Will Pro-Life Catholics Vote for Donald Trump?

By Deal W. Hudson

After his impressive victory in the South Carolina primary, the GOP nomination of Donald Trump is very likely. Marco Rubio may pick up some support from Jeb Bush’s overdue decision to leave the race, but Ted Cruz has established a national network of highly-energized Evangelical activists who are not wavering.

When and if Ben Carson bows out, his support will likely fall to Cruz, thus keeping Rubio from gaining very much of a lead.

Polling among Catholics nationally show Trump to be the least attractive candidate among the GOP contenders. Trump polls 43% to Cruz 60% and Rubio’s 65%. The recent testiness between Trump and Pope Francis will probably hurt him with a majority of Catholic voters while building some support among conservative Catholics disillusioned with the new pontiff.

There are several factors to consider regarding both turn-out and voting: 1) Would conservative, pro-life Catholics vote for Trump as a “lesser of two evils” when faced with Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders? 2) To what extent are conservative, pro-life Catholics infected by the same sense of tribulation that is fueling the Trump candidacy in the first place?

Anyone who follows pro-life Catholics on social media has seen quite a bit of talk about “not voting” at all if Trump is nominated. If that threat turns out to be real, in large enough numbers, it will impact both voter turnout and grassroots organizing, both of which the GOP will need to win the White House in November.

But if enough conservative Catholic voters share the national unrest, the “Don’t Tread On Me” spirit of Trump supporters, both turn-out and campaign activism in the GOP might absorb the losses of some pro-life voters.

We’ve already seen serious and respected Catholic and Evangelical pro-life leaders mount a campaign to nominate anyone but Donald Trump. Their efforts in South Carolina may have helped Rubio catch up with Cruz, but far more likely it was the endorsement by Gov. Nikki Haley that moved a few percentage points of the vote.

If this campaign continues into more primary states it may drive the wedge even more deeply between pro-voters, both Catholic and Evangelical, and the presumptive GOP nominee for president, Donald Trump. This is an outcome that should be weighed carefully by those leading the charge against Trump against the outcome of Clinton or Sanders in the White House.

Trump has not claimed to be pro-life in the past, but he claims to be now, and he promises to sign a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. Skepticism towards Trump’s new position on abortion is warranted, and even some scoffing can be understood. Yet, on election day in November Catholic voters will be faced with two choices.

One candidate will be resolutely pro-abortion and linked arm-and-arm with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, and EMILY’s List.

The other candidate, if it is Trump, will be someone who has declared himself a recent convert to the pro-life cause. A candidate who, since his change of mind, has continued to defend his position in the face of incredulous questioning from the liberal media and the pro-life community.

A Trump nomination will send the Catholic Left, who have no regard at all for saving the unborn, into a frenzy, calling Trump unfit for Catholic support on the grounds, not of abortion, but because of immigration, particularly his promise to build a wall on the Mexican border. They will quote Pope Francis saying Trump is not a Christian, which is NOT what he said, and that he is “unChristian” for wanting to build a wall, which is what he did say.

In addition, a majority of US bishops will try to create every obstacle they can to keep the Trump campaign reaching Catholic voters. It will be ugly, a free-for-all among Catholic voters.

There’s no doubt in my mind how I will vote, as a pro-life Catholic. To hand the White House over to the Democrats for another four, or eight, years will destroy our nation’s character for at least one hundred years. This would be a disaster from which America might never recover.

Published at The Christian Review, February 21, 2016

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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