenty of support on these comment forums. Gotta love the situation ethics of these Catholic Spring folks while another Catholic Spring author on these pages (M. Patterson) decried 61 million Americans as being sexist because they (women and men) voted for Trump. As CBS News stated in their honest mea culpa on the recent election: "Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as such ascribe cynical motives to those who think about things a different way." http://www.cbsnews.com/news/commentary-the-unbearable-smugness-of-the-press-presidential-election-2016/ Perhaps they would be happier following the example of Bruce Jenner: hormonal estrogen dosages while having male genitals. Turner Syndrome?
Beth Cioffoletti
1 year ago
So ... the message of the Gospel boils down to criminalizing abortion? We will change the world and our hearts, usher in the New Creation by diligent work to make sure that women do not end their pregnancies? That's it? For thousands of years women have known how to end pregnancies. It was a secret art that was passed down through the generations of women. For women who were desperate, this secret art was a life saver, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. The practice of abortion will not go away by changing a law, or throwing women who have abortions in prison. That is the only thing that Trump or any of the anti-abortion politicians have to offer. I refuse to call them Pro-Life. I, personally, will not judge women who choose abortion. But I will work to make a world where all life is sacred, where women will not be so desperate, where children can be cherished and loved, where the hungry are fed and the homeless are given shelter, where torture and war and execution are not accepted as the norm.
Crystal Watson
1 year ago
Trump has just said that even if R v W was overturned it would mean the states would decide about abortion. It would still be legal some places. But poor women, young women, women of color, would have the hardest time getting an abortion, and abortions would be delayed and more dangerous. Some women would die and others would be kept in poverty. It seems the main point of this whole exercise is not to abolish abortion but to punish women for daring to decide they want one.
Steven Krause
1 year ago
I can understand and respect the author's position. I fully agree that the right to live is the prerequisite for all other human rights, and deserves the greatest respect. The primary debate in Catholic circles on the political implications of the abortion issue centers on whether our faith obliges us to be single-issue anti-abortion voters. I think this debate is important, but both sides seem to begin with the unquestioned assumption that a single-issue anti-abortion voter would always vote republican. In the 43 years since Roe v. Wade, the republican party's presidential nominees have consistently sought Catholic and Evangelical votes on the promise that doing so would lead to the appointment of justices willing to overturn Roe v. Wade. This notion ignores a number of awkward facts: 1) The court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973 by a 7-2 vote. Of the 7 justices supporting abortion, 5 had been appointed by republicans, and only 2 by democrats. Of the two dissenting justices, one had been appointed by Nixon, and the other by Kennedy. The court that decided Roe had a 6-3 republican majority. A republican justice on that court had an 83% likelihood of supporting abortion, while a democratic justice had a 67% likelihood of doing so. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan decision. 2) One might argue that in 1973 party affiliation did not influence abortion decisions, but that may no longer be true since the issue has become politicized, with republicans generally opposing abortion and democrats generally supporting it. However, by the time Planned Parenthood v. Casey was decided in 1993, the court had an 8-1 republican majority. Both of the democrats who had supported Roe in 1973 were gone, and had been replaced by Reagan / Bush appointees. Nonetheless, the court re-affirmed Roe, with the 8 republicans splitting 4-4, and the deciding pro-abortion vote cast, ironically, by Justice White, who 20 years earlier had been one of the 2 justices opposing Roe. So while I fully agree with the author's opposition to abortion, I see no evidence that electing republican presidents in the hopes of getting anti-abortion justices has been effective. While I am not a legal scholar, and have not comprehensively investigated all the relevant case law, these hallmark cases have left me with no expectation that either party will actually do anything to overturn Roe. I therefore choose candidates on the basis of their plans and records regarding other issues, such as the economy, racism, poverty, world peace, immigration, health care, etc. I leave it to each person to decide which candidates best embody Catholic teaching on these other issues.
Lisa Weber
1 year ago
Pro-life and pro-choice need to become obsolete political designations. Abortion, as others have pointed out, has been available and part of the reproductive scene for a long time and it will continue to be for a long time into the future whether it is legal or not. I believe abortion is wrong, but there is little that can be done about it except to provide better support to women. The problem with the continual public discussion of abortion is that it is emotional and it divides the community without the discussion offering any hope of resolution. It also tends to blind people to other realities. I have been astonished that Donald Trump could be described as a pro-life candidate. He bragged about sexual assault, mocked disabled people, lowered the level of political discourse to something just above war - and somehow he is acceptable because he says he is pro-choice. The author is welcome to her opinion but I am not convinced. I will have to see some real change in the president-elect before I change my opinion of him. And Mr. Pence doesn't count unless he becomes president.
Reemberto Rodriguez
1 year ago
Someone please clarify for me: WHY is the pro-life movement exclusively fixated in criminalizing abortion as the sole TACTIC for minimizing abortion?!? I consider myself fully 100% pro-life. AND choose to focus my attention on supporting prenatal care, universal health care for newborn, expanding adoption options, early childhood education, equal pay for women, and promoting education for women in developing countries. These TACTICS are proven to diminish the demand for abortion. {Please don't brand me a heathen simply because we disagree on TACTICS.} Criminalizing abortion - beyond what we now do - will NOT diminish abortions. Empathy (and of course prayer!) for women going through this most difficult discernment- and FUNDING for practical and pragmatic TACTICS will. (So, what are the changes that our future White House Chief Strategist will pursue these proposed tactics instead of the simple, draconian, tactic of 'just criminalize it'?!?)
C CRINO MS
1 year ago
Trump had a lot of reasons to run, but abortion was not one of them. Then in a post-election interview, he blithely states that in a post-Roe country, women can cross state lines for an abortion. This doesn't sound like an end to abortion but a geographic redistribution of it. I'm very firmly pro-life, but also firmly against politicians exploiting this issue to sew up a block of votes. Let's see where this stands in four years, based on the evidence of the last forty.
Ellen Clair Lamb
1 year ago
I am genuinely baffled about how abortion alone has come to define "pro-life." "Pro-life" is also anti-death penalty, pro-refugee assistance, pro-assistance to mothers and children, pro-respect for all races and ethnicities and faiths. Our President-Elect has repeatedly spoken in favor of violence and torture, and against our obligation to help the neediest among us. That's not pro-life. Even his anti-abortion stance, as we've seen, is not based in any moral principle, and comes with no offer of assistance to those who need it. We already see that under his Presidency, abortion will become an economic luxury, not a moral evil.
JoAnn Baca
1 year ago
I, too, am very concerned that "pro life" is somehow limited to only one issue: abortion. This disregards so many other issues as to be nonsensical. If you voted for Mr. Trump because of this issue, you have overlooked extreme potential harm far greater. To say that my faith is compromised because I believe women can and must make their own moral/legal choices (even though I don't support abortion) is sad.
Tim O'Leary
1 year ago
While I didn't vote for Trump and am skeptical he will do much to protect the unborn, I do hope he will. At the very least, he can cut off tax money to Planned Parenthood. And, he can appoint justices to the Supreme court who actually want to follow the constitution, and strengthen the rights to life and religious freedom (so Catholic hospitals are not forced to cooperate in the killing). I looked at the voting in New York City. Hillary Clinton completely dominated there, getting 80% of the vote. She also dominated in Hollywood. So, as long as abortion is legal, let the rich pay for it, and not force the taxpayer to pay to kill the children. Let the blood be on their hands. Steven Krause's point about the failure of Republican appointees to protect the unborn is sobering. But, since Roe v. Wade, the Democratic party has redefined itself as the party of absolute abortion, anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. It would have been a sure thing that Clinton would have appointed extremist pro-abortion justices. So, now we have at least some hope. As to those who argue for a broader definition of pro-life, I suggest you look to Pope Francis. He takes this broader view, but never forgets the unborn, as Jon Kerr's list of quotes below demonstrates. It is possible to be pro-life and pro-immigrant, and against the death penalty. But, in today's English, it is false to be for abortion-on-demand, and claim to be pro-life. Come up with another term.
Andy Tantillo
1 year ago
Trump proposed killing the innocent children and families of terrorists as retribution. By what possible logic could he be considered "pro-life"?
Tim O'Leary
1 year ago
Andy - I agree if he really meant that, it would be an anti-life threat. However, I think he never meant innocent family members should be intentionally killed (we all know many terrorist family members are unintentionally killed by the Obama drones). He said they should be arrested as likely accomplices. This was in the wake of the suspicious family events surrounding the Orlando and San Bernardino mass killings. I don't particularly want to defend him (he was definitely not my candidate) but it is important to try to understand what he means (he has a very small vocabulary - always uses the same terms, the same hyperbole, etc.), now that he is/will be the President. In any case, he backed off that a long time ago. The problem with Trump is that he says a lot of things for dramatic effect, and then indicates he doesn't mean them literally. So, I doubt he will ever have a Muslim ban, or dramatically expand the number of non-criminal extraditions (beyond what Obama did - which is 2.5 million in 7 years - http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamas-deportation-policy-numbers/story?id=41715661), or even build a real wall. He will probably do little about abortion (even though he seems to have had a real change of heart on abortion), apart form the Justices and Planned Parenthood. It remains to be seen if he can accomplish anything. Keep in mind as well that abortion is exactly that - the killing of innocent family members.
Jasmine Armstrong
1 year ago
I find this commentary to be highly disturbing. It reeks of the problem that Right to Life activists have exerted within the political process over the past 45 years: Namely that Abortion becomes their single issue for determining whether a voter reflects Catholic values. Trump's plans to begin immediate deportations, to force Muslims to register , to work with Gingrich to bring back the House UnAmerican Activities Committee to witch hunt liberals and academics who do not support the ideas of the far right are all not reflective of Christ's mandate to love thy neighbor as thy self. To walk humbly with God and Do Justice. The refusal of the Vatican or the U.S. Council of Bishops to see that birth control provides justice for the poor, and that condoms save lives in Africa and globally from AIDS is another example. I lost two babies, one in the second trimester, but the experience showed me you cannot force women to go through child bearing if they do not have the money, support, health or will to do so. People are imperfect, as this author points out. The Church never has, nor ever will, succeed in having all Catholics, let alone human being have sexual expression be limited to the purposes of procreation within a heterosexual marriage. If you claim you want a culture of life, then ensure that undocumented families can live together, and that workers who harvest our food do not die in the Sonora Desert trying to return to their families in California. Provide comprehensive health care for all people. Ensure preference for the poor in government programs and funding. None of those things will happen under Trump, and the balance of a culture that reflect's Christ's love falls away, into darkness and fascism.
L J
1 year ago
God Bless you Mrs. Brown for your active work in the Church. As I remind Catholics and non-Catholics regularly, women and (closeted) homosexuals run the Church and without them the church would close her doors. Mrs. Brown actively and vividly walks the talk. She gets in the trenches and embraces a culture of encounter as opposed to sitting behind a computer and authoring toxic screeds that undermine their message of "inclusion, diversity and welcome". I am impressed by Mrs. Brown's CV: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marlabrown88 https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2015/08/pregnancy-aid-clinic-to-open-new-center-in-north-fulton-county/ While we as a family did not vote for Trump (nor Hillary) for Catholic reasons, I can respect her rationale for doing so. As a Latino immigrant I am very concerned about Trump! However I noticed in Mrs. Brown's article how she never cast aspersions on those who voted for Hillary as contrasted to other authors on these pages who wrote so divisively and uncharitably about Trump supporters. Actions speak loudly and Mrs Brown is a light in the darkness in journalism. We need more authentic Catholics like Mrs. Brown in the field with us smelly sheep. Refreshing! AMDG

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