President Donald J. Trump speaks Jan. 24, 2020, during the annual March for Life rally in Washington. CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

Bob Brehl: Is Trump’s pro-life talk a mere mirage?

  • February 27, 2020

Another of President Donald Trump’s men — this one longtime confidant Roger Stone — was sentenced last week after being convicted for lying to Congress and witness tampering. That makes eight Trump associates found guilty in court on various charges.

This time the flamboyant Stone received a sentence of three years and four months. But given the tweets and comments from Trump during the trial and after, he’ll likely issue a presidential pardon, rendering the judicial process meaningless.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson repeatedly criticized Stone, saying that he had shown “flagrant disrespect” for Congress and the court, and dismissed claims that he was being prosecuted for his politics, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“The problem is that nothing about this case was a joke. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t a stunt and it wasn’t a prank,” Jackson said. Hours after Stone received his sentence, Trump called his conviction unfair and politically motivated.

While reading the judge’s comments there appeared a vivid picture of the culture of lies and untruths surrounding Trump.

And a thought emerged: What if Trump is lying about his pro-life stance? What if he gets re-elected in November and no longer needs pro-life support and moves on to some other issue?

Surely, it’s possible.

After all, various fact-checking and media organizations — the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact, the Washington Post and others — say Trump has made anywhere from 12,000 to 17,000 false or misleading claims as President.

And many of them involve the subject of abortion. Albeit, those untruths involve distorting the comments made by his opponents on the subject, such as Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, who is a pediatric neurologist.

There’s no suggestion that Trump’s pro-life stance is unequivocally false, but it might be worth pondering by anyone who overlooks all his words and deeds on issues not involving abortion. Things like climate change, refugees and walls, race relations, treatment of women, suppressing his tax returns, ties to Russia and Ukraine to name a few.

Or, as the British newspaper The Guardian put it last November: “His own religious commitment seems questionable in the extreme but the thrice-married, porn star- and Playmate-paying, #%@#-grabbing, customer-defrauding, disability-mocking, race-baiting, Nazi-sympathizing, oft-bankrupt, impeachment-threatened president counts evangelical Christians as a key bloc of support.”

Journalists are cynical. The Guardian seems harsh, but it’s definitely not buying his Christian and pro-life stance.

While considering the validity of Trump’s pro-life position, I stumbled on an essay by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik entitled “What the Bible Taught Lincoln About America.”

The juxtaposition between Honest Abe and the Pinocchio President was delicious. The rabbi raised several interesting points; well worth tracking down via Google.

In a nutshell, Lincoln was not known as a religious man before elected president. But he found the Bible and Christian ideals gave him strength during the bloody civil war that claimed 620,000 lives. Indeed, in his day, many called Lincoln “America’s Moses” who would lead the slaves to freedom and save the country.

In speeches, Lincoln often referenced biblical passages and called America God’s “almost chosen people” in comparison to the Israelites. But in America’s case, Lincoln believed, the people would spread the ideals of freedom and equality around the world once they pulled themselves from the inferno.

“Lincoln’s description of America as an ‘almost chosen people’ remains important, not just as a key to his thought but as a warning for Americans today,” Soloveichik writes. “A chosen people is eternal, but America is an exceptional nation only if it remains ever loyal to the covenant of its founding, the ideals for which Washington fought and Lincoln died.”

The irony cannot be missed that both Lincoln and Trump were not known for religious fervour before entering the White House. While Lincoln used the Bible and Christian beliefs to lead, Trump appears to use the Bible for divisiveness between social conservatives and much of the country.

And there is evidence that Trump has broken several of the 10 Commandments, especially number eight.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in the Vatican archives: “The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.”

While Trump appears to align with Catholic doctrine when it comes to his pro-life stance, that one issue should not wash away everything else where he is in absolute contradiction. It even makes some wonder if he truly aligns on that issue.

(Brehl is a writer and author of many books.)

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