USA: White Catholics Edging Toward Biden by September 2020?

Oct 4, 2020 | 2 comments

According to at least one polling service, Donald Trump had lost the support of a majority of white US Catholics by September 2020, an electoral  trend that had begun at least as early as April, when the Covid 19 virus was impacting heavily on voters in many states.

Harvard-sponsored ‘Data for Progress’ reported that white Catholic support for Trump may have fallen from 56% to 47% in the period April-Sept. 2020.

Separately the conservative and pro-Trump Catholic news service EWTN has reported that Catholics generally favoured Joe Biden by 12% by Sept. 2020, for the presidential election on November 3rd, 2020.  This reflects an ongoing demographic shift towards a non-white overall majority in the US – a large part of which will be Latino and Catholic.

These polls preceded the news that in early October 2020 President Trump had contracted the dangerous Covid 19 virus – news that was greeted with alarm but no surprise by many medics critical of Trump’s evocation of American freedoms and rights – in refusing to either wear or encourage the wearing of face masks to hinder the spreading of the virus by aerosol transmission – and in often flouting social distancing rules at his campaigning rallies.

Also by September a number of US Catholic bishops and other commentators had advised Catholics of reasons to question the validity of the incumbent president’s credentials for being considered ‘pro-life’ – given the often fatal impact of the Covid 19 virus on many of the US poor and elderly, and his perceived mishandling of racial tensions that grew especially dangerous in early June 2020.

Joe Biden is a professing and practising Catholic – but is strongly criticised by many US Catholics for his ‘pro choice’ stance on the criminalisation of abortion.  Donald Trump is not a frequent church goer, but has been embraced by evangelical Christians and many conservative Catholics for his proclaimed pro-life political stance.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Margaret Lee

    I hope that the polls referenced in this article are reflective of what is happening on the ground. It is unfortunate that some of the American bishops, most notable, Bishop Dolan of New York, and Notre Dame university have become closely associated with the Trump campaign. Making a single issue (in this case, pro life versus pro choice) can often blur our vision of the common good. At the risk of misquoting the gospel, “we wait in hope for the coming of Joe Biden”. If our waiting is rewarded, we will have to accept that any president who follows the present incumbent will have a hard job in reuniting the US and, indeed, the world.

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  2. Noel

    A friend who normally spends 50% of the year in the USA recently shared Fr. John Predmore’s thoughts on issues which Catholics should consider when voting in the forthcoming US Presidential Election.

    ‘A Catholic Cannot Be A One Issue Voter- Fr. John Predmore, Boston College High School.

    When it comes time for a Catholic to vote, many are stuck with a dilemma because of the church’s views on abortion. Many Catholics have voted for Republicans because they see the party as the champion of the Pro-Life movement, however, the conversation has more dimensions than the single issue, but what is clear is that a Catholic wants to make the right vote. A helpful approach for a Catholic is to review the Papal document called “Rejoice and Be Glad.”In the document, it speaks of the issue of abortion and upholds the sanctity of all life. It reads,“Our defense of the innocent unborn needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned.” Therefore, the document urges all Catholics and people of goodwill to battle for the rights of the poor as powerfully as they would resist abortion. In essence, a Catholic cannot be a one issue voter. The document attacks the perception of many Catholics who see or suspect “the social engagement of others as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist, or populist.”  The Pope wrote, “We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants is a less issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the ‘grave bio-ethical questions.’” The Pope makes it clear that issues involving migrants, refugees, and the world’s poor are equal in moral rank. A Catholic would find oneself in the same moral sin to vote against issues that address the suffering of these categories of people. 

    For a Catholic, consistent ethic  of life means: 
    1.     Building an economy of inclusion and equality, to recognize the dignity of labor by paying just wages, and eliminating poverty.
    2.     Caring for the environment, building interdependent communities, providing access to clean water and wait, a reduction of pollution, and linking economies that promote the common good and common welfare.
    3.     Working for the abolition of the death penalty.
    4.     Creating an environment that supports the natural death of the ill and aged.
    5.     Creating policies that reduce gun violence.
    6.     Supporting the vulnerable and marginalized.
    7.     Examining our heritage with race relations and creating an ant-racist culture.
    8.     Caring for the migrant and asylum seekers at the border.
    9.     Creating fair and equitable immigration policies.
    10.  Welcoming and supporting the LGBTQ communities.
    11.  Eliminating abortions and the root causes that bring them about.
    12.  Supporting women, families, children.         
    13.  Supporting the prisoner on death row and integrating the once-convicted person back into society, the right to a humane life in prison and a just legal system.
    14.  Creating social policies to assist the pregnant woman and the hungry child.
    15.  Supporting women in places where dignity is not provided.
    16.  Supporting those who are economically disadvantaged.
    17.  Providing adaptations for people with disabilities so that they are afforded the respect and dignity due to them.
    18.  The right to a healthy life that comes from healthcare for all.
    19.  Creating a global economy that emphasizes valuing life over profit.
    20.  Creating policies that link nations together in a common bond to build peace and cooperation, and to recognize our common humanity among cultures. 

    To all of this, Pope Francis and the church leaders say, “We have to find a balance.” The Catholic Church teaches that voting requires an informed conscience and that a voter needs to evaluate a candidate’s character. One needs prudence to apply moral principles in a complex world with informal choices.   

    Call me Fr. John, Fr. Predmore, John, or Jack ….Art and Spirituality Website: https://www.johnpredmoresj.comIgnatian Spirituality:
    predmore.blogspot.com To the Frontiers:
    predmoresj.blogspot.com(617) 510-9673 (mobile)  (617) 929-9413 (home)  
    Skype: predmoresj (617) 943-5619

    Boston College High School
    150 Morrissey BoulevardBoston, MA, USA 02125-3391

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