Meet these Catholics who voted for Trump and love Pope Francis

The first thing you have to know about Mary Ashcroft is that she thinks she is a little bit kooky. It comes up over and over in conversation. “Maybe I’m a little strange,” she tells me, chuckling. “I’m a bit weird.”

The second is that you could listen to her forever. Originally from an English village so ancient it appears in the Domes-day Book, she has a light, musical voice that burbles with laughter whether she is talking about her passion for classical music, which plays in the background as we talk, or the fear-based version of the church she experienced growing up Catholic long before the Second Vatican Council.

Advertisement

From the time she was just 6 years old, she knew she would become a nurse, thanks to the caring example of her mother. Ms. Ashcroft came to the United States in her 20s, looking for something less hierarchical than the British hospital system. She spent her career at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, where she ran the transplant unit. “I loved what I did,” she says. “I love sick people. You could make a difference.” Being a nurse, she says, “is the greatest thing I have ever done.”

Now in retirement, Ms. Ashcroft volunteers three days a week as a school nurse at Cristo Rey High School in Harlem. She is also part of the “rosary rangers,” a group of parish women who make rosaries for soldiers. She attends Mass daily and relishes the sound of Manhattan in the evening: “You wake up in the middle of the night and you hear the city breathe.”

She looks back on a lifetime of rich experiences—like her marriage to her beloved husband (now deceased) and adventures like a journey up Mount Sinai (the real one) on camelback. “It was magic,” remembers Ms. Ashcroft. “If you want to know where God is, he is there, right there, in the darkness of the night, in the brightness of the stars, in the songs of the pilgrims as they mounted Mount Sinai and the strange sounds of the camel’s feet as they plodded along. It was extraordinary. I will never forget that moment.”

“I have loved all of my life,” she tells me. “I have been blessed.”

Mary Ashcroft is a deeply spiritual woman, passionate about her faith; a gifted nurse, whose concern for others continues in retirement.

And she is a supporter of Donald Trump. “Donald Trump can be a rather coarse man,” she said. “He’s not articulate sometimes. But whatever he says, he might say it the wrong way, but it resonates with me.”

She is not alone in feeling this way. According to post-election polling, somewhere between 45 percent (according to the American National Election Studies) and 52 percent (Pew Research Center) of Catholics who voted for president voted for Donald Trump. Mark Gray, director of polling for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, told America in April that when it came to Catholics, the election had basically been “a toss-up.”

In January of this year the Pew Research Center also reported that 87 percent of U.S. Catholics look favorably on the papacy of Pope Francis. Which is to say, not only did a considerable percentage of U.S. Catholics vote for Donald Trump in 2016, but many of them also have positive feelings for a pope whose positions often stand in contradiction to his.

quote

A Complex Choice

One might assume that many of the Catholics who support President Trump and Pope Francis made a sort of pro-life calculus, voting for Mr. Trump despite his divisive rhetoric solely because he was the candidate who had vowed to protect the unborn. But in talking with a number of pro-Trump/pro-Francis Catholics, as well as some priests serving parishes with sizable Republican communities, one finds other motivations at work. The voters I spoke with were not single-issue voters, and they showed a comfort with, even insistence on, complexity around a range of issues that are part of our national conversation.

Take, for instance, Doug and Jessica Adel. Married for 24 years, the couple lives in Sacramento with three children in their teens and early 20s, and both work for the Catholic Church. Jessica serves as the business manager of a local parish; Doug works as the finance officer for the Diocese of Stockton.

When it comes to faith and politics, neither is close to being a firebrand. Indeed, they do not much like discussing these topics in public at all. “We’re both very devout,” Jessica tells me; but, she adds, “we don’t talk about God [publicly] that much.”

For the Adels, the faith is more about witness and action. Doug, who grew up in a town of just a couple of hundred people in South Dakota, finds God in the example of others. “Working for the church in finance, you see the generosity of the people. These hurricanes that have just hit the coasts, the amount of money that has poured in, it’s incredible,” he said. And it is not just about the donations, he adds: “The commitment and time that people put in is very humbling.”

Jessica has gotten a lot out of raising her children in the church, watching them serve as lectors and cantors. “Being there when your child is cantoring is such a beautiful experience. You just feel so good.” Employment with the church has also unexpectedly put Jessica in the position of a minister. “My first week, there was a woman in our community who died of cancer. She was my age and her twins were the same age as my son. I didn’t have any experience with funerals, but I sat with her husband.” Working in a parish, she said, “you get the opportunity to help people emotionally at times when they don’t know what else to do.”

Both see Pope Francis as a source of renewal in the church today. Says Jessica, “People are really excited that he’s a Jesuit and that his message is inclusive and different. I think he’s been a very positive change.” Doug agrees: “I think it would be difficult for someone to say they didn’t like him or that he’s not a good person. He’s that other sounding board you’re listening to, as Trump is making his comments, to inform our perspective.”

For both Jessica and Doug, voting for Mr. Trump was more than anything about trying to create change in what they perceive to be a stagnant political system. “The government definitely needs change,” says Doug. “I don’t think the way it’s been working in the last number of years has been good. You overspend and nothing gets done.”

Some Trump voters see Mr. Trump’s unpredictability as also forcing conversations the country needs.

Jessica feels much the same. “I think in general people believe there’s a lot of government that doesn’t get done, a lot of government that is just ‘talking government’ rather than working for the people. I felt like Trump was really different because he was so out there. He is not politically correct a lot of the time. Something was going to get shook up.”

That is not to say they agree with everything Mr. Trump stands for or with his behavior in general. “I personally don’t like his style at all,” says Doug. “I would not ever look to him wanting to be a friend. [During the campaign] I was not a fan of his tweets and, for lack of a better word, his personality.”

But they see Mr. Trump’s unpredictability as also forcing conversations the country needs. “For 10 or 20 years politicians and the public have been saying our immigration policies need to improve,” Doug points out. “But no one has done anything about it. Now someone says we’re going to put up a wall [at the border with Mexico] and guess what, there’s a lot more visible conversation.”

He praises the ways the bishops have stepped up as well. “I see the church being a little more vocal about protecting the innocent. That gives you a different perspective to look at. But without him speaking we maybe have been silent for a while.” Debates others equate with the loss of rights for immigrants are for the Adels the necessary path to strengthening legal rights and protections for people trying to come to the United States. “A change in the immigration laws may not be a bad thing for people coming in, it may be an improvement,” says Doug. In raising the issues and having the arguments, they reason, we forge the means to long-term systemic change.

quote

The Parish Perspective

The Rev. Bernie Pietrzak and the Rev. Jerry Boland, priests working at parishes in the suburbs of Chicago, see similar feelings among their parishioners. At St. Anne’s in Barrington, a parish with over 3,800 families in the northwest suburbs, Father Pietrzak acknowledged that his parishioners by and large did not want Hillary Clinton to win, but he added, “I don’t know that you’d get a huge crowd if Trump came out here to do a rally in Barrington. They’re too bright for that, too thoughtful for that.”

Most of Father Pietrzak’s parishioners are moderate Republicans. The main concerns he has heard from them have been about high taxes and businesses moving out of the country. And many parishioners say they voted as they did to disrupt entrenched political divisions. “They see that we’re broken as a two-party system. People recognize that inability to reach across the aisle anymore, and I think they have strong feelings about it, the bipartisanship that used to be in years gone by.”

At the similarly sized Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview, Father Boland hears much the same. “What I find is that people are struggling—I think we all are—to figure out what’s going on in our country. And there is a lot of frustration towards government, and people that are angry about the economy and angry about lost opportunities.

“The coarseness of language, the divisive tone of political rhetoric [of Donald Trump]—you would think a person couldn’t survive politically pulling those chains. But I think people right now are just very frustrated with the institutions of society.”

"I think people right now are just very frustrated with the institutions of society.”

Speaking About Policy

That is not to say change in the abstract was the only concern of Catholics who voted for Mr. Trump. Ms. Ashcroft, for example, could not countenance Hillary Clinton: “She supported partial birth abortion; I could not support that.”

Ms. Ashcroft also supports some of Mr. Trump’s policies. “I don’t believe you can just walk across the border,” she says. “If you believe that, you should go to England and see what’s happening there with open immigration. I believe you have to look at the health of the people [coming]. And I don’t believe all of them are being persecuted. We’re all coming here for a better life.” (Citizens of other nations in the European Union have the legal right to migrate to England, although that may change if the United Kingdom completes a withdrawal from the European Union.)

Ms. Ashcroft speaks to some of these issues with familiarity. Because of a small mistake regarding a travel visa early in her years in the United States, she was forced to leave the country for two years before she could come back permanently. The experience has left her with little sympathy for immigrants without proper paperwork being returned to their country of origin.

At the same time, Ms. Ashcroft supports the right of the young people known as Dreamers (brought to the United States as children by parents without legal status) to stay. “I think it’s a terrible problem. These kids are now adults and they’re working,” she said. “I see this [at Cristo Rey] every day. The kids are scared. They’ve got to do something.”

Elsewhere in New York City, Leona Leo, a retired judge and another Trump supporter, feels much the same. She wants “her wall,” but she also emphatically supports a program to protect the Dreamers from deportation: “Want to talk more about immigration reform later? Fine. But for now, just do this. It’s easy, just do this.”

Ms. Leo talks about Mr. Trump as if he were a childhood pal; to her he is “Trumpy” and supporters like herself “Trumpers.” But she follows The New York Times and CNN right alongside Fox News. “Nothing’s 100 percent right,” she says.

And she has just as much affection for Francis; his picture hangs in her kitchen, and she delights in talking about him. “He’s a wonderful person. He loves everybody,” she says. Her greatest frustration? No one seems to be listening to his message. “They still don’t want to go to church,” she tells me in one conversation. And in another: “They just want to be angry.” After a moment she adds, with a quiet humility, “And I’m no better than the rest of them.”

She views Mr. Trump’s struggles so far similarly. “The Republicans are just cutting Trumpy’s feet off,” she says. “Supposedly they control Congress, but the Republicans are as Democratic as [Chuck] Schumer,” the Senate Democratic leader.

She believes the press has done the president few favors—a point that each Trump voter I spoke with mentions. “He’s obviously not a racist; I think it’s ridiculous that they call him that,” says Ms. Leo.

“When [Trump] talks about the fake media, I believe that 100 percent,” says Doug Adel. “They can take a little thing and make it into such a worse situation just in the way they present it.”

Like Ms. Ashcroft, Ms. Leo can mount vigorous defenses of Mr. Trump’s positions, whether it is his desire to change the health care system—“it’s a disaster no matter which side you’re on”—or to reduce immigration. “There’s only so much money to go around,” she explains, not without sadness. She fears that every dollar of education money spent to help a child newly arrived in this country acclimate to the education system in the United States is a dollar unavailable for special needs or advanced placement students.

quote

But she, too, fails to exhibit the willful denial and blind devotion often ascribed to Mr. Trump’s supporters. Ms. Leo expressed horror over the president’s pledge to remove transgender soldiers from service. She later stated: “All the people who hate gays don’t know any.... [Trump] should just shut up with the tweets; that’s my personal opinion. He says things before he’s researched them.”

Ms. Leo also has no problem with paying taxes: “You’ve been given and you give back. And thank God I can give back.” She finds the president’s promises about the coal industry false and manipulative. “You know, how long coal is going to last? Not long. It sounds political: ‘I’ll get all the people in West Virginia to vote for me.’ It’s on the way out and everybody knows it.”

And even as she criticizes Muslims and other immigrants for supposedly coming to the United States and demanding change rather than trying to assimilate, she also offers admiration and friendship. Ms. Leo used to do volunteer legal work for Muslim women who escaped from abusive marriages: “I would help them get their green cards. I loved my Muslim women. They were so feisty,” she said. “I remember taking one on the subway. She was so excited. ‘Now I can go anywhere in New York!’ she told me.” She also praises Muslims for their religious devotion, wishing American Catholics might act likewise.

E Pluribus

Watching Ms. Leo and her fellow pro-Trump/pro-Francis voters shift like quicksilver between applause and critique of both Trump and others, one is reminded of a line from Walt Whitman. “Do I contradict myself?” he writes in his poem “Song of Myself.”“Very well, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.”

But are we really in the realm of contradiction here? Or are we simply acknowledging nuance, that eminently Catholic notion that in all things there is both good and bad? Trump voters are often characterized as myopic, but in listening to Ms. Leo, Ms. Ashcroft and the Adels, we might do well to consider whether it is the imaginative arteries of our society as a whole that have grown narrow.

Still, there are sometimes sharp differences between the positions of Trump Catholics and those of the pope, whom many of them profess to respect. Facing those differences can be a challenge. “I have people coming up to me that are very angry at the pope about any number of issues,” says Father Boland. “They say he should stay out of politics”—a position Ms. Leo echoes, pointing to recent comments by the pope on the shortcomings of capitalism. “No, no, no; stop, don’t do this; you’re alienating Europeans and Americans,” she says.

quote

Father Boland tries to help parishioners see that the pope speaks as “a moral leader” and that topics like economics can, in fact, fall under his purview. He reminds them that Francis is “not a politician, he’s not running for the Republican nomination.” But Father Boland appreciates their struggle: “You get caught in this quandary, How can you be against what the pope said?”

Ms. Ashcroft acknowledges she does not always see eye to eye with the pope. But she does not mind his challenges, either: “Somehow Francis has a way of addressing things that doesn’t rub you up the wrong way.” She wonders if it is not the fact that the pope is “an action man”—a quality she also attributes to Trump. “Think about the washing machines he’s putting around the Vatican, the showers and the toilets for the homeless. He acts, you know?.... [D]o you see any of those very wealthy actors with their large homes in Beverly Hills opening them up?”

Father Pietrzak is finding Francis and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago to be valued voices in the broader conversation. “People admire and respect them,” he says. “And because they’re respected, people listen with a more open heart. That’s a rich blessing in the time we live.”

The Adels agree. “Sometimes it’s easy to follow the crowd,” Doug offers. “‘Let’s not let anybody come here because it’s going to cost us all this money’.... But when you hear another side, it makes you stop and stand back and wonder what you’re really doing.” Says Jessica: “He’s the pope. He sets the tone.”

It has not been easy being a Catholic who voted for Trump, Ms. Leo says. “I think the church thinks that I’m not really following the Catholic viewpoint.” She has felt looked down on by her fellow Catholics at times. She also has been startled by the comments of clergy, as when her favorite priest—she calls him “the most brilliant person I have ever met”—told people that he “hates” Trump, “and he doesn’t like Trump people.”

Her favorite priest told people that he “hates” Trump, “and he doesn’t like Trump people.”

“I once said to him, ‘You’re the only person I ever met who I would have married.’ That’s how much I love this priest.’”

“How can you do that?” wonders Ms. Ashcroft, who has had similar experiences. “How can you preach love and then come outside and spew hate?” She talks with frustration over the assumptions being lobbed at some Masses. “They’re constantly ramming down our throats that we have to be kinder and open and give. And I think to myself, ‘Come along. You don’t know what we give.... They’re presuming we’re not kind.”

This is not an isolated experience. Numerous people I reached out to for this article refused to be interviewed specifically because they said they were afraid of the blowback they or their families might experience if people in their parishes or workplaces found out they voted for Mr. Trump. Others have expressed apprehension that anything they might say will be taken out of context.

“We’re part of you,” says Ms. Leo, with obvious longing, to her fellow Catholics. “If you love us, then accept us.”

All Together Now

Trying to figure out how to pastor in the midst of these divisions has been challenging for priests, too. “I have never prayed the Serenity Prayer more than I have [since Trump’s inauguration],” says the Rev. William F. Kerze, pastor of Our Lady of Malibu, in Malibu, Calif. For as long as he has been there, some 22 years now, Father Kerze has known his parish to be welcoming to all points of view. He remembers looking up during a Mass early in his tenure to find the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sitting on the far right side of the church, and on the far left, in the same pew, the actor and activist Martin Sheen. “I just started laughing,” he said.

quote

Today he notes how cautious everyone has become. “You don’t banter about politics anymore. There’s a sense of walking on eggs. Or it’s like you don’t want to light a match with gunpowder around.”

In Glenview, Father Boland finds people seem more easily triggered in general. “I hear a pastor talk about a school board meeting that disintegrates or a parish council where people just overreact. I think it’s because we’re surrounded by people yelling and screaming all day long, and everything is questioning your sanity or your humanity if you disagree.

“If you’re a preacher, there could be a fair amount of suffering [over how to preach] right now,” he says. “But I think it’s crucial that our Catholic teachings are in front of people.”

At Precious Blood Church in Dayton, Ohio, Timothy Knepper, C.P.P.S., has tried his best to do just that, bringing up difficult issues when the readings invite it. A convert to Catholicism from the Baptist faith, Father Knepper is now the parochial vicar at several parishes. His pastoral approach often is rooted in memories of how he and the Baptists he grew up with saw Catholics. “We always knew the Catholics were the ones who were going to stand for the outcast, the unborn,” he explains. For Baptists, Catholics opposing refugees or immigrants “is just weird. It’s like Catholics against the Eucharist.”

But Father Knepper finds it essential that his homilies speak to everyone. “I try to make sure that what I say challenges all of us, not just the conservatives or the liberals.” And he works hard to be open to criticism himself. “They’ve been very good with me,” he says of his parishioners. “They send me an email and say, ‘Hey, you have your viewpoint, Father, but there’s also this.’ They do it in such a way that’s very caring.”

"I think it’s crucial that our Catholic teachings are in front of people."

Many priests say that being a good preacher right now is about getting out of the way and letting Scripture do its work. “I do my best to understand what the word of God is saying,” explains Kerze. “I really try to preach the Gospel.”

Says Father Pietrzak, “I have never ever used the name of Donald Trump in any homily. And I haven’t had to. The themes are there. You speak to the themes, and you speak to people’s lives. And I think it kind of shows itself.”

Father Pietrzak also emphasizes the intelligence of the flock. “They are very bright people, highly educated,” he repeatedly points out. “They’re looking for some sense of what’s going to be the moral guide of their life, looking at the good news of the Gospel and open to being challenged by it.”

During the weekend of the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Father Boland felt it would be irresponsible not to say something about racism and bigotry. After the Mass, he says, “I was really waiting to be creamed.” Instead, people thanked him. He found a similarly warm reception in talking about climate change and “Laudato Si’.”

Many also note how service trips, outside speakers speaking from personal experience and other chances for parishioners to engage with people in need have largely been met with welcome and the setting aside of political narratives. “It puts a face on the story,” says Father Boland.

Sunday Mass itself offers a similar opportunity, he finds. “You get a church full of people and there’s young people and old people and rich people and poor people,” says Father Boland. “[It] resists the ‘we versus they’ mentality or simplistic generalizations about very complex issues.”

“The people of God, they make us better Christians,” says Father Knepper, reflecting on his own experience as a priest, but perhaps also on what the faith intends for all believers. “They make us into the people they need us to be.”

Each night Ms. Leo prays for the grace to know where she saw God in her day. She finds the practice has challenged her to grow. “I used to keep everything, save save save, put it all in the bank. Now one of the things I want to do every day is be generous.” Now in retirement, she continues to volunteer with students at Cathedral High School, serves as a eucharistic minister every Saturday night, and works as an auxiliary police officer in her community. In her role as an auxiliary officer, on Sept. 11, 2001, she stood at the 59th Street Bridge all day, directing traffic. Even as she describes that scene, what she remembers most is others’ generosity. “People were so helpful, they brought food and water to us,” she says.

"Why not just love each other and accept what we are to each other, go out and volunteer to the world?"

She does not much see the point of arguing politics in the church:“You can’t persuade me and I can’t persuade them, so why fight? Why not just love each other and accept what we are to each other, go out and volunteer to the world?”

As for Ms. Ashcroft, more than once in our conversations, she tells me that she feels like she was “an American born on the wrong side of the Atlantic.” I ask her what she means.

“I totally believe in America,” she says. “I love everything that it stands for. It doesn’t sound like it, but I love everything, all of its warts and pimples and bumps. I love the diversity. I love what I saw here.” She’s equally committed to her faith community, bumps and all. “It has changed my life, no question,” she says. “The teaching, it’s endless, every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a two-minute homily, every day is an aha moment.”

“But that doesn’t come just by sitting there,” she says. “You have to read and go do it.”

Jim McDermott, S.J., a screenwriter, is America’s Los Angeles correspondent.

 

Correction, Nov. 4: Ms. Leo's age was inaccurate. The error has been removed.  

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 weeks ago

I know a lot of people like these, and they truly are wonderful souls. Great article. Helps me to give them more room. Ours is a very big Church.

Dolores Pap
3 weeks ago

Ugh..I pruned every trumpist from my intimate circle..There is nothing as horrible as people who would sell their soul to support this amoral conman..

matthew crowson
2 weeks 6 days ago

To "prune" someone from your circle of acceptable humans is profoundly unchristian. To call someone a "horrible person" is profoundly unchristian. Can you imagine in the Gospel Jesus rejecting Levi (a supposedly "horrible person") rather than joining him for a meal in his home? While I am neither left nor right, I find that some people on the left (and the right) can be viciously intolerant of those they disagree with.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 6 days ago

Dolores
Unfortunately the choice was between the "amoral con man " and the "amoral con woman, leaving one with just a choice of competing policies. The people interviewed for this article seem to have made it quite clear that they could distinguish between the competing policies of these two unsavory choices while fully comprehending the gaping flaws in their respective personas. You seem to be unable to exercise the same judicious approach!
What is interesting and passingly amusing is Father McDermott's seeming shocked epiphany that great numbers of Catholics could admire Francis and yet have voted for Trump. This magazine would benefit if it had editors who had made a similar effort to find out what motivated Catholics in this election.
It would be well to remember that in a binary election , sometimes one is just left with the choice between the lesser of two evils!

Michael Seredick
3 weeks ago

I was blessed with Sr. Mary Ligouri in grade 7. She helped form my lifetime conscience on morals. She'd be disgusted with trump, as was I in November 2016. I'm on the dastardly, non-trump side of the church pews, and no longer feel welcome at Mass. Enjoy your trump leadership. I suspect your heads will soon hang in shame as his transgressions become unbearable in the "fake" news.

Charles Erlinger
2 weeks 6 days ago

In the many presidential elections in which I have voted, I have been embarrassed, chagrined and angered by my susceptibility to the confidence games that parties and candidates play in quite a few instances. Not that I have been inadequately prepared to discern, reason and act prudently. It is because I surrendered to appeals to various instincts that tend to subvert and divert reason. Moreover, on those occasions on which I have felt pleased with my vote choices, I have been sorely tempted to feel smug and superior to those who did not make the same brilliant choices that I made. I tend to forget the instances in which other brilliant people have good reason to feel smug and intellectually superior toward me regarding the choices that I made. All of these thoughts lead me to reflect how demanding of citizenship our form of government is. It appears that it was specifically designed to be experienced by only those who habitually exercise the gift of reason. And that reflection, in turn, reminds me of so many gospel parables in which the often implicit message is: “God gave you reason. Think!”

Roy Van Brunt
2 weeks 6 days ago

Voting for Trump - and even liking and supporting him - while also identifying with Pope Francis is an oxymoron of the highest order, and cannot be better understood by a reading of this article. It expresses a persona that is both misguided and less than deep thinking. No two people possess a more disparate living of our faith. If the Holy Spirit reads this article, it will be hopelessly confused!

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 6 days ago

Roy
What if one dispised Trump but voted" Against" Hillary?

MARGARET O'NEIL
2 weeks 6 days ago

You don’t get a pass and voting “against” a candidate is voting for the guy whose name you selected. The voter has to own that. There were alternatives. The question is, what are you going to do about it now?

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 6 days ago

Margaret
In a binary world like a Presidential election, selecting the lesser of two evils is not being in favor of "(For") such evil.
I can fully understand a person being "Against" either Trump or Clinton. Your inability to do so is your problem.
So let me ask you with reference to your demand/challenge to "owning your vote": Did your (apparent) vote for Mrs Clinton mean that you are FOR abortion(even late term abortion)? Are you owning that?

MARGARET O'NEIL
2 weeks 5 days ago

First, there is a factual error in your statement. Every ballot in America had other choices than the two party candidates. And when you find both candidates objectionable, sometimes it is appropriate to make a statement by not voting. Rarely is that appropriate, but in this election, those who did so consciously may have taken the higher road. Not that I owe you an explanation: I gladly own my vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, every day and twice on Sunday. I am not a single issue voter and I have the sophistication to recognize that if you don’t look at all of the policies of a candidate, you are overlooking multitudes of other actions that impact both those yet to be born and those living. I believe in the dignity of life from conception to natural death --and all points in between. So, yes, Hillary Clinton was not the best anti-abortion candidate but her policies overall respected the dignity of human life, with the policies to implement that. I’d also point out that the election of “pro-life” candidates has done little to nothing to stem abortion (their positions are just to get your vote) and equally important completely fails to address the reasons women have abortions; nor do these candidates endorse programs that would support women and men through a pregnancy and raising children. (And no, it is not used as a form of birth control. That’s ignorant.). So, although I do not really care for either Clinton, I proudly own my vote for her. To vote only on abortion is to ignore the actual reasons why an unwanted pregnancy occurs, the impact of the lack of prenatal care and other support for pregnant women and the children they carry, fails to address the responsbilty of the fathers, then fails to ensure that the children that are born have access to adequate health care, shelter, education and love that are necessary for them to survive and thrive. It also ignores the impact of Trump’s policies on the elderly, the poor, and all people at the margins.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 5 days ago

Margaret
So many words to justify your vote despite Clinton's abortion stance indicates you understand "nuance".....and yet you won't credit anyone else with their own nuanced analysis respecting Trump's policies vs his deeply flawed personality. A bit self righteous and inequitable on your part to claim the nuanced introspection you deny to others.

MARGARET O'NEIL
2 weeks 5 days ago

You raised a single issue to try to shame me regarding my vote and added the parenthetical late term abortion to add a twist. I addressed your question fully because the issue requires more than a two sentence jab, which is what you sent me. I’m moving on now.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 5 days ago

Margaret
My rejoinder to you was hardly a two sentence jab .....And if you thought it was shaming you, then that is only because your in original comment above you sought to shame anyone who voted for Trump while still recognizing his multiple and serious flaws..

MARGARET O'NEIL
2 weeks 5 days ago

It is treating the issue with the seriousness it deserves. You raised a single issue to try to shame me regarding my vote and added the parenthetical late term abortion to add a twist. I am completely comfortable having voted for Clinton over Trump -- it wasn’t even close -- and feel vindicated, not a need to justify my vote. So, I addressed your question fully because the issue requires more than a two sentence jab, which is what you sent me. I’m moving on now.

Randal Agostini
2 weeks 6 days ago

An excellent article, which shows the Christian virtue of trying to understand a situation.
"I think it’s because we’re surrounded by people yelling and screaming all day long, and everything is questioning your sanity or your humanity if you disagree."
What so often gets lost in the conversation is what Jesus stood for, more than anything else, was Love. When we look at our differences through a lens of Love it becomes easy to understand how a good Catholic can vote for Trump and love our Pope.

MARGARET O'NEIL
2 weeks 6 days ago

There is no justification at this point for any Christian to stand by Donald Trump. He is not just coarse, he repeatedly has behaved in ways that violate every tenet of Catholic teaching -- first and foremost, by consistently lying and then by disrespecting the dignity of every human being that isn’t white, male and serving his interests. He is incapable of taming his anger, his racism, misogyny, and sexual perversion (in his lasciviousness). The idea of preferential treatment of the poor is completely alien and antithetical to him. Every policy he promotes and tweet he sends is rooted in self interest and narcissism and his policies feed the demands of the greedy around him. Not to mention that he daily attacks our democratic institutions, which should be a Catholic issue. I am dismayed and cringe at the thought that any Catholic institution or media gives succor to those who continue to support him. The Church should have known better before the election and even more so now. Articles like this bolster legitimacy for his actions and are hypocritical and irresponsible. To argue that you can support Trump and love Pope Francis is unconscionable and incomprehensible.

Anne Chapman
2 weeks 6 days ago

Thank you, Margaret. It is pretty clear that some of these Catholic supporters of Trump have failed to grasp both Francis' message and the teachings of Jesus himself. Their moral compass needs readjustment.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 6 days ago

Anne
Since you cite the Pope's message, I believe it was Francis who memorably said: "Who am I to judge?".........apparently you didn't "grasp" that part of the message.

MARGARET O'NEIL
2 weeks 5 days ago

Context is everything; taking something out of context is disingenuous.

Anne Chapman
2 weeks 5 days ago

Francis did not say to never judge. He made that comment in response to a very specific question.

Francis' replied "Who am I to judge" when asked about whether or not homosexuals should be priests. A rather different situation than voting for a man whose political platform is the antithesis of Catholic teaching, which is based on the gospel.

"“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters, ....Francis’s words could not have been more different from those of Benedict XVI, who in 2005 wrote that homosexuality was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil,” and an “objective disorder.” The church document said men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not become priests.

Francis also said, after visiting the US/Mexican border:

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel," the Pope told journalists who asked his opinion on Trump's proposals to halt illegal immigration.

Trump exploited people's fears - he has manipulated millions of people by encouraging the fear of strangers, encouraging a fear of accepting immigrants, and especially, refugees. Francis also said - in regards to fear in western nations of accepting immigrants -

'(Fear) is fed and manipulated' he said. 'Because fear....weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others. In the end it makes us cruel.'

The bible says - many, many times - that' God's people are to welcome the stranger. In the OT, he reminds his people, Israel, that they were strangers. In the NT, we are told that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were refugees - in Egypt, fleeing for their lives, just as millions of people are doing today.

“You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt:
(Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV) “
“Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jeremiah 22:3 ESV)

And from the gospels - Jesus said:

“‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:35-40 NASB)

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV)
For more see:
http://welcomingthestranger.com/wp_welcoming/learn-and-discern/scriptur…

I am (was) a lifelong Republican. I voted for the Republican candidate for President in 11 elections. Two years ago I would have scoffed if someone had told me I would vote for a Democrat for president, rather than the Republican. I never imagined that tens of millions of Americans would abandon traditional conservative values, Republican values, not to mention the values that have made America great (give me your tired, your poor, you huddled masses yearning to breathe free...) and the christian values they claimed to believe in (see quotes above). Donald Trump was never a Republican, and he is not a conservative. (read Jeffrey Flake's book for more on that). He is first and foremost a conman, one ;who is also a nativist, a populist, whose platform was so clearly anti-gospel that it's still impossible for me to accept that people who claim to be christian could have supported him. The lesser of two evils in this election - definitely. Unfortunately, it was the "worse" of the two evils who was elected, with the complicity of people who claim to follow Jesus.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 5 days ago

Anne
And what do you suppose Francis would say to someone like Hillary Clinton who supports no limits abortion? I believe he called it "an abominable crime"!
I do not believe for a minute that you believe you supported abortion just because you voted for Hillary Clinton.....nor do I think that such a vote requires you to "reset your moral compass " as you first stated was required by a Trump voter. However , You would do well to grant to a Trump voter the same courtesy you extend to yourself by not suggesting such a voter supports a multitude of Mr Trumps statements etc.
I can fully understand why you think Trump was "the worse " of two evils. But since you recognize that it was indeed a choice between two evils, you might credit others who reached a different conclusion with their having analyzed and reached their conclusion in good faith just as you have.

Frank Pray
2 weeks 5 days ago

Despite the character sketches, I still do not grasp the contradiction of following Catholic social teaching and supporting Donald Trump. I understand the logic of picking a disrupter to produce change in a stalemated Congress. But I don’t see disruption, but greater polarization. I agree the liberal media overplays minor points with clear bias to discredit Trump. But ultimately Trump himself is an extreme demagogue driven by self-love. The word “populist” is too lame for his brand of divisive power-plays. He is accelerating a division already underway. He is the wrong man at the wrong time, and only Vladimir Putin is winning.

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 5 days ago

I like the discussion. However, we need to be more concrete and base our positions on the cores of our faith. And those cores ought to be from the Bible and the teachings of the Church. Disagreements that are not based on the Scriptures and what the Church teaches will be subjective, political, emotional and relativist. In this regard, I take John 17: 14-23 as fundamental to our faith-the Christian faith and Catholicism. It is about how God consecrated HIMSELF to us in flesh through Christ so that we may be consecrated in truth. Please read John 17: 14-23 closely and faithfully. Now, I will like my fellow Christians and Catholics and commentators on the subject matter of this conversation in this blog to concentrate on John 17:21; read John 17:21 in conjunction with 1 John 5: 12, 1 John 4: 20, 1 John 4: 8. It seems that we as human beings and as citizens; our practices, the choices we make-political, electoral, voting, cultural, social, economic choices- cannot be in contradiction with John 17: 21, 1 John 5: 12, 1 John 4: 20, 1 John 4: 8 and at the same still sustain the Christian faith. In other words, a violation of these scriptures(as the electoral choices and voting of some Christians Catholics and Evangelicals in the 2016 election show) is incompatible with the Christian faith, and with Catholicism-the teachings of the Church, the Church of the living Christ. I mean how can any Christian, any Catholic reconcile bigotry, racism, race supremacist politics, race supremacist views, and xenophobia with Christianity, the Scriptures, the teachings of the Church, the Mother Church? How can we say someone's openly racist, race supremacist positions and pronouncements are "mere rhetorics"? Mere rhetorics? When such person is very consistent in espousing such views both in the past and in the present? If you do not feel it, I grant that you do not feel it and I grant that you have a right not to feel it. But do not claim that your right not to feel it and your failure to feel it is consistent with John 17:21. It is not. I grant each voter the right to vote in any way, including a vote that is in ruthless aggression and in fundamental and brazen violation of the core of our faith-the Christian faith. What some Christian and Catholic voters in the 2016 election are doing is that they want to eat their cake and have it. They want to exercise their right to vote the way they want (which is understandable but which is based on their emotions and fears which are results of fear and hate mongering), but which contradict the teachings in the Bible, and at the same time reconcile such contradictions with Christianity! But I am not sure it is correct to want to reconcile political choices that brazenly contradict the teachings of the Bible and the Church with the Bible and the Church. Such reconciliation, to put it mildly -is arrogant and must be rejected by true Christians and Catholics. The only lens of my Christianity and Catholicism is the Bible and the teachings of the Church. Any other lens is self serving and must be rejected. Even when as citizen each person politically, has a political right to vote and vote in contradiction of the Bible, the teachings of Christ and the teachings of HIS Church, but we must not attempt to butter, burnish and reconcile such brazen contradictions of the teachings of Christ and the Bible with the Bible and the teachings of our Church, Christ Church. As a citizen, as a person, as a Christian, as a Catholic, I will not do this, I will not vote in contradiction of the core of our faith, and the ministry of Christ. This is why those who serve Christ, our Lord will say meditatively: ours is always a journey, a journey of faith. Permit me to conclude by saying that If we are discussing our faith, then any disagreement with the position I have expressed here should be based on the scriptures and the teachings of Christ, and HIS Church, the Mother Church-again, I say meditatively, "our is always a journey of faith." May God Bless us all. May God Bless our country-The United States of America.

MARGARET O'NEIL
2 weeks 5 days ago

Amen, Sir, amen.

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 5 days ago

The trouble with your comment is that it doesn't describe the situation in the United States. You may believe it but there is lots of evidence that it is not true. The press and the politicians create a lot of fake News and false narratives. The most egregious one is that there is a significant movement for white supremacy in the United States.

I cannot believe in all those passages in John you cite and ever vote for a Democrat. Have you not seen what they have done to the African Americans in the last 50+ years?

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 4 days ago

I rely on the following in my comments. (i) The Scriptures, (ii)The teaching of Christ, our Lord and savior, (iii)The teachings of the Church, Christ Church, the Catholic Church, and hard facts. This is why in the conclusion of my post, I made a caveat that if the discussion is about the Christian faith, I asked that our discussion and disagreements should be based on the scriptures, the teachings of the Catholic Church, Christ Church and hard facts. So I have the following for you (i) Please state precisely your disagreement with my post an back your disagreement up with the scriptures, the teachings of Christ and the teachings of HIS Church. (ii) if you are referring to political issues, state the facts, the hard facts and data. (iii) with hard facts state how my comment does not describe the situation in the United States of America. Let me give you some hard facts that describe the situation in the United States of America, that speak to racism, bigotry, xenophobia deep seated hate since you want us to talk about the situation in the United States of America, where I live and where I presume you live. In an August 28-30 2015 survey by Public Policy Polling and reported by MSNBC, Trump supporters were asked a question which was asked in 2009: Do you believe Obama was born in America. The results came as:
Yes: 21 percent
No; 61 percent
Unsure: 18 percent.
Conclusion: In 2015, against reason and facts, 61 percent of Americans who are members of the Republican Party and Trump supporters said that President Obama is not a natural born American citizen! Let us pretend (there are historical antecedents-but let us just suppose there are none) that the there is no historical antecedents in the slave and race history of the United States of America that explain that the natural citizenship of a seating American president -Barak Obama- was denied by some people for pure race reasons. (Re-call those who deny President Obama's natural citizenship want to pretend that there are no serious legal and procedure violations about how the wife of an American president who came here as a visitor and came on a visitor's visa became an American citizen! They pretend that these initial violations do not exist, they do not want to talk about them!-My point is that even when the two are NOT qualitatively on the same scale, -because one is a natural born citizen , the other was a non-immigrant, a visitor to the United States who became an immigrant- why pick and choose? Why will those who deny the citizenship of a natural born American become suddenly selective? Is there a race issue in this amnesia and double standard? Just some questions for us to reflect on. Just so that no one twist my position. She the wife of an American president I referred to has the privilege of becoming a citizen if she followed the immigration regulations of the nation and the nation's laws just like any new immigrant ought to do). So for the purpose of clarification, let us ignore all these and pretend that they do not exist, and let us ask the question: Against the background of the slave and race history of the United States of America, What do you call a situation if against empirical facts and verifiable data (not alternative facts or alternative truth) 61 percent of Trump supporters said that they do not believe that President Obama was born in the United States of America and 18 percent of same supporters said they were not sure? Now since you alluded to the situation in the United states of America, I want you to state yours if you live in this country. When you state your situation with hard facts and data, please do readers a favor, by citing the parts of the (i)the scriptures, (ii) the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and his ministry, the teachings of Christ Church, the Catholic Church that support your position and claim. My conclusion is that racism, support for slavery, anti-semitism, bigotry, hate, sexism, xenophobia, support for race supremacy, are incurable violations of the scriptures as backed by John 17: 21. God Bless you. God Bless us all, God Bless the United States of America. God Bless all God's children in the world. Ours is always a journey of faith. And ours is the Universal Church of Christ, HIS Church, the Catholic Church. Thank you.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 4 days ago

Mr Ademoyo
You invite a discussion based on Scripture and the Teachings of the Church and "Hard Facts" You then to proceed to enter into a lengthy argument with yourself based on selected Hard Facts and declare yourself the victor! in point of fact I know of no one who disputes that "racism,support for slavery,anti Semitism, bigotry,hate, sexism, xenophobia, support for race supremacy are violationsof the scriptures ." Your suggestion that a poll of people who believed President Obama not to be a Native American must be analyzed in order to reach this already undisputed conclusion is simply tautological nonsense.
I invite you to review your own statement and Scriptural references and Teachings of the Church BUT instead make your "Hard Fact " predicate the endorsement and support of abortion.

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 4 days ago

I will respond to you systematically. This is the way to remove any ambiguity in our thoughts.
1. You wrote: "You invite a discussion based on Scripture and the Teachings of the Church and "Hard Facts"" Yes I did because the scriptures do not support racism, slavery, anti-semitism, race supremacy, xenophobia, sexism, bigotry and hate. It is not obvious that some of us agree that the scriptures do not support these evils. Therefore, we must try our best to make it clear every time that under no scriptural or biblical circumstance can anyone be they Pastor, Evangelist, Priest, sister, brother, Presidents of "Christian" Universities reconcile racism, slavery, xenophobia, anti-semitism, sexism, bigotry with Christianity-Full Stop.
2. You wrote: "Your suggestion that a poll of people who believed President Obama not to be a Native American must be analyzed in order to reach this already undisputed conclusion is simply tautological nonsense." We are enjoined on this platform to be respectful in our comments. So I will ignore your adjective. This is my response. Point of correction. You wrote that "President Obama is a Native American" I am sure that is a genuine mistake. President Obama is not a Native American. Native Americans are Americans who are wrongly called "Red Indians". So President Obama is not a "Native American" Rather President Obama is a native born American. But more importantly, here is the issue, those who hold on to the lie, falsehood that President Obama is not a native born American hold that view from a race supremacy standpoint. And my post is directed at them. My post is not directed at the majority of fair minded people in America who do not subscribe to this racist and race supremacy view. And the lie that President Obama is not a native born American is not only motivated by race supremacy ideology, the lie was a political strategy (and it is still is) deployed to mobilize a section of our country who were falsely and emotionally worked up, whose emotions were preyed on to believe this lie. And the lie "worked" because the owner of the project -the lie that President Obama is not a native born American reaped sufficient votes based on this political strategy.
3. You wrote: "I invite you to review your own statement and Scriptural references and Teachings of the Church"- This is my answer: Which of the scriptures I cited do you want me to review? I cited the scriptures to show that the scriptures do not support racism, slavery, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry, anti-semitism. Why is that a problem?
4. You wrote: "no one who disputes that "racism, support for slavery, anti Semitism, bigotry, hate, sexism, xenophobia, support for race supremacy are violations of the scriptures" I will tell you point blank that your claim here is not true in view of the history of the world and our country-the United States of America. God Bless you. God Bless us all. God Bless America. God Bless God loving peoples of the world.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 4 days ago

Mr Ademoyo
The capitalization of the word "Native" was done by "auto spell check". In context is quite obvious it should be a lower case "n".
With respect to your argument that you have directed your argument at the Obama poll because one person(nameless?) gathered votes based on this assertion is as a factual matter not supported by any "hard facts". I will readily grant you itis supported by a great deal of pure "surmise" but certainly not by any source you have cited.
I asked that you review your scriptural sources respecting the "hard fact" that one candidate actively campaigned on supporting an unlimited right to abortion .I surmise that a number of votes were obtained by that candidate based on this position. So I ask again if your scriptural analysis and references to the Church's teachings would condemn such a position on abortion and those who supported such a candidate in the same way as your analysis condemns the Obama Citizenship deniers .

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 4 days ago

1. Your claim: You wrote: "With respect to your argument that you have directed your argument at the Obama poll because one person(nameless?) gathered votes based on this assertion is as a factual matter not supported by any "hard facts". I will readily grant you it is supported by a great deal of pure "surmise" but certainly not by any source you have cited".. My response: The Poll I cited says 61 percent of Trump voters believe that President Obama is not a native born American while 18 percent of Trump voters claim they are not sure. I think you should respond to this.
2. Abortion: You brought it up. (a) The onus is on you to state the argument-State it succinctly. (b) State your claim. (c) Defend your claim with -the scriptures, Christ Ministry, the teaching of the Church. It is your moral responsibility to do this since you brought it up. This way readers will read (i) your claim (ii) your premises-scriptural, Christ ministry and teaching of the Church. All readers including me will then be able to respond to your claim and your defense and all the discussion. Please note that this is not something between two persons. It is not about me, it is not about you. The issues are bigger than you and I though I am grateful to AmericaMagazine for providing the platform-no matter how limited the platform is for now- for us to have this conversation. These issues are important for our nation. They are already in the public domain, and we all will engage them not with alternate truth, and alternate fact, but with reason, faith, the scriptures, the actual teaching of Christ ministry, and the teachings of Christ Church, the Catholic Church. Issues like these, and the stubborn refusal by some to engage the hard facts of the history of our nation is part of the reason Dr. Barber, an Evangelical Bishop has called out Jerry Falwell Jr. president of Liberty University, presumably a Christian university to an open debate on some of these important issues in the fate of our nation.
God Bless you. God Bless us all. God Bless our country, the United States of America. God Bless all God's Children who labor everyday in HIS vineyard, building God's Kingdom on earth free of racism, sexism, race supremacy, anti-semitism, xenophobia and bigotry. I hope this helped.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 4 days ago

Mr Ademoyo
Your point 1 immeadiately above relies on a Poll that was taken well over one year before the election in November 2016!!
How can you possibly claim its is relevant to proving Trump voter motivation one year later.? Your are relying wholly on your own surmise respecting why a person voted for Trump in 2016 and have not cited any "hard fact" in support of that surmise. Recall that your own predicate required "hard fact".
As an example of how erroneous your surmise may just be, see the KBYU /Utah Colleges Exit Poll that found that days before the election some 50% of potential Utah voters had no idea who they were going to vote for AND their Utah Exit poll found that 49% of those who pulled the Trump lever actually said they were voting against Hillary Clinton and not because they liked Trump or his policies.
2. You wrote first above......
....."the choices we make....political, electoral, voting cannot be in contradiction to John 17:21 .....and still sustain the Christian faith. In other words a violation of these scriptures ( as the electoral choices and voting of some ....Catholics ...in the 2016 election show) is incompatible with ....Catholicism ....and the teachings of the [Catholic] Church.

In the context of your words consider that Pope Francis in April 2014, following the teachings of Vatican 11 based on scripture , declared that abortion is "an abominable/unspeakable crime"
If a Presidential Candidate in 2016 supports and avows the right to unlimited abortion , then as your argument. puts it .....".a vote for such a candidate (as the voting of some Catholics in the 2016 election shows) is incompatible with Catholicism and the teachings of the Church".

Please keep in mind that I present this brief argument using your predicates ....predicates which I believe you have narrowly defined to suit your preconceived conclusion that the majority of Trump voters are racist bigots.
In making this argument concerning abortion on your predicates/terms, I do NOT consider that Catholics who voted for Hillary Clinton to be supporters of abortion. Apparently you would have to conclude otherwise

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 4 days ago

My first response.
1. State your position on abortion. Be precise. Back your position up with (i) the scriptures, Christ Ministry, teachings of the Church.
2. Since you are relying on the Pope, it behoves on you to be comprehensive on all issues. You will recall the tactics of the political and media spokespersons of this administration-the Trump administration. Their tactics is diversion. You ask them a question, they run away from the question, divert and respond and say "what about the other person?" Even respectable American media organizations fell for that trap during the elections, now and all the time. I am always shocked when I see respectable and highly intelligent American journalists fall for the diversions of the spokespersons of this administration! Put starkly, I will not waste my time on diversions. I told you that these issues are big issues that concern my country-the United States of America, and we- American Christians and Catholics who genuinely labor in the vineyard of Christ for Christ divine unity, divine love and divine peace in our country are no longer going to allow diversions, we are no longer going to allow the sweeping of issues under the carpet. So since you sneaked in abortion, and you are relying on the Pope, you will kindly do the following. I ask you to do these things so as to focus our eyes on the ball as I often tell my kids to do when I am training them to play good tennis! I will tell them "put your eyes on the ball!" So let us go!
a. State the position of the Pope on abortion.
b. State the positions of the scriptures, the bible on abortion.
c. State the position of the Pope on racism, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, anti-semitism, hate, race supremacy.
d. State the position of the scriptures on racism, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, anti-semitism, hate, race supremacy. I have given you some.
e. State the position of the Pope on racism, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, anti-semitism, hate, race supremacy.
f. State or read the position of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the position of he United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on racism, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, anti-semitism, hate, race supremacy.
Now when you have done all these, then
1. State the history of Donald Trump on racism, race supremacy, sexism, bigotry and xenophobia.
2. State Donald Trump's own unforced and un-solicited confession on sexism, sexual harassment.
3. State Donald Trump's views on race supremacy, racism and bigotry in the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
4. Deny if Donald Trump did not say he had never asked God for forgiveness.
Finally, when you have done a comprehensive study of these issues, if some Christians say these do not matter, we are inclined to ask why don't they matter.
I want your eyes on these issues, stay on the issues. And I want you to state the premises and give backing to each of the claims on abortion and racism, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, anti-semitism, hate, race supremacy. The backings I demand that you rely on are (i) the scriptures, the teachings of Christ HIMSELF, the teachings of the Church. Mind you, I am a pupil at the feet of Christ and HIS teachings. Therefore, I know what I am doing, I know what I am saying because Christ has taught me, Christ is teaching me and I have read HIS teachings.
God Bless you. God Bless us all. God Bless us the good people and citizens of the United States of America. God Bless all HIS children who are laboring to institute the kingdom of God's peace, love and unity among God's people.
When we live in the spirit, Christ allows us to see these things. But when we live in flesh, we are blinded, we cannot see. May Christ enable us to live in Christ spirit so that we can see, and see these things even if we do not feel them!
Christ Peace, Unity & Love Always.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 4 days ago

Mr Ademoyo
I wil no longer jump on this linguistic quasi religious trampoline you have insisted on creating. On bounce seems to require yet another, and another ad infinatum. Your endless "yes but....." dialectic seeks not a conclusion but an endles discussion to justify your view that America is populated by racist bigots who voted for Trump.
Your self proclaimed ordination "at the feet of Christ" to declare your righteousness and the superiority of your position ...."because you know what you are doing....and saying because Christ has taught you" must and will be the coda to this discussion.

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 4 days ago

No diversions please. I will state the original conversation as a question. The question is: Is it possible to reconcile racism, race supremacy, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, hate with (i) the Scriptures, (ii) Christ Ministry, (iii) Christ teachings and the teachings of HIS Church as some Christians in our country-the United States of America seem to believe? My answer is NO. I gave my backings. My backings are the scriptures, the teachings of Christ and HIS Church, the Catholic Church. Some Christians equivocate. Some prosperity "Christians" actually defend this view-the reconciliation of race supremacy with the bible! Some Christians who disagree have not given a single argument. Some divert by sneaking in another issue-abortion. I rejected the diversion by insisting that the onus is on those who tactically sneaked in abortion to be comprehensive on this-after which we can commence a full blown conversation. You refused to go in the direction of comprehensive statement and defense of your view on abortion which you sneaked in. I am not used to jumping around issues. If you want a conversation let us have a full blown one. This is why I informed on this platform that these issues have gone beyond chit chat on online platforms. I gave the example of Dr. William Barber, an Evangelical Bishop who has challenged Jerry Falwell the president of Liberty University to an open debate on the same issues we are raising here on this platform. The debate will be based on the scriptures and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I am waiting for Jerry Falwell to take up that challenge. It will be an interesting day in the history of the Christian faith in our country the United States of America and in the world. In all things we must be clear and un-ambiguous in our thought and our claims. In the 18th, 19th 20th centuries some Christians could make claims reconciling race supremacy, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, anti-semitism and sexism with the scriptures and get away with them. Many "Christians" actually did this. But this is 21st century. It is the age of rich and engaged documentation. This means that no claim will go un-challenged by relying on the scriptures, the teachings of Jesus Christ and HIS Church, history, and facts.
For Christ Divine Peace, Love and Unity in our troubled world, and in our country, the United States of America..

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 4 days ago

People throw a lot of ad hominems around about their fellow citizens/Catholics and I suggest that they prove that these ad hominems are valid. There is no doubt that any negative aspersion one makes can be applied to some but in order to use such blanket aspersions it has to be shown that it applies to large numbers of individuals.

Otherwise they are just negative assertions and nothing more. And from my 16 years of Catholic education, that is a big no no for anyone but especially Catholics.

So quoting scripture is meaningless to justify one's political position unless one can show that voting in a certain way is antithetical to scripture. I sincerely doubt that one can do this with voting for Trump.

I say this as someone who never supported Trump up to the election and never expected him to win. But I am willing to look at what he is trying to do and give him a fair judgment. I see a lot of people who are unwilling to do this and there are numerous articles written about how upset a lot of people are. But there is also a large number of people who are very happy with the direction the country is now going despite the top person being crude and often apparently vindictive. But I also see massive and unreasonable vindictiveness with Trump's opponents which they are unwilling to admit.

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 4 days ago

You have raised issues which do not fall under the purview of the subject matter but which as a sovereign subject with agency you are free to believe. In other words, it is your right to believe anything. However, with due respect to you, I am not interested in those claims and views. Let me repeat the subject matter as I understand it: Is it possible as some Christians-including Evangelical, Catholic and Protestants-are doing that racism, xenophobia, race supremacy, anti-semitism, sexism, hate and bigotry can be reconciled with Christianity, Catholicism, the scriptures, Christ ministry and the teachings of HIS Church, the Catholic Church? That is the question, the subject matter. Some Christians do believe that such reconciliation is possible. I disagree and I have stated my position and I back my position with the scriptures. There is also an adjunct issue. The issue is that the Birther movement which denies President Obama's native citizenship is a racist, xenophobic and race supremacy movement. The Birther movement is a political and electoral project used to launch a political career and which was used to galvanize voters and used to garner and harvest votes in the 2016 election. In this regard, I relied on a poll conducted by local American institution (not Russian institution or their trolls!) which shows that 61 percent of Trump voters do not believe that President Obama is a native born American and 18 percent of Trump voters claim they doubt that President Obama is a native born American. And the source of their belief and doubt is no other than the owner of the political and electoral project-called the Birther movement -candidate Donald Trump now President Donald Trump.
Now let me respond to a pertinent aspect of your post. You wrote: "...So quoting scripture is meaningless to justify one's political position unless one can show that voting in a certain way is antithetical to scripture. I sincerely doubt that one can do this with voting for Trump..." My response: I stated it clearly that any voter has a right to vote any how and anyway-including voting in violation of the scriptures and the teachings of Christ and HIS Church. I maintained this position in defense of my opponents' right and freedom. However, I claimed that even when each person is free to vote anyway they wish because they are humans, no one is free to reconcile xenophobia, racism, bigotry, anti-semitism, sexism, race supremacy with the scriptures, the teachings of Christ and HIS Church. So my faith position is that it is not possible if we are true Christians and true Catholics to reconcile race supremacy, racism, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia, anti-semitism with Christianity as some Christians are doing including Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Catholics, and Protestants. And my premise is the scripture and the teachings of Christ and HIS Church.

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 3 days ago

I want to thank you for supporting my position and that of others here that there is no reason as a Catholic one could not vote for Trump. You have written several thousand words and all you provide are vague references to scripture which could prevent anyone from voting for any other human on the planet. I am not sure Jesus would make it through your filter.

The only thing you provide as facts are some points on Obama's citizenship. By doing so you completely undermine your case.

First, if this is all you have then the "hard facts" you talk about are hard to find and it means there aren't any. Secondly, the first people I saw bring up the idea of Obama's birth place were Hillary supporters in 2007 from suburban Philadelphia as part of the 2008 primary campaign. Obama himself encouraged the belief that he was not born in the United States (which does not affect his citizenship since he had an American mother.) He did not release an official birth certificate until 2013 and let the hoax play out for over 6 years. So this is a non issue and the fact that you brought it up means you do not have any evidence of racism associated with a large number of Trump voters. The reason Trump is president is that a large number of Obama voters switched their votes to Trump in the last election.

I could make a very strong case that Democrats are the real racists since they have presided over large concentrations of African American voters for over 60 years and yet have done almost nothing to improve their situation. In fact in many ways they have become demonstrably worse.

Adeolu Ademoyo
2 weeks 3 days ago

Why are these issues difficult for you to see? I did not even put them as arguments, so I am wondering why the issues escaped you and why you did not grasp them. I hope I am not dealing with Vladimir Putin's Russian trolls. I say this with a lot of seriousness as an American because I must defend the integrity of debate in my country-US- despite our internal differences and I must defend her-American- sovereignty. I am not going to allow Vladimir Putin's Russian trolls to take advantage of the openness of American democracy and American media by playing into their hands. To avoid ambiguity, distortion and dodging by those who are unable to confront the issues, and the implications of the choices they made, previously I stated the issues clearly in some systematic manner in English language. If you continue to show a lack of understanding or lack of will to confront the issues and implication of choices some people made, then there are good grounds to conclude that you really need some help. For the last time, let me help you one more time. To help you I will separate the issues.
1. Politics. I made it clear that every citizen has a right to vote in any direction. Unlike the present administration and the Republican party I do not believe in the suppression of citizens' votes. Also, your religious identity or any identity of yours is not important to me. Why? because there are trolls operating on online platforms now-especially Russian trolls. This is the reason why who you are is not important to me. Third, I am taking on practical, philosophical, political, religious, spiritual and theological issues. And my orientation to this implies that persons do not matter but ideas, concepts and issues. So I am sorry, it is not important whether you are a Catholic or not. It is not even important whether you are a Christian. And you are free to vote anyhow including voting for racists, racism, Nazism, race supremacy, anti-semitism, sexism, hate, bigotry. Look, my friend many Christians- Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Pentecostals went straight to the voting booth, with their eyes wide open, voted for a self confessed sexual harasser, serial divorcee, a serial and congenital liar, someone who claimed that he has never asked for forgiveness from God, someone with the patent and verifiable history of racism and someone who would later claim there are good people among Nazis, race supremacists and people chanting KKK slogans. I do not know if you also believe that there are good people among Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan. But if you do, it is also your right if you do, to hold this belief that there are good people among Nazis, race supremacists and klu Klux Klan members. So who you are, your identity and the way you voted is not important to me. I have laid out my reasons why this is not important in the conversation.
2. Theology/Religion/Christian Spirituality/Christ Ministry/Christian Ministry- My point is about Catholic Theology, Christian Religion, Spirituality, Scriptures and the Ministry of Christ. And this is it. I will put it as a statement. But the statement is not a proposition because philosophically one can deny a proposition without running into fatal flaws and contradiction, but one cannot deny a Categorical Imperative, an imperative that is conceived as an a priori imperative (as I have conceived it) without serious contradiction and incurable flaws. So my statement is a Categorical Statement, a Categorical Imperative. And here it is: Contrary to the position of some Christians in the history of our faith, the Christian faith, and in contemporary period "Given the (i) Christian Bible, (ii) Scriptures, (iii) the teaching of Christ and HIS Ministry, (iv) the teaching of Christ Church, the Catholic Church, one cannot reconcile racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry, hate, race supremacy, anti-semitism with Christianity, with the Christian God." This is the Categorical Imperative. This is the core of my position, my main claim. So run with it, and chew it, reflect on it for your instruction-religious and non-religious.
3. Practical Issues: Given Christ Ministry, anyone -be they Christian or non Christian-Catholic or non Catholic-who wants to reconcile the Christian God with racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry, hate, race supremacy, anti-semitism, will necessarily have to abandon the project of reconciling and do the following. Because such a reconciling is theologically and spiritually impossible, that reconciler will have to do some or all of the following. That reconciler (i) will have to re-write the Bible, (ii) will have to invent their own god, (iii) develop an amnesia and pretend there are no Christians and Catholics around anymore in the world! Some of these are possible- people can invent new "god", but that "god" of the reconciler of racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry, hate, race supremacy, anti-semitism CANNOT theologically, scripturally and spiritually be THE CHRISTIAN GOD. See what I mean? That is just as someone who calls them self Catholic and Christian can close their eyes and vote for a self confessed sexual harasser, serial divorcee, a serial and congenital liar, someone who claimed that he has never asked for forgiveness from God, someone with the patent and verifiable history of racism and someone who would later claim there are good people among Nazis, race supremacists and people chanting KKK slogans, that same person can decide to invent a new "god". I mean this is 21st century, the era of freedom, anyone is free to do anything. But no one can re-invent the Christian God because the Bible is an "autobiography of God by God HIMSELF", the Bible is God's voice and word, the Bible is inherently whole, inherently complete and cannot be added to or subtracted from. So while someone can invent a new "god" and we are seeing that in our country today, especially in our country's polity, but no one can re-invent the Christian God. This means no one can reconcile racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry, hate, race supremacy, anti-semitism with the Christian God.
4. The Birther Movement-The Birther movement in our country is the movement which denies that President Obama is a native born American. I claimed that the Birther movement is a racist movement because the facts prove that the Birther movement is a racist movement. I am not the only American who has made this claim. You can deny this claim. You can say that the Birther movement is not a racist movement. You have the right to say this. While I may disagree with the content of your opinion, I will go out toe for toe to defend your right to hold your opinion. Also, I relied on an American poll (not a Russian Poll or Russian trolls!) that showed that 61 percent of Trump voters actually believe that President Obama is not a native born American, and 18 percent of same Trump voters said they were not sure. As a writer I only reported the result of a poll. Now you can say the poll is wrong. You are a sovereign subject with dominion over your thought and action. You are free to deny the poll. You should say so with your proofs if you want to deny the poll. What I did was to report the poll, and I mentioned the American institution that conducted and reported the poll.
5. I am an African American, and I am one of those you referred to in your last sentence. But for good reasons, I will ignore your claim and allusion to African Americans in your last sentence. Why? We are seeing everyday how Russian trolls caused racial strife and animosity -among we Americans-through their deliberately misleading posts on face book, twitter and readers' columns of ordinarily respectable online platforms during the 2016 election. I love my country-the United States of America. I will defend and jealously guard and protect her anytime any day from disruption from Vladimir Putin's Russian trolls. So I will not take the bait. I am very alert and cautious about the shenanigans of Putin and the Russian trolls online. And since I do not know who you are, I do not want to comment on your allusion to African Americans in your last sentence which is also from a familiar playbook.
6. Conclusion: If you conjoin 1 and 2 above you will see that your identity as a Catholic or non Catholic is irrelevant. And who you voted for is also irrelevant. Why? They are not important. The important thing for me is the information and claim in item 2.
I hope this helped you.
Christ Divine Peace, Love and Unity in the world and among we Americans always.
NB: On this platform, we must be vigilant in watching the tricks and divisive designs of Vladimir Putin's Russian trolls. We must not allow Vladimir Putin's Russian trolls to take advantage of the richness and openness of American society, media and democracy. The Russian trolls from St Petersburg, Russia did it in the past in other western democracies, and in our election in 2016. So please watch. Please pay attention to the language of Russian trolls. We Americans need not agree on all issues, but we must not allow foreigners-Russian trolls-to prey on the openness of American society, media and democracy.

David Cousins
2 weeks 3 days ago

o.k. .... now let's see your piece on being catholic, but trying to justify voting for Obama....

J Cosgrove
2 weeks 3 days ago

About a year after Obama got elected, I asked any commenter or author or editor on the America site if they could provide one thing that Obama did before being elected that was significant. No one could answer the question. Then eventually one of the editors brought up something Obama supposedly did as a state senator but that was a fake news story as Obama never did it.

Beth H.
2 weeks 3 days ago

I find it offensive that if a Catholic doesn't believe we should support gay marriage or transgender lifestyles, that they "hate gays"... that means the person saying it only puts labels on people. And they don't know their faith. We've known for centuries that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered (Catechism 2357) and we know we love a person for more than their sexual preferences or challenges. I don't have any Catholic friends or relatives who didn't vote for President Trump. I read Ivanka Trump's book before he even ran for office and was impressed with how he raised his children, something we never get to see in the mainstream media. He and Ivana put work before their marriage and it didn't last. I believe he is more socially progressive than I am, which is why I always find it surprising how much liberals hate him... basically he supported Democrats for many years! For this election, he represented the silent majority who were so discouraged and disappointed in the failing presidency of Pres. Obama. It's really easy: we want safe places to raise our families, we want to be able to financially support ourselves, we want affordable healthcare, support for Catholic education, lower taxes, jobs, freedom to practice our faith, not be made to pay for abortions or perform acts that support things that go against our faith (like Little Sisters of the Poor), we want fair trade practices, laws enforced, good relations with other countries, a strong military in case we are attacked again, and consideration for our constitution which is the basis of our country's laws. All of these things were platforms that President Trump supported. So, it was very easy to see how he won the electoral vote in most states. And why many Catholics felt he was the only choice to vote for.

Josephus !
2 weeks 3 days ago

Strange and condescending to see Catholic Trump voters profiled as some sort of exotic oddity, the Trump-Pope Francis spat notwithstanding. One could just as easily make a case how could any Catholic vote for Mrs. Clinton, given her support for abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, taxpayer funded to boot.

I think as Catholics, if you feel at home with either of the two main parties, there is something wrong. If you aren’t uneasy with Democrats’ extreme support for abortion or Republicans’ coldness to the less fortunate, there’s something not right.

Josephus !
2 weeks 3 days ago

Strange and condescending to see Catholic Trump voters profiled as some sort of exotic oddity, the Trump-Pope Francis spat notwithstanding. One could just as easily make a case how could any Catholic vote for Mrs. Clinton, given her support for abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, taxpayer funded to boot is a deal breaker.

I think as Catholics, if you feel at home with either of the two main parties, there is something wrong. If you aren’t uneasy with Democrats’ extreme support for abortion or Republicans’ coldness to the less fortunate, there’s something not right.

biwaji0 biwaji11
1 week 4 days ago

★ ★ i am currently simply creating $15k to $18k each month and also the actual quantity of my last month cheque was $16598 from this job. i'm doing this job in my half time, affirmative solely in my half time. i need you all to hitch this job currently and begin creating real money on-line at once by follow directions on this journal.....

www.jobstoday60.com ★★

biwaji0 biwaji11
1 week 4 days ago

★ ★ i am currently simply creating $15k to $18k each month and also the actual quantity of my last month cheque was $16598 from this job. i'm doing this job in my half time, affirmative solely in my half time. i need you all to hitch this job currently and begin creating real money on-line at once by follow directions on this journal.....

www.jobstoday60.com ★★

Steve Dzida
1 week 2 days ago

It will soon be a year since Trump's inauguration. Given what led the "Trumpers" to vote for Trump, what has been actually accomplished? He did appoint an apparently "pro-life" Supreme Court justice. How many unborn lives has that saved? The majorities that issued the principal "pro-abortion" Supreme Court decisions were all appointed by Republican presidents so is there really any realistic hope that this justice will make a difference? If there has been any action at all on immigration "reform," it has been to step up deportations, terminate DACA and start construction on portions of "the wall." If there has been any action at all on health care "reform," it has been to take affirmative action to bleed the Affordable Care Act dry. If there has been any action at all on tax "reform," it has been to propose changes under which 80% of the benefit will inure to the benefit of the top 1% of income earners. If there has been any action at all on foreign policy "reform," it has been to bring us to the brink of nuclear war with North Korea and to abdicate our world leadership in the fight against climate change by denying the problem even exists. How have these actions promoted the values of justice, peace, inclusion and care for creation espoused by Pope Francis? It is a copout to say that our faith has nothing to say about these critical issues because they are the realm of politics. Do we really think that Jesus would be OK with these actions being taken in his name?

Louis Arceneaux
1 week 1 day ago

I appreciate the author's effort to get the view of Catholics who supported Trump. However, I am saddened at the responses. I find it impossible to understand how anyone could listen to Trump lie from the very start about Obama's American citizenship and continue to lie about other topics; listen to him degrade every opponent personally, not simply disagree with their policies, demean Mexicans and others he called "foreigners". Even if one opposed Hillary Clinton (who by the way is pro-choice, not pro-abortion), there were other alternatives on the ballot.
I was saddened that some of those who voted for TRump wanted change because they saw government was not functioning well. Did they consider that it was congress that was not functioning well. President Obama did what he could but was thwarted over and over again.
I find it impossible to reconcile what Trump stands for with basic Catholic social teachings. Frankly, I have concluded that he is a sick man who needs our prayers and the care of doctors. May God help him and may the United States be freed from his presence in the White House before he starts a war. By the way, I am a Catholic priest in good standing and was also saddened by Catholic bishops and priests who told people they could not vote in good conscience for a Democrat. Peace!

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 week 1 day ago

Father Louis
You state. " ....Hillary Clinton ( who by the way is pro-choice, not pro-abortion)".....
I believe that Mrs Clinton voted against the Senate Bill banning late term/partial birth abortions......That seems to be of a piece with definitely being "pro-abortion". You engage in exculpatory semantics when you try to cast her position as "pro-Choice".....

Both Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton stand for positions which one cannot reconcile with Catholic Social Teachings! But We were given two lousy choices, and choose we had to.
Your suggested "Not voting" or voting for a non contender is "a cop out " which simply allows such a voter to do a Pontius Pilate! ....talk about a false piety for the sake of claiming moral superiority.
The individuals interviewed by Fr McDermott indicated they fully understood the enormous flaws in Trump's personality and his self aggrandizing, mouthy approach when they voted for him. . You objection seems to be that they thought Hillary was equally flawed.
You would do well to give those voters the courtesy of a thoughtful choice even as you disagree with it. Those voters understood completely that you could be against both of those choices but still engage in an analysis of their policies and finally have to choose!

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Images: CNS/Composite: America
On Nov. 11, the Catholic Church lost a moral titan in the long struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States.
Shannen Dee WilliamsNovember 22, 2017
Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar military commander-in-chief, speaks during the Union Peace Conference Aug. 31 in Naypyitaw (CNS photo/Hein Htet, EPA).
Gen. Min Aung Hlaing wields great political power in the country.
Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts in “Wonder” (CNS photo/Lionsgate). 
‘Wonder’ is a tween melodrama on a mission of mercy.
Simcha FisherNovember 22, 2017
The change was in “no way” a response to the C.C.H.D.’s persistent online critics, an archdiocesan official says.
Kevin ClarkeNovember 22, 2017