Religious leaders’ electoral rush to Trump is a self-interested betrayal of trust

“Ecclesiastical establishments” James Madison wrote to his friend William Bradford Jr. in 1774, “tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.” If ever there was proof of Madison’s preternatural wisdom it was the role of organized religion in Donald Trump’s recent electoral victory. In fact, for those of us who take faith and politics seriously, the conduct of America’s major religious voting blocs—Catholics and evangelical Protestants—and, particularly their leaders is further evidence of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy that ought to disqualify them from further influence over the minds of reasonable Americans. Such people, even ...

Regarding Trump’s new pro-life stance: Catholics recognize a con man when they see one

0 , Permalink

By now, I think we all know that Donald Trump would hock his kids’ kidneys to win this election. I’m probably being over fastidious, then, to note that I find his most recent attempt to exploit the painfully wrenching issue of abortion particularly offensive. I use the adjective wrenching, I suppose, because I’m a Catholic who personally opposes most therapeutic pregnancy terminations, but still supports the woman’s right to choose. I do so, in part, because the question of abortion’s morality hinges on a question to which we currently have no convincing scientific answer: At what point does life begin? Given our ...

Election 2016: Is this the season of the angry white male?

On Monday, two of American Catholicism’s most prominent conservative  intellectuals—George Wiegel, John Paul II’s biographer, and Princeton law professor Robert P. George—posted an open letter on National Review Online urging Catholics not to vote for Donald Trump. Their appeal, addressed to “our fellow Catholics and all men and women of good will,” was joined by almost 40 coreligionists affiliated with academic institutions and non-profits. These folks are among the fiercest of culture warriors and for years have been trying to use the controversies over reproductive rights and marriage equality to pry Catholic voters out of the Democratic Party. They’ve promulgated the ...

Watching ‘Spotlight’, I was proud of my vocation and ashamed of my church

0 Permalink

Properly practiced, journalism is an honorable, but not a dignified vocation, and the cool, unsentimental way in which Spotlight captures that makes it one of best films ever made about newspaper work. The movie is up for six Academy Awards, and I hope it wins every one—though my friend Joe Morgenstern, the Wall Street Journal’s indispensable film critic, predicts it will get only one for best original screenplay, and he’s usually right about these things. If you’ve yet to see it—and you should see it—“Spotlight” recreates the investigation by the Boston Globe’s four-reporter team of that name that exposed not only widespread ...