Trump’s candidacy is forcing values voters to have difficult conversations, reconsider what really matters

For me, the decision to vote against reality television personality Donald Trump, and for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was an easy one. There was never really any doubt in my mind as to who I would be casting my ballot for. I can appreciate, however, that others, even some whom I consider to be my friends, are struggling with the decision for reasons that are personally very important to them. This is especially true for those who feel as though abortion is a sin, and have grown accustomed over the years to casting their votes for conservative candidates who, like Trump, promise to push so-called “pro-life” agendas. I don’t pretend to know how difficult it must be for people of faith to look beyond the subject of abortion and vote against the Republican candidate for President, but I found this recent Facebook post by my friend Billy Kangas, and the subsequent conversation it’s spawned, to be incredibly interesting. I’m heartened to see that these kinds of conversations are happening, and I’m proud of my friends, like Billy, who are opening themselves up to criticism by initiating dialogue like this.


Here, with Billy’s permission, is what he posted last night. Billy, I should add, is an anti-hunger activist, a liturgical theologian, and a graduate student at The Catholic University of America. [The above photo comes courtesy of Kate de Fuccio.]

To my christian friends who are voting for Trump. I know why you are doing it. You hate Abortion.

I know it’s an important issue… but I feel I have to say something.

But this pro-life only attitude has become dangerous. Not only for the nation and the world but even our souls.

It’s been used to cover such a multitude of sins.

It’s justified budgets that abuse the poor.

It’s justified supporting candidates who vote to cut food aid to the most vulnerable, those who support the death penalty, those who oppose the care of creation, those who close the door on the refugee, those who promote unjust wars, and those who refuse to take action to reform our immigration policy, gun laws, or work for racial reconciliation.

We accept politicians who ignore the 1 in 5 people in developing nations who are living in extreme poverty, or even worse, allow them to further abuse them through unjust trade deals, or unsustainable aid policies that are focused more on generating American wealth then on helping the needy in their distress.

These things are antithetical to the faith and we have sacrificed working on them just hoping that maybe this time the right judges will finally get appointed and overturn Roe V. Wade.

I have brought these issues up time and time again and have been told that until we overturn abortion these other issues are marginal and secondary.

We can’t keep going this way.

I want to challenge you. We are faced with a candidate who has time and time again demonstrated he’s got it wrong. He promotes a message that marginalizes the stranger, he denies care for creation, he values security over justice, and profits over mercy. He objectifies women and promotes a culture of masculinity of the most deplorable kind.

I do not want my children to grow up believing that this is what a leader in America looks like. I do not want the witness of the Church to be that the “end justifies the means.”

The end does not justify the means. Our message is freedom to the captives, food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, clothes for the naked, grace for the sinner, mercy to the debtor. Our means is the cross. The daily laying down of our lives.

Vote for this. I don’t care how you do it but vote for this.


Grace and Peace….

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  1. Posted October 8, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Related, I just now read on Politico that, according to Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, the just released 2005 audio of Trump confessing to sexual assault won’t likely deter anti-abortion voters from supporting the Republican candidate.

    “I think it will have little or no impact. People of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defend religious freedom, grow the economy, appoint conservative judges and oppose the Iran nuclear deal,” said Ralph Reed. “In their hierarchy of concerns, an 11-year-old tape of a private conversation with a talk show host on a tour bus ranks very low.”

  2. IRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Ralph Reed is lying. He knows very well it will impact the numbers. Everyone with even just a little bit of sense most likely knows that, and everybody with as much experience as he has in campaigning certainly knows it. But it’s a little white lie by his standards, and those are alright when they serve a more righteous cause.

    There is no doubt this will result in a number of people deciding not to vote for Trump, and many of them will just not vote in the presidential race at all. The only question is how many will abandon him over this, and the answer is certainly more than 1% of the electorate. Watch the next round of polling from Florida. I bet Trumps support drops more than 5%.

  3. Joe M.
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Doubt it.

    Most of the Trump supporters I know or are aware of are the diehard zealots like this fine woman profiled in a Chicago Tribune piece –

    She probably laughed, pumped her first in joy, called those speaking out a bunch of whiny Libtards, and said those women Donald were talking about were probably a bunch of skanks and hoes who were asking for it.

  4. iRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Joe M., I wasn’t talking about the Trump supporters you know.

    The people Trump is losing are the ones on the cusp. The only question is how many. I’m estimating it will be 5% or more damage in Florida, 2% or more in Ohio, and he’ll fall behind in Iowa now also.

  5. Posted October 8, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Republican Officials Are Stampeding Away From Trump

  6. Meghan Kathleen
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    It’s a pretty broad generalization to equate “people of faith” with “pro-life” (and I use that term very loosely, given its extraordinarily narrow definition by self-proclaimed “Christians”). I’m a person of faith — a Catholic, even — and I have no qualms whatsoever about voting for Hillary Clinton. I’m also not at all conflicted in my support for access to abortion. We need to stop using the talking points of the right where “religion” = “anti-choice”.

  7. iRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    “Doubt it,” Joe M?

    Here are some folks I’ll mention by name who have abandoned Trump today:

    Gov. Gary Herbert
    Rep. Jason Chaffetz
    Rep. Chris Stewart
    Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
    Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska
    Sen. Dennis Dauggard of South Dakota
    Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
    Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho
    Sen. Jone Thune of South Dakota
    Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska
    Rep. Martha Roby
    Rep. Bradley Byrne
    Rep. Joe Heck
    Rep. Cresent Hardy
    Rep. Ann Wagner
    Rep. Rodney Davis
    Rep. Scott Garrett

    And here are a couple of people who were apparently undecided before today:

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
    Rep. Mia Love of Utah

    So, I suppose you believe it’s only GOP Governors, Senators and US Representatives who are abandoning Trump over his comments. Does that make sense to you?

  8. Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Point taken, Meghan. The “pro-life” set should not own descriptive terms like “people of faith” and “values voter.” There are, as you say, many religious people who are pro-choice. I’m sorry if I implied otherwise.

  9. Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I think a lot of Republican officials were looking for an opportunity to distance themselves from The Donald. This is just a convenient excuse.

  10. Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    As for the hot polloi think, I spent quite a bit of time in the car today, listening to talk radio, and I was shocked by the number of women who defended his remarks. Really, I wasn’t expecting it. Also, I was surprised by the number of men who, after stating that it was completely beyond the pale, then went on to say that they still couldn’t support Clinton, as she was “just as bad.” It’s maddening.

  11. iRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Just as many tens of thousands of voters have been looking for an excuse as to how they’ll vote, Mark. This has damaged Trump severely, and is also going to damage republicans in close elections down the ticket.

    The Clinton campaign coordinated to have this video/audio to be released now. It’s still early. We still have 30 days left. That means they have much worse stuff to have come out on Trump if his numbers begin to recover again.

  12. iRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    They’re also testing how such releases play with the public. They’ll do it again at least two more times before election day, and the juiciest one will be timed to have the most impact on election eve.

  13. iRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Talk radio is a very filtered representation. The show hosts want those lunatics on the air, for a variety of reasons. Also, this isn’t about changing those lunatics minds. It’s about shocking the reasonable Republicans into abandoning Trump. They don’t have to vote for Clinton. That would just be icing on the cake in instances where it happens.

  14. iRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    If they’re rolling this out on October 7th, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for three weeks from now.

  15. Meta
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink


    “Top Evangelicals Stand By Trump After Crude Video Revelation”

    Tony Perkins, another prominent evangelical leader and president of the Family Research Council told Buzzfeed that his support of Trump never was about Trump’s morality.

    “My personal support for Donald Trump has never been based upon shared values, it is based upon shared concerns about issues such as: justices on the Supreme Court that ignore the constitution, America’s continued vulnerability to Islamic terrorists and the systematic attack on religious liberty that we’ve seen in the last 7 1/2 years,” Perkins told Buzzfeed in an e-mail.

    Read more:

  16. Posted October 8, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    …and then there is this…

    Federal Judge Orders Hearing in Donald Trump Rape Lawsuit

  17. Joe M.
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink


    Bunch of no name party folks stepping back from Trump doesn’t matter. They’re not the names who matter and they’re irrelevant to Trump’s most fervent supporters that make up the bulk of his momentum.

    However, if just 1-2% of the moderate all R voters step back from Trump because of this, that alone can be game over for him… If the election were tomorrow. Everyone will forget this with the next Clinton or Trump snafu.

  18. Posted October 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    McCain just withdrew his support.

    And, Joe, you’re right when you say that the common people don’t care. But, when the party stops putting money in, that means that the ad buys stop, and he stops being invited to campaign in key swing states. So it does matter.

  19. Joe M.
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, bigger names have hopped on the bandwagon (or maybe more appropriately – dumpster fire) as the day has progressed. That’s an issue.

    Again – until the next scandal just adds to the white noise and drones this problem out. I think we’ve all lost count of however many scandals Trump – and Clinton – have had this campaign season. It’s rather incredible and sad all at the same time.

  20. Posted October 8, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink


  21. Posted October 9, 2016 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Only a very small “values voters” are having these discussions. The vast majority are going to vote for the Groper because that’s just what they are going to do.

  22. JS
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Samantha Bee had an excellent history of this – it was a deliberately chosen cause by evangelical folks as they were rejoining politics as a movement. I grew up Catholic (don’t practice but my family traditions mean I’ll always have one foot in, so to speak). There was/is plenty of variations amongst Catholics: there’s the social justice aspect (more under PJPII, less under Benedict, more under Francis), to say the least. Obviously some Catholics / parishes / idiots in higher levels of clergy try to push abortion as the one issue. And in certain countries they’re succeeding or attempting to (Poland, Ireland). But truth be told despite fear mongering about everyone following lock step with the Vatican, and very loud Uber conservative Catholics, there isn’t that one issue rallying many evangelical churches have. The one and only political issue I remember my local parish a) taking a firm stand on and B) encouraging from the pulpit was the death penalty (at the time and in retrospect, quite proud)

  23. iRobert
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    So, Joe M., you’ve worked on federal level campaigns in some capacity?

  24. Meta
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Quite a few members of the student body at Falwell’s Liberty University have apparently decided that they’ve had enough. Here the letter from the group Liberty United Against Trump.

    In the months since Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed him, Donald Trump has been inexorably associated with Liberty University. We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.

    A majority of Liberty students, faculty, and staff feel as we do. Donald Trump received a pitiful 90 votes from Liberty students in Virginia’s primary election, a colossal rejection of his campaign. Nevertheless, President Falwell eagerly uses his national platform to advocate for Donald Trump. While he occasionally clarifies that supporting Trump is not the official position of Liberty University, he knows it is his title of president of the largest Christian university in the world that gives him political credentials.

    Associating any politician with Christianity is damaging to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Donald Trump is not just any politician. He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose.

    A recently uncovered tape revealed his comments bragging about sexually assaulting women. Any faculty or staff member at Liberty would be terminated for such comments, and yet when Donald Trump makes them, President Falwell rushes eagerly to his defense – taking the name “Liberty University” with him. “We’re all sinners,” Falwell told the media, as if sexual assault is a shoulder-shrugging issue rather than an atrocity which plagues college campuses across America, including our own.

    It is not enough to criticize these kinds of comments. We must make clear to the world that while everyone is a sinner and everyone can be forgiven, a man who constantly and proudly speaks evil does not deserve our support for the nation’s highest office.

    Jesus tells a story in the Bible about a man who tries to remove a speck of dust from his brother’s eye, while he has a log stuck in his own. “You hypocrite,” Jesus says, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

    We Liberty students are often told to support Donald Trump because the other leading candidate is a bad option. Perhaps this is true. But the only candidate who is directly associated with Liberty University is Donald Trump.

    Because our president has led the world to believe that Liberty University supports Donald Trump, we students must take it upon ourselves to make clear that Donald Trump is absolutely opposed to what we believe, and does not have our support.

    We are not proclaiming our opposition to Donald Trump out of bitterness, but out of a desire to regain the integrity of our school. While our president Jerry Falwell Jr. tours the country championing the log in his eye, we want the world to know how many students oppose him. We don’t want to champion Donald Trump; we want only to be champions for Christ.

    Read more:

  25. Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Wow. Some sense out there.

    “Associating any politician with Christianity is damaging to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Donald Trump is not just any politician. He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose.”

    Unbelievable (or maybe not) that our resident representative of Christianity feels to need to advocate for one of the most reprehensible public figures in the United States, by any measure.

  26. Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Opposing Trump isn’t a matter of ideological difference, he is truly a bad person unfit for any leadership position.

    Leadership requires compassion and compromise, two things that Mr. Trump does not have.

    I was ideologically opposed to Romney, somewhat to McCain, and very much to the Bushes, but I never assumed that any of those people were inherently callous or self obsessed to a fault. Trump is simply an awful individual. It is astounding that people who claim to have a monopoly on morality would continue to claim to like such a person.

    There are a lot of empty people out there.

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    an evangelical Trump supporter on FB gave me this response to a litany of Trumps abuses: “God used Samson and a jawbone of an ass to restore Israel. Samson was a womanizer, known for his hair, and didn’t drink alcohol. We will see.”

    The rapture creates zero sum logic for fundamentalists Christians.
    I’m not sure radical leftists who support anyone but Hillary are much different.

  28. Kim
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Further reading on the subject — “Hillary is the best choice for voters against abortion”

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