Donald Trump, Catholics, Abortion and Climate Change

December 11, 2016


Donald Trump’s position on climate change is no secret as he has been open about calling it a hoax and attributing it to the Chinese. Additionally, he has stated that one of his first acts as United States President would be to pull the United States out of the global Paris climate change agreement signed in 2015 and ratified in 2016, much to the displeasure of world leaders. As of late however, since becoming President-elect, he has not only changed his tone on the issue but has met with key proponents of the climate change theory, not to mention the fact that his daughter Ivanka is a strong advocate for combating climate change and is poised to use her position as “first daughter” to champion the cause. Other groups of individuals highly esteemed by Donald Trump are also fighting aggressively to have this “ever-growing threat” addressed. One such group is the Roman Catholics, to whom Donald Trump made the pledge “I’ll be there for you.” The National Catholic Reporter reports, “Donald Trump has a message for U.S. Catholics: I'll be there for you as president…‘I have a message for Catholics: I will be there for you. I will stand with you. I will fight for you…’On the last point Trump stated, ‘I am, and will remain, pro-life,’ and promised to defend religious liberties.”[1]


One of the issues that Roman Catholics are hoping Donald Trump to be there for them on, especially under the influence of their leader, Pope Francis, is the issue of climate change. They have enlisted in the fight as The San Diego Union-Tribune carried a story under the headline, “Focus Catholic Leaders: climate change on same level as abortion and death penalty. It states the following:


“‘It’s clear that climate change is a pro-life issue,’ said Sarah Spengeman with Catholic Climate Covenant, a nonprofit formed in 2006 by leading U.S. bishops to work on ecological issues. ‘People are being killed by climate change already, so it’s very core to our beliefs.’ She added: ‘If we want to leave our children an inhabitable earth, if we have a responsibility to the unborn, we have a responsibly to act on climate…’ This fall, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Climate Covenant rolled out a program aimed at mobilizing action around Pope Francis’ encyclical, which outlined a moral obligation for combating climate change.’”[2] Since Donald Trump has pledged to fight for the interests of Roman Catholics and they are placing the issue of climate change on the same level as abortion—both being a moral obligation to preserve life—Donald Trump will either have to espouse both or lose the support of Roman Catholics, which is one of the largest voting blocs in America. This is not even considering the countless evangelicals that voted for Trump based on the abortion issue and other moral issues, to whom Trump also pledged to fight for.[3]  In other words, Donald Trump was voted in by Catholics and evangelicals alike to have “moral” issues addressed and moral solutions legalized by the government and are pressuring him to do just what he promised them.


Pope Francis, the most vocal advocate for combating climate change, has made this one of his top priorities and has given solutions on how climate change can and should be addressed from a “moral” and religious standpoint, and also from a scientific one in his environmental encyclical Laudato Si. One solution, which resonates with evangelicals, since they honor it also, is the enforcement of Sunday observance. Interestingly, he also cites abortion in the same encyclical outlining the correlation between the two issues. “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? ‘If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away.[4]


In the minds of “Christians” the logic is this, if a person views abortion as a moral issue necessitating a moral solution, Christians must also see climate change as a moral issue that demands a moral solution.  Catholic Republicans pledge their loyalty to the Pope above their commitment to any political party, therefore, though a large number of people in the Republican Party deny climate change, those republicans who are lobbying for morality will also change their tune on climate change. And in order to retain their support and perhaps get reelected, Trump, like other politicians would and do, will yield to whatever the popular demand is.


“Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: ‘The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ Revelation 12:17.”[5] 


 Interestingly, influential proponents of climate change that are not necessarily moralists or Christians are likewise wasting no time in dialoguing with Mr. Trump in hopes that he might reconsider and change his position on the matter, which is highly probable, given his already wavering stance. He has recently met with Al Gore, the person who has brought the issue of climate change to the forefront and a strong advocate of the same, and actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, another leading figure in the climate-change movement, both of which have met with Ivanka Trump. From every side, Donald Trump is being pressured to take on this issue; and when the calamities become more frequent and disastrous, the pressure will become even more intense. So for those individuals who believed that a National Sunday Law could never be enforced under a Trump presidency, because most Republicans deny climate change, must now come to the realization that this very well could be the case; and that the climate change movement is a lot bigger than just one person or even one party.




[1] https://www.ncronline.org/news/politics/trumps-pledge-catholics-ill-be-there-you



[2] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/environment/sd-me-bishops-climate-20161130-story.html






[4] http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html



[5] White, Ellen.  The Great Controversy (1911), page 592

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