How can President Trump be believed on anything, big or small?

Posted By: November 16, 2020

Fr. Sean McManus, President, Irish National Caucus, Washington DC
 Letters to the Editor. Irish News. Belfast. Published  Monday, November 16, 2020

Racism and sectarianism – the twin evils of this world.

This is the truth I have been proclaiming all my life.

It is, quite simply, another way of saying love of God and love of neighbor are the twin commandments, as explained and exemplified by Jesus Christ.

The twin evils – in effect and consequences – are the structural, institutionalised, political, economic and social way love of neighbour is denied. They are, as St Pope John Paul II, teaches the “structures of sin.” In the Ireland context and history, racism means anti-Irish and sectarianism means anti-Catholicism. In the US, of course, colour is the “social marker.” But the function of both racism and sectarianism is about one thing – excluding some from equality and power, whether they be Blacks, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, immigrants, the poor etc.

Social justice is love of neighbor, organized and implemented in the neighborhood (very apt word in this context), in the community, the country and in the world. And we know – at least we are supposed to believe – that without love of neighbor there is no love of God.

Has Donald Trump – at any time in his life, and particularly as president – ever given the slightest indication he represents these values? I know he claims to be opposed to abortion, but is that a principled moral stance or just cynical political expediency?

Indeed, it must be remembered that, in general, the white evangelical shift from having no position on abortion to the Catholic anti-abortion position was deeply cynical and about a right-wing power grab.

White evangelical Protestants generally ignored abortion until the late 1970s, even though the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.

In fact, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention welcomed the Supreme Court ruling as advancing “religious liberty.” That was an obviously snide anti-Catholic attack as the Catholic Church was the only major Church truly opposed to abortion and, of course, all good white southern Baptists knew that “them Catholics did not believe in American freedoms” – one of the oldest anti-Catholic tropes. England’s two-fold gift to America, it must always be remembered, was slavery and vicious, mendacious anti-Catholicism.

Anti-Catholic evangelical leaders seized on the Catholic position on abortion not for moral reasons, but because “the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive – protecting segregated schools,” as one American expert puts it. In other words, they invented a “high purpose” for the ignoble cause of segregation.

Now back to Trump’s claim to be concerned for human life. After all, it has been documented by the Washington Post that as president he has already made more than 25,000 false claims. So, how could he be believed on anything – big or small?