For the last few days, I have been writing about abortion and Biden’s stance as well as defending those who disagree with the pro-life movement. Today, though, I wanted to talk about making the decision between Trump and Biden
Here’s the deal. Biden’s way of living out his pro-life beliefs do not resonate with most of the conservative(N.B. :a friend of mine pointed out that this implies that only conservatives are pro-life, that was not my intention, different people have different views on how to be pro-life but it is definitely an a-political movement) base. The pro-life cause wants to overturn Roe v Wade, and Biden does not. For what it’s worth, he did try to prevent it becoming law, but since it became law it seems that he has accepted it, but tried to work within it to create restrictions on abortion when he believes it is legally permissibly to do so. However, for many conservatives that is not enough, and will never be enough.
That being said, for those of you who are following me who are struggling with this, even if I completely disagreed with Biden on this issue, I would still be voting for him, and not because of a “lesser of two evils” argument. I do not believe that we are permitted to vote for evil, so if we believe both candidates are evil, I believe we may not vote for either.
That being said, I do not believe Joe Biden is evil. I believe he is human, and he has flaws. I do not agree with him on everything, but I do believe that he is earnestly trying to be and do good, and my concern is that Trump’s motives do not appear to be about helping others, or bringing love to others, even on those issues where I do agree with him. Trump seems to me to be self-interested, focused on helping the wealthy, irresponsible, reckless, and cruel when it comes to those less fortunate than himself.
I can never forget the callous way he spoke of how COVID only affects old people and the sick, as if that meant it doesn’t matter. He encouraged insurrection repeatedly in states when he did not agree with their attempts to stall the virus. He has encouraged more instances of the death penalty, and repeatedly threatened war. He has made the laws regarding immigration much more severe, making it harder for people in need to come to the US, but also making punishments worse if they do come illegally. He has repeatedly bragged that he has made it more difficult for low income people to find housing in nicer neighborhoods. During the George Floyd riots, he refused to come out in assistance to those seeking justice, and instead acted callously to those grieving the flurry of unjust murders in our country.
Meanwhile, Joseph Biden quietly met with the police, discussed what they need to do their jobs better. While many in his party called for him to defund the police, he suggested more funding, but managed differently than he has been, with plans to help good police officers, and those who are struggling because of the bad ones. That is what our president should have done, in addition to speaking to us with peace the way George Bush did.
Biden has tried to be a model of peace throughout these trying times. As Trump yelled at him, mocking his son, refusing to decry white supremacy, interrupting over 100 times, Biden worked hard to rise above the mean-spirited nature of Trump’s style of debate. As Trump mocked his family, Biden almost mocked the Trump’s, but by some miracle managed to stop himself and go back to the topics at hand. Then later, when he brought it up again, Biden faced the camera and made sure his son knew how much he loved him.
Most importantly, though, I believe Biden will bring a peace this country has not known in a long time. He is quoted in multiple places as saying that he doesn’t really fit in with either side(regarding abortion,) he is too conservative for the democrats, and too liberal for the conservatives, but isn’t that exactly what we need right now? How long have we fought between both sides with no one willing to compromise? What if we could finally have someone who was willing to hear both sides, and create a united country where there has been so much division?
Even if I disagree with him on some things, I can follow his reasoning based on his words and his track record, and everything I have seen has come back to helping people. From protecting women who are afraid they are going to lose rights, to preventing abortion when he feels he legally can, to creating a plan to help the police and those they are meant to help, to putting in place plans to help others to get medical care when they need it. He has been consistent, kind, and honest when it comes to his values.
Some may argue that Trump has helped the pro-life cause, and created peace in some countries, but is the division and cruelty he has created in the US worth that? Can we vote on one single issue when the others are this severe? Even more so, can we trust the motives behind those actions when they are contrasted with his tax fraud, contempt for life in any other form, and threats of violence to other countries?
I don’t believe we can. I believe if we keep him in, then we are telling the whole world that if you are anti-abortion then no other sin you commit matters. If you fight for the pro-life cause, we will excuse any wrong you do. That is a dangerous thing to communicate to the world, and I think the Church knew this. That is why written into the document that declares that abortion is a main focus, there are clarifications that other stances are extremely important as well.
“Other direct assaults on innocent human life, such as genocide, torture, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified. Nor can violations of human dignity, such as acts of racism, treating workers as mere means to an end, deliberately subjecting workers to subhuman living conditions, treating the poor as disposable, or redefining marriage to deny its essential meaning, ever be justified.”
The moral imperative to respond to the needs of our neighbors-basic needs such as food, shelter, health care, education, and meaningful work-is universally binding on our consciences and may be legitimately fulfilled by a variety of means. Catholics must seek the best ways to respond to these needs. As St. John XXIII taught, “[Each of us] has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and, finally, the necessary social services” (Pacem in Terris, no. 11).
It must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility toward the common good. (Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, no. 4)
A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.
This is just a few of the ways that the Bishops clarified that Catholic’s are not called to be single issues voters.
I hope that my stance and the study I have devoted to this topic has helped you to understand why a Catholic would vote for Biden, or even help you think about the way you would like to vote.
Thank you for taking the time to read my opinion, this is not official Church teaching, but a way of expressing how I have applied Church teaching in my own life. I recognize that you taking the time to read this means a great deal in this sea of political opinion pieces. Thank you for being here.
Regarding Biden’s stance on abortion, here is another helpful quote:
Sometimes morally flawed laws already exist. In this situation, the process of framing legislation to protect life is subject to prudential judgment and “the art of the possible.” At times this process may restore justice only partially or gradually. For example, St. John Paul II taught that when a government official who fully opposes abortion cannot succeed in completely overturning a pro-abortion law, he or she may work to improve protection for unborn human life, “limiting the harm done by such a law” and lessening its negative impact as much as possible (Evangelium Vitae, no. 73). Such incremental improvements in the law are acceptable as steps toward the full restoration of justice. However, Catholics must never abandon the moral requirement to seek full protection for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
Citation: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship Part One: