It's past time for abortion issue to be disassociated from politics

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Wilmington, Ohio, Nov. 4. (CNS/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)
This article appears in the Transition to Trump feature series. View the full series.

Donald Trump received 52 percent of the Catholic vote in the presidential election. That is 4 percentage points higher than what Mitt Romney received four years ago. The vote of Hispanic Catholics for Hillary Clinton was 67 percent. Four years ago, President Barack Obama received 75 percent of the Hispanic Catholic vote.

People, including Catholics, have a wide variety of reasons for voting the way they do. Yet it is also true that many priests and bishops continue to apply pressure to the faithful to vote based on a candidate's position on abortion. A priest in San Diego told his flock that they would go to hell if they voted for Clinton. His bishop had to inform the people that this was not true, and that Catholics need to vote their consciences. He made it clear that the church does not tell Catholics how to vote.

It is past time for the issue of abortion to be disassociated from politics. Consider what we have seen from Trump thus far. We have chosen to elect an individual whose views on foreign policy are disturbing. We chose a candidate who attacks Muslims, immigrants and women. He has and continues to be a divisive figure who fosters hate and even violence among many groups.

While we cannot know at this point what a Trump presidency will be like, Trump's words and actions since winning the election do little to alleviate the concerns he has created throughout his campaign.

The notion that none of these global or social justice issues matter as much as the question of abortion is just not a tenable position. When we consider the damage that could be done to this country and the world by selecting the wrong person for the job of president, it is irresponsible not to consider every pertinent issue before voting.

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Pope Francis told us early in his papacy that it was time to stop talking so much about abortion. His point was that our position on this issue is well-known and there are other issues that need to be addressed. Certainly, there are other issues that need to be addressed by the president of the United States in 2016.

The presidency is a difficult job and yet we have selected someone who has shown no grasp of the complexity of the issues he faces. It is inconceivable to me that in the face of the challenges of the 21st century, it could be considered appropriate to vote for a presidential candidate based solely on their position on abortion.


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