The editors of America magazine, the flagship publication of the Jesuit order in the U.S., has issued an “unprecedented warning” against voting for Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election.
“The administration of Donald J. Trump has undermined the constitutional order to a degree unprecedented in modern American history, which prompts the editors of this review to register this unprecedented warning,” the editors state in their September 16 essay.
“The principal concern here is not with Mr. Trump’s positions on various public policies, some of which are right and some of which are wrong, but with the president’s disregard for the system of laws and customs that establish the necessary conditions for debate, decision-making and public accountability in this republic,” they declare.
As other individual Jesuits have done elsewhere, the America editors attempt to make the platform of the two parties equally ambivalent for Catholics, suggesting that each has things in its favor and other things that Catholics might find problematic, with neither aligning more nor less with Catholic belief.
“Both political parties support policies that offend the Catholic conscience, including widespread support for abortion on demand among Democrats and consistent support for the death penalty among Republicans,” they declare.
What the editors fail to add is that in 2019, a total of 22 convicted criminals were executed in the entire United States, or the number of unborn babies that are slaughtered in the country every 12 minutes. They also fail to note that the Vatican City State itself only outlawed capital punishment in 1969.
The Vatican has stated that Catholics in full communion with the Church can disagree with the pope on the matter of applying the death penalty but they cannot do so regarding intrinsically evil actions such as abortion.
Pitting abortion against the death penalty seems a remarkable stretch even for the Jesuits’ famously elastic moral reasoning.
Unable to make a compelling case for Mr. Biden’s political platform, the Jesuit editors instead have sought to disqualify Mr. Trump himself, accusing him of subverting the rule of law “by politicizing the Justice Department and interfering in its deliberations and investigations in novel ways.”
“The president has repeatedly attacked the press, declaring them to be the ‘enemy of the people,’” they note.
“He has also disparaged the courage and sacrifice of the men and women of America’s armed forces,” the editors allege, in apparent reference to a controversial article in the Atlantic based on unnamed sources.
“This pattern of presidential behavior is unique in American history,” the editors assert in a verbal act of garment-rending.
Unlike former presidents, Mr. Trump time after time “has demonstrated that his framework for decisions is merely transactional and that he has little regard for constitutional norms or the common good.”
“In the election of 2020, Catholics face the unfortunate reality that the ostensibly pro-life presidential candidate also represents a proven threat to the constitutional order,” they insist.
In conclusion, America’s editors declare that Mr. Trump’s manifest unfitness for the presidential office must outweigh his pro-life, pro-religious freedom, pro-school choice, and pro-national security positions.
In ordinary times, the left’s increasingly extreme position on the issue of abortion “might suffice for some Catholics to determine in conscience that they must vote against the Democratic ticket,” they suggest.
“In the election of 2020, however, Catholics face the unfortunate reality that the ostensibly pro-life presidential candidate also represents a proven threat to the constitutional order,” they counter. “That threat is real.”
Until now, a number of prominent Jesuits have denounced bishops and priests who have come out in favor of President Trump, insisting that priests and bishops have no business endorsing political candidates.
Now, apparently, the gloves are off and anything goes.