Sunday, August 14, 2016

Why It Is Most Likely Immoral To Deny Your Vote To Trump

We've all seen and participated in some discussions in which Christians have said they won't vote for Trump because he's merely the "lesser of two evils".  When the political landscape has been rehearsed before them, they invariably say that they must be guided by their "consciences".  While there's some truth to that, they omit a large part of that picture.  We Christians, if we are to utilize our consciences properly, must ensure that we are forming and informing our consciences in accordance with Church teaching, particularly in accordance with the principles of Catholic moral theology.

In my most recent post on this matter I linked to a video by Michael Matt regarding this very topic and also linked to other attempts (here and here) to examine this matter through the prism of Catholic moral theology.  I call to attention a comment on that post to which I replied on August 5th.  In that comment I noted that Hillary's body count is growing; indeed, since that time there have been 4-5 additional "mysterious" deaths.  The quotation from Mr. Gruden that I cited is now even more relevant: "Can I in good conscience act in a way that helps a liberal like Hillary Clinton win the presidency?"

In that first link, I quoted from Father Peter West who cites three aspects of a human act.  All three aspects must be good or at least morally neutral in order for the act to be good.  If one of those aspects is evil, then the act is evil.  Those aspects are: 1) the inherent nature of the act 2) intention of the one placing the act, 3) circumstances surrounding the act.  He does a decent job explaining these.  The only thing I might elaborate on is the intention.  One can have a number of valid intentions to placing a vote.  Namely, one can vote for Candidate A because they believe that Candidate B would be worse than A, understanding that either Candidate A or Candidate B and no others will have a chance at victory.

I've also dealt with the Principle of Double Effect, a principle recognized by the Church since some acts can have both positive and negative effects..  There are four criteria that must be met under this principle for an act to be morally good.
  1. The act itself must be good or at least morally neutral
  2. The evil effect and the good effect must proceed equally from the act.  The good effect cannot be a result of the evil effect
  3. The intention must be good; we may not directly will the evil effect.
  4. There must be a proportional reason for tolerating the evil effect.  
In previous posts I've brought all these factors to bear on the question of casting a vote for Donald Trump.  So have others.  Even some #nevertrump folks believe that a vote for Trump is at least morally permissible.

However, just as the decision to vote for Trump must be subjected to rigorous scrutiny under the lens of Catholic moral theology, so too must the decision not to vote for Trump be subjected to the same rigorous examination.  It fails.  Right off the bat, looking at the fourth factor of the Double Effect principle, we see no proportional reason for tolerating the election of Hillary Clinton.  Bear in mind that she has promised to expand abortion, promote the gay agenda, fund Planned Parenthood, stack the Supreme Court with pro-aborts, and we see her body count ever-growing.  What "proportional reason" can be offered for tolerating that?

When I've posed that question to some (mostly on facebook discussions) the great majority of them will reply, "but at least I vote my conscience" as though that's a supreme good in and of itself.  I link now to an article found on American Thinker.  Mr. Lopez states, "Of course who wins the election is more important than your precious conscience or how you feel about voting.  Your country matters more than you do.  Has America become so weak and self-absorbed that people no longer understand what it means to say, 'It's not all about you, honey'?"  He has a very valid point.

The role of our conscience is to assist us in selecting acts that are in obedience to God.  That is why we need to form and inform them in accordance with Christ's teachings as revealed through Holy Mother Church (that includes Catholic moral theology).  It is a means to an end, the end being to please God.  We do not seek to assuage or please our own consciences for their own sakes.  If consciences are not informed by and subordinate to objective Catholic morality, they are not much more than pride and sentimentality disguised in sanctimonious veneer. When I hear some of the #nevertrump crowd say "no one can deter me from my conscience" and "I won't sell my soul" I have to suspect that they may well be turning their consciences into de facto idols.

I think for some of the #nevertrump crowd, their animosity towards Trump is a very strange sort of pride.  Allen West (himself a one-time candidate for president) has some words to consider.  He's correct about the tantrums being pitched by these "nevertrump" folks.  Don't we find it odd that they spend more time and energy kvetching about Trump than they do about Hillary?  In their disregard for any consequence of their trash-talking against Trump, they seem quite willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

I've asked this before and will repeat myself.  If there are objective reasons (as opposed to subjective resonations with consciences) why one thinks they can just let Hillary waltz into the White House by not supporting Trump, please advise.


  1. I have seen nothing in the long, public, storied, dishonest, sordid, liberal life of Donald Trump to make me think that it is a moral act of righteousness to vote for him; and that to FAIL to vote for him is IMmoral. Nothing.

    He is a liar. He is a liberal. He is immoral. He is pro-abortion. You disagree? You think he is going to defend life and stake his personal capital for the sake of life? Fine. I don't. There is no evidence from his long, public record to think he will be anything other than the liberal, bullying, self-serving liar he appears to be. You, like so many others provide no public record to base it all on. Just another "Anyone but Hillary"!

    Vote how you please. But you need to carefully consider your blanket condemnations of fellow Catholics' consciences. First, it is unpersuasive. Second, I consider it existentially dangerous grounds to condemn another's conscience, which is sacred, unless you are very, very certain of yourself. For Trump?! Really?! You are willing to stake everything for HIS sake?

  2. At moral theology, we are required to consider the circumstances surrounding a given act: in this case, deciding what to do with our vote this coming November. The circumstances include this. There are two candidates, and two candidates only: Trump and Hillary. One of them will go into office. Of all the evils you mention about Trump, you fail (or refuse to) mention one about Hillary although hers are many times worse, not to mention her track record and dead body count so far. You fail - or perhaps refuse - to consider that one can cast a vote not so much with the intention of endorsing one but of opposing the other.

    I've cited several key aspects of Catholic moral theology. If I did so incorrectly, please advise, citing specific errors. You haven't done so, only attempting to hide behind "conscience". No one's conscience is so "sacred" as to be above question - not mine, not yours. You seem to be attempting to shield your ideas about Trump from criticism by falsely invoking "conscience". That won't fly.

    Your last sentence is rather odd, too. What is this "everything" to which you refer? And no, I'm not speaking for Trump's sake but for our country's sake for it would suffer immensely under a Hillary presidency. We're required as Catholics to consider these consequences of our moral acts; we are not permitted to disregard them. Oh, when Ispeak of our country, I also speak of the unborn babies whose fates would be sealed by Hillary. How can anyone's "conscience" be ok with that?

  3. The factor that is producing the destruction of the U.S is its MORAL TOLERANCE: free-love, homosexuality (LGBT- WE LOVE YOU, I will protect you......YEAAAAAH!, BRAVO!!!), gender ideology that destroys a cradle of humankind, contraception, abortion, divorce, euthanasia.....etc. IT IS THESE MORAL ABERRATION WHICH, LIKE AIDS, ARE DESTROYING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM OF THE COUNTRY, OF HER YOUTH AND SETTING THE US ON ITS PATHWAY TO DEATH!!!

    Of course there is always “the lesser of two evils” as long as we ignore it is still evil.

    '.....that lady with the upheld light who keeps watch over New York harbor.' .....represents 'false liberty, equality, fraternity,' that came to this country from an enemy of God, of His Holy Church, as such should be knocked down to a rubble, and replaced justly with Our Lady of Guadalupe, the only hope for this Protestant country to convert to the One True Catholic Faith! Salvation of souls, is greater then 'democracy.'

    May God Bless All Soldiers of Christ!

    Vivat Christus Rex!

  4. First, your "moral theology" premise is incorrect. There are NOT just two candidates. I am voting for Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party. He, and the Party he represents, align with my views. Don Trump does not. Trump has a long, established record of support for liberal causes and I consider his governing style, judgement and personality inherently dangerous. Perhaps after this disaster of an election the GOP will decline like the Whigs and fade away into history and the Constitution Party will take its place leading the conservative movement.

    The conservative cause I have supported for 40 years has been Constitution based, limited government Federalism. It is fully in concord with the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity. I care about THAT. Not the GOP per se if it is advancing liberalism.

    My problem with Trump is twofold:

    1: He is not conservative. He is a big government Statist who will not deliver the conservative policy outcomes you think he will. He is playing us for dupes. He will advance liberalism. And to your main point, he does not believe in Life. He has always been "Choice". His "Life" answers are unconvincing to me. I simply don't believe his lies. Simple as that. I took his measure during the debates and now consider him an immoral liar and an angry intemperate man, unfit for High Office. His measure, in my mind, is contained (among others) in his statement that he could walk through Times Square and murder people and he would STILL be elected President. What kind of a man says that, THINKS that, especially one auditioning for President? And what does that say about we conservatives? We have to support him, no matter what, because .... JUDGES. Even that, untrustworthy.

    2: He represents the Conservative cause. He and his people have taken over the Party. They gave Cruz and his supporters a steel toed boot in the butt. Now, Cruz and his supporters (me) are treated as immoral traitors, perhaps committing mortal sin if we do not fall in line and support Trump's Statist ways. If he wins, the Constitution based Federalist conservative cause is replaced by Trump's immoral Statist cause.

    The movement transcends names and I am unwilling to participate in giving it to this man to destroy for his personal pleasures.

    In regards to your final question, I am reminded of a scene from Shakespear's Henry V (Act IV) in which the King's conscience is accused for pssibly killing his subjects for the sake of an unjust cause. Within his extended soliloquy is this: "Every subject's duty is the King's; but every subject's soul is his own".

    If you think Trump will support life, and the cause is best advanced by him; that's up to you and your conscience. Same for me.

    A Catholc may not vote directly for abortion. THAT is clearly mortal sin. But mine is a judgement, AS IS YOURS. In fact, a case can be made that YOU are actually hurting the life case by voting for Trump. I do not make the case because I view this as intensely personal. And a very difficult judgement. But judgement it remains. And it is not Catholc to intrude on THAT.

    Do not let Trumpism enter our shared Faith and bring division where there should be unity and peace.

    1. There are two candidates who are the ones vying for the White House, one of whom will enter it: Trump or Hillary. That is the reality. We are called to deal with reality as it presents itself, not as we'd like it to be. It is your decision to deny your vote for Trump that is the true anti-life action, for in so doing, you act in blatant disregard for the evils that Hillary has promised, should she attain the White House.

    2. Well, there are three months for the man to convince me otherwise. Perhaps I'll vote for him if he makes a good convincing case. I'm waiting. Three more months. My mind is still open. Truly.

      But for now, I think the man is a Statist liberal who supports abortion. He has throughout his life. Until this year. I can easily withhold my vote from a Statist, socialist liberal who has favored abortion his entire life. And who lies. A lot.

      Reality? That's reality.

      My question is why would someone who favors Life issues support a lyer of a man who has consistently favored Statism, socialism and, yes, abortion until an election that requires him to lie? Your vote is a direct vote for all of that. Including abortion.

      Meanwhile, my vote will go to an articulate Pro-Lfe candidate who actually believes in it.

    3. Brian, no reasonable person can contend that a vote for Candidate A is an endorsement of all of Candidate A's positions. In fact, it is a legitimate reason to vote for Candidate A if one knows that Candidate B would be worse than Candidate A. To assert that my vote for Trump is an endorsement for abortion is to view the matter from a dangerously simplistic viewpoint at best.

      I don't know who this dream candidate of yours is, but if he/she doesn't care if they might pull votes away from Trump and make Hillary's election easier for her, I question that candidate's political acumen, and perhaps even their goodwill.

    4. Like I said in my previous post, Darrell Castle is my "dream" candidate. He aligns 100% with me on every issue. I admire his background and his character, which means A LOT to me. I also admire his lifelong devotion to Life and his heartfelt support for Life.

      I deny that this nation was founded so that only two Parties could present candidates for President. I deny that voting for a constitutionally valid candidate who is 100% pro-life is ... a vote for abortion. We still live in America and we are still allowed to vote for any qualified candidate. It is irksome to be told that a principled, considered vote for a constitutional conservative is really a vote instead for socialism and abortion. And that the only way to defend Life is to vote for a man who has supported abortion his entire life, and to THIS DAY! still supports Planned Parenthood!

      Of all the many reasons to NOT vote for Trump, abortion and life issues are at the head of the line. He is simply not credible in his weasily new Life professions. A vote for him, (unless he can change my mind) will violate my conscience for the sake of Life issues alone.

      Anyway, my chosen candidate's name is Darrell Castle, candidate for the Constitution Party. Here is a link to an insightful interview:

    5. So have you taken this decision and evaluated it through the lens of objective Catholic moral theology as opposed to your subjective conscience? Our consciences are supposed to guide us to what pleases God, not to be pleased for their own sakes. None of us are exempt from the duty of forming and informing our consciences to conform to God's will.

      You might deny that a vote for a "100% pro-life" candidate is a vote for abortion, but the stark reality is that a denial of a vote for Trump reduces by one vote the total that Hillary needs to take the White House. Your very denial is its own moral problem. If you find that "irksome" that's your problem. I suggest that it's good that your are irked for no one should be placated who places subjective feelings above objective truth.

    6. You have two candidates who are pro-abortion; Trump and Hillary. You are voting for one of them.

      I am voting for a 100% pro-life Darrell Castle.

      My candidate will defund Planned Parenthood. Yours will expand it.

      I vote for Truth, and let God bring the miracles.

      And you are correct. No one is exempt from forming their consciences to conform to God's will. God rules. Not man. I trust in God, not the GOP.

    7. Your candidate will NOT defund Planned Parenthood simply because he won't attain the White House. The fact that he's even running at this time is demonstration enough of his unfitness for office. All he can do at this time is syphon votes from Trump to facilitate a Hillary win. Either he's too supremely stupid to realize this or he just doesn't care.

    8. It's been a long slog; but after many, many unproductive discussions such as this one, I pretty much don't care, either. What a monmental waste of time. I'm almost cured of my blogging addiction thanks to "stupid" exchanges like this.

      Supremely stupid. Yeah. Darrell Castle is supremely stupid. The only smart choice; the only "righteous" choice; the only "Catholic" choice is to vote for Trump. And if you disagree, you are either immoral or stupid. Get ye to catechism class, get "catechized", until you realize the imperative of voting for Trump and supporting his cause. Because, God forbid, we siphon votes away from Donald Trump.

    9. If you consider this exchange a waste of your time, you're certainly free to move on. Since you can only reply with sarcasm, you display the intellectual vacuity of your position anyway.

  5. Judging from his (Trump) highly immoral lifestyle and no less immoral views on just about everything, let us not be deceived....... despite the carefully groomed wonder boy image. excerpt from email send to me by a friend, few years ago, worth reading: “Trump is every bit as liberal, socialist, zionist and anti-Christian as the rest of the phony conservatives lusting after more fame, fortune and political power. Trump also insults the public’s intelligence by saying, “I am a fiscal conservative and a proud American.” This is the same fiscal conservative, mind you, who not long ago had nothing but the highest praise for Pres. Obama’s multi-billion-dollar bailouts. Fiscal conservative? A proud American? Words have no more meaning to men of the caliber of Donald Trump than does truth, honesty, integrity, etc.
    ...........Donald Trump is really a small time operator; very small, in truth, in the grand scheme of things. We only mention him here because he, along with some of his backers, obviously have ambitions of seeing him climb higher up the ladder of prominence and power; probably of getting into politics where the real wealth and power await men of their caliber who have no qualms of conscience about setting aside all moral considerations for fame, power and material advancement. “

    See Peter Grier, “Donald Trump Says He Might Run for President,” The Christian Science Monitor,, Feb. 10, 2011; “Billionaire Donald Trump ‘May Run For U.S. Presidency,’ News U.S. & Canada, Nov. 18, 2010; and James Oliphant, “CPAC: Donald Trump Says He’s Considering 2012 Presidential Run,” Los Angeles Times, Feb. 10, 2011.

    See also Piper’s article, “Trump Wants to Be President – But Will Mob Ties Derail the Flamboyant Frontman?” American Free Press, Feb. 28, 2011.

    Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis!

  6. the way.....both Hillary and Donald are from the same 'death brew'!

    "Rome was not voted into a Christian Empire but converted into one" (Charles Coulombe), hence, Catholics:
    SEEK the Truth,
    EMBRACE the Truth,
    DEFEND the Truth,
    INSIST upon the Truth!

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for all Catholics......May the scales fall off!

    Pray for the conversion of the godless society of the United States Empire!!! God Will Not Be Mocked!!!

    1. Absolutely we must pray for conversion. While we pray, we must act to facilitate that conversion. That means we must deal with the realities as they currently present themselves. Right now, in voting to minimize damages done to this country, we will be "defending the Truth".

  7. Read the platforms of the two parties and vote for the one that most reflects your values. That is certainly a legitimate approach.

    1. Mary Ann is correct. There can be several legitimate intentions foe placing the act of voting; the promotion of a good party platform is certainly one. That highlights another error of the #nevertrump bunch; they insist that when one votes for a candidate, one endorses that candidate in all he/she stands for while refusing to acknowledge the possibility of any other intention. Such a simplistic take on the matter betrays gross intellectual laziness if mot dishonesty.

    2. Mary Anne, read the platform of the Constitution Party. It also makes perfect sense. And it is led by a man, Darrell Castle, who will implement its tenets faithfully, rather than by a man, Trump, who will work to oppose and overturn them.

      You will see, as time goes by, responsible conservatives know Trump will sabatoge that platform and will work to stop him from destroying it all. That is why there is a movement within the GOP to divert resources to those MANY who will advance the platform and away from the ONE who will overturn it,

      Trump is for Trump. He will subvert that platform. It is not his. The platform sounds great. Behind Cruz, it stood a chance. Behind Trump it does not. He will subvert both it and the candidates down ticket who actually believe it all.

      Law, politics and results are not just within the Presidency. It is a nationwide, grassroots community movement. Trump is destroying the conservative movement, its "Platform", and all candidates, up and down the line of good will who are being brought to ruin because no one will tell him, NO MORE!

      The Platform is just empty words unless used as a means to a conservative end by a truly conservative, truly good-willed man. Trump is not that. He is a pro-abortion, pro Planned-Parenthood, Statist, liberal and he is a liar.


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