Donald_Trump_August_19_2015I’m a committed Catholic and a cautious conservative.Padre_Pio

I’m Catholic because I’m convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith. I’m a conservative because it has always seemed to me that the conservative philosophy has reason, experience and common sense on its side.

However, I’m a “cautious” conservative because I am aware that any philosophy can become an ideology, and ideologues kill for the sake of their ideologies.

With Donald Trump in the White House my conservatism is even more cautious. I’m cautious because we’re in uncharted territory. Trump is an outsider, a loose cannon, a wild card. He’s unpredictable.

Can you trust Donald Trump? My own position has two aspects. The first is “wait and watch” the second is “judge on actions.”

The hype and hypocrisy surrounding President Trump from both sides is astounding. I see his fans wrapping themselves in American flags, proclaiming their patriotism, thumping their chests and pumping Trump into America’s savior and I shudder. I hear them attempting to portray him as a good and godly man and Steve Bannon as a faithful (if somewhat of a black sheep) Catholic and I wonder and worry. I hear them gushing with glee over Trump’s macho and Machivellian machinations and it makes me gulp. What madness have we unleashed?

But then I see the hysterical hype on the other side, and it is just as bad. Magazine covers of Trump’s head in the crosshairs of a sniper’s rifle? Trump as Hitler? Trump being portrayed as America’s tyrant the AntiChrist and the archetypal demagogue? Trump being accused of being xenophobic, homophobic, Islamaphobic, misogynistic and murderous? Protests, riots and ridiculous reporting? Come now. Take a deep breath. Try to calm down. Drink some tea.

We may find the man distasteful or disgusting. We may suspect him of being a demagogue or a potential tyrant, but we should step back and judge the only thing we can judge: his actions.

As a Catholic I will try to judge his actions through the filter of my Catholic faith. Therefore, what judgements can we make?

  • His actions to limit federal funding for abortion is good. That they want to direct those funds to genuine health care for women is better. If they go further and subsidize adoption and fostering and support women in crisis pregnancies–even better.
  • His temporary suspension of immigration from seven violent and volatile countries doesn’t seem so extreme to me, and it would seem that the temporary travel restrictions are not very different from those imposed at other times by his predecessors. My view is that it is, as it stands, a sensible precaution. If the restrictions harden into something oppressive or turn into a way of targeting people of a particular religion, then we watch and wait and stand against it. But as it stands now, I don’t see that it is such a problem.
  • His plans to restrict immigration from Mexico? There is no problem with seeking sensible ways of screening and deporting proven criminals. But this must be balanced with an immigration policy that helps good, honest people to immigrate, for resident aliens to find ways to become legal citizens and ways to help families stay together for the common good.  A secure border–and even a border wall–are not necessarily evils in themselves. They could be used in a restrictive way, but they could be used positively.
  • His choice for the Supreme Court?  Continue Reading

Image Wikkimedia and Creative Commons.

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