Some Bishops Deceive Catholic Voters on Clinton and Trump Abortion Views (Corrected)

Deal W. Hudson
September 20, 2016

Yesterday, I stated that the document, “Know the Positions of the Presidential Candidates,” was a product of the USCCB. Today I received a message, friendly, from someone I know at the USCCB who told me the document did not originate with the USCCB, and that the “State Catholic conferences act completely independently of the USCCB.” “The only resource put out by the USCCB is Faithful Citizenship,” she added.

The USCCB official was under the impression the presidential comparison had only been published by the Virginia Catholic Conference.  But, as I told her when I also found it published by the Florida Catholic Conference and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, I assumed it originated at “headquarters,” i.e., the USCCB. I apologize for the mistaken assumption.

Beyond those three states, and some of the dioceses within the states (Orlando & Arlington), I have not located any other postings of “Know the Positions of the Presidential Candidates.” Thus, I have revised my headline of this column to “Some Bishops Deceive Catholic Voters on Clinton and Trump Abortion Views.”

There’s no need to change the rest of the analysis of how “Know the Positions of the Presidential Candidates” is deliberately deceiving. Why do I say “deliberately”? That’s easy to answer: The person or persons who put this comparison together undoubtedly knew that Clinton’s position on abortion was far more extreme than the comparison indicates. I didn’t even mention the softball version of Clinton on freedom of religion — the document doesn’t even mention her now infamous statement that “religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to allow more abortions.

The State Catholic Conferences may operate independently of the USCCB but some of them, at least, do not operate independently of each other.

“Know the Positions” starts with the issue of abortion, with the description of Hillary Clinton opening with her “safe and legal” mantra before moving, quickly, to her Hyde Amendment opposition. This is ALL the Catholic Conferences have to say about Clinton’s position on abortion.

‘“I believe we need to protect access to safe and legal abortion, not just in principle but in practice,’ Clinton said at a rally in January.

“Clinton supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and the Democratic Party Platform states, ‘We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.’ The Hyde Amendment restricts the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.”

Seriously? The Conference officials appear too unconcerned to mention this comment on “Meet the Press” (4/6/16):

“The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

To downplay Clinton’s extreme support for abortion-on-demand in this way, it has to be said, is both misleading and deceptive. And there’s no mention of her vocal support for Planned Parenthood either.

Meanwhile, the description of Donald Trump’s position on abortion does not begin on a positive note the way Clinton’s does. The Conferences’ description of Trump begins with a reminder of his former ‘pro-choice’ position.

“While Trump previously described himself as ‘pro-choice; in August 2015 Trump said he has; very much evolved’ on the issue of abortion and ‘I am pro-life.’ He said he supports exceptions in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk.

No statement by Trump on the Hyde Amendment could be found, but the Republican Party Platform calls for “codification” of the Hyde Amendment, ‘We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.’

Trump’s defense of the Hyde Amendment is easily found in the following statement. I guess the folks at the Conferences didn’t look very hard.


The 11 other positions described by the Conferences are the death penalty, euthanasia, educational choice, environmental responsibility, freedom of religion (not “religious liberty”), health care access for the uninsured, immigration, international security, marriage (close to the bottom), poverty, and refugees displaced by terrorism.

Whatever you think of the issues chosen, the remainder of the “positions” descriptions are less egregious, though not without the taint of prejudice against Trump.  Clinton comes out looking bad on euthanasia, educational choice, marriage, and freedom of religion. Trump, of course, looks bad on the death penalty, the environment, immigration, poverty, and refugees.

There is no attempt by the Conferences to underscore the priority of the life issues, abortion, and euthanasia, in relation to the rest. At least they are found at the top of the candidate’s position descriptions and not at the bottom.  But anyone just keeping score would have no reason to consider Hillary Clinton unfit for office in spite of her abortion extremism.

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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