The Download—Trump’s Defining Moment

News: Commentary
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  September 20, 2016   

A pro-life coalition is forming around Trump, who has Catholics running his campaign

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With just seven weeks before voters head to the polls, Donald Trump's defining moment has come with his call for pro-life leaders to join his campaign's Pro-Life Coalition, adding much-needed clarity to his moral message.

Trump sent a letter on September 16 to pro-life leaders announcing the formation of this coalition.

I am writing to invite you to join my campaign's Pro-Life Coalition, which is being spearheaded by longtime leader Marjorie Dannenfelser. As we head into the final stretch of the campaign, the help of leaders like you is essential to ensure that pro-life voters know where I stand and also know where my opponent, Hillary Clinton, stands.

Trump notes in his letter that Hillary Clinton supports:

  • abortion on-demand for any reason

  • taxpayer funding of abortions by repealing the Hyde Amendment

  • abortion up until birth

  • nomination of pro-death Supreme Court Justices

His letter recalls Clinton's remarks on Meet the Press, when she responded, "The unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights." He also highlights her unwavering commitment to the pro-death cause, Clinton going so far as to say of pro-lifers that their "religious beliefs … have to be changed."

In contrast to Clinton's pro-abortion platform, Trump informs pro-life leaders that his pro-life commitment entails:

  • Nominating pro-life justices to the Supreme Court

  • Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act ending abortions after 20 weeks of gestation

  • Re-allocating funds from Planned Parenthood to community health centers that provide comprehensive healthcare for women

  • Upholding the Hyde Amendment to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions

Catholics are jumpstarting Trump's campaign, which less than two months ago seemed to be in hopeless decline. Marjorie Dannenfelser, a Catholic convert from Episcopalianism, has been tapped by Trump to head his pro-life coalition. She runs the Susan B. Anthony List, a non-profit group more than 300,000 strong, which supports pro-life politicians for the purpose of ending abortion.

The political influence of Irish Catholic Steve Bannon — taking a hiatus from running Breitbart to oversee the Trump campaign — is being talked about in media. And Trump made history when he pulled in the politically savvy Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Catholic from New Jersey, to be the first woman to manage a Republican presidential campaign in the general election.

The American Family Association, a prominent Christian advocacy group, is thrilled with Trump's pro-life coalition statement, calling it "spectacular." On August 30, the National Right to Life Committee, a well-established pro-life organization, issued a statement endorsing Trump for president. And last week, Troy Newman, head of Operation Rescue, a prominent pro-life group, is now formally backing Trump's campaign.

In his endorsement, Newman, who himself is endorsed by Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said Trump offers the "best hope" of resisting abortion. The leading pro-life activist, speaker and author, told in a recent interview that he appreciates the hesitancy some pro-lifers express in supporting Trump but advises against writing in the name of a candidate who has only a slight chance of winning, or opting out of voting altogether.

At a conference last month in Rome, Cdl. Raymond Burke, appointed patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta by Pope Francis, also warned disgruntled voters of the dangerous results of not voting, or of writing in the name of a dark horse candidate.

Watch the panel discuss the Catholic influence within Trump's campaign in "The Download—Trump and Catholics."


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