One of the surreal features of the 2020 election campaign is that the two candidates are going mano-a-mano over who can be more Catholic than the Pope.
The Telegraph’s US editor Ben Riley-Smith says that the vaguely Presbyterian President is battling to repeat his earlier success with the Catholic bloc — consisting of voters of Irish, Italian and Hispanic background – in his showdown with Joe Biden, an Irish-American Catholic schooled by nuns.
Of the two, Mr Trump has more convincing credentials. He has taken steps to protect religious freedom of conscience, has worked to remove taxpayer funding from a major abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, and has signed an executive order to mandate protection for babies born alive through abortion.
Moreover, to the fury of abortion activists, he has nominated Catholic Amy Coney Barrett – a woman with seven children, two adopted from Haiti, the youngest child with Down syndrome — to the Supreme Court to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a champion of abortion rights.
Now, Mr Trump may not have been schooled by nuns, but he has protected the Little Sisters of the Poor, a charitable order whose members do not get paid for anything, from being forced to pay for lay employees’ insurance schemes that include cover for contraception.
By contrast, Mr Biden, who says that Catholic nuns inspired him to run for President, will sue the Little Sisters of the Poor for their refusal to act against their consciences, while also pledging to restore public funds to Planned Parenthood and to ensure that abortion is exported to the poor countries of the world as foreign aid.
At Judge Coney Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing, California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein told her: “The dogma lives loudly within you”. She is, proudly — the dogma of life. Surprisingly, Mr Trump, his colourful private life notwithstanding, in public office has been closer to Catholic dogma in this respect than Mr Biden — unless, unbeknown to the rest of Christianity, the Ten Commandments now include a command to kill the innocent.
In 21st century culture wars, abortion is being used as a code-word for freedom, justice, equality, but most of all for choice.
In reality it is opposed to all these, because it is an idea that when put into practice undermines freedom, justice and equality. It simply gives women a choice to kill someone who has no choice.
Unlike previous Republican Presidents who have said all the right things on the subject, Mr Trump has actually acted to prevent this killing.
Sorry to say, Mr Biden sounds like the sort of person who radiates the vote-getting glow of cultural Catholicism while at the same time robustly rejecting Catholic teaching — as in “as a Catholic, I disagree with the Church on abortion”.
He is, like many other American politicians, an azzacatholic.
Despite his sentimental meanderings about his religious upbringing — which surely must have included lessons on Catholic moral views – he seems willing enough to ignore or overturn that teaching, even while proclaiming his Catholicism. Indeed, in2005 he piously insisted: “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”
Secular dogma lives loudly in azzacatholic Joe Biden. Unfortunately, most pundits have failed to take notice, for they are lost in admiration at his readiness to bend the knee to wokery.