Marjorie Murphy Campbell at The Christian Review penned an outstanding response to the condscending Weigel/George hit piece on Trump and his voters in which she surgically attacked their hypocrisy. Holding themselves out to be Catholic experts, Weigel and George hurled unfounded accusations at Trump and attempted to malign and shame his voters.
Does this sound familiar? Don’t we experience this often as Catholic Trump supporters? Haven’t we encountered many Catholic #nevertrumpers who are quick to give all sorts of figures on the left, liberal bishops, and Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt no matter what questionable statements they make? However, when it comes to Trump and his supporters, these #nevertrumps feel as if the normal moral rules of charity do not apply. Instead, they seem to think that assuming the worst about these people is somehow acceptable. Why? Because Trump is “evil” of course, and his supporters are either evil or stupid. But are these the acts and words of devoted Catholics? Is it morally acceptable for Catholics to use the shame and scare tactics of the radical left to silence and pressure those they don’t agree with?
Campbell didn’t think so. Even though she was an undecided voter, she still thought the behavior from Weigel and George was so revolting that she owed Trump and his voters an apology on behalf of all Catholics. The following are some highlights from this excellent piece. It should be read in its entirety at the link below the quote:
While Professor George and Mr. Weigel opened their letter with a noncontroversial (if incomplete) statement of Catholic priorities, and a more questionable embrace of the Republican Party, they immediately shifted, not to a candidate-by-candidate, reasoned analysis, but to a direct and hostile attack on one candidate, Donald J. Trump. With no factual support for their assertion that Trump’s appeal rests upon racism and ethnic prejudice, George and Weigel fashioned a personal, conclusory, name-calling hit piece on this candidate whose voter base constitutes a culture distinct from the more polished, elite world in which the authors live.
Sadly, these authors cursorily urged Catholics to reject Trump’s candidacy because he is “manifestly unfit to be president of the United States” and because of “his vulgarity, oafishness, shocking ignorance.”
Many Catholics, myself included, were dismayed that these respected Catholic intellectuals drew upon the sort of language they disapprove of in the candidate Trump. This alone warrants an apology. I wish to assure candidate Trump and his voters that Catholics generally are called upon by Gospel and church law to respect people whose differences we might not understand and to treat all persons with dignity, even people with whom we most strongly disagree or don’t understand…
The dignity of every individual includes good reputation. Catholics are admonished to avoid name-calling, gossip and other harm to a person’s reputation in the community. Canon 220 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law provides:
“No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses or to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.”
These rights inhere in “the exceptional dignity which belongs to the human person.” (Gaudium et spes, 1965). There is no exception to this Catholic precept because an individual says something “vulgar” or behaves awkwardly or selfishly – or because a person supports a candidate who speaks to them in familiar sentiments and language. To the contrary, one’s protection against intentional harm to his or her reputation by others is embedded as a right in their very humanity…
Their piece, however, was not a factual, reasoned analysis supportive of substantive conclusions; rather, their letter was a perfunctory, verbal assault to harm candidate Trump’s reputation. Notably, they also cast shame and intimidation on any Catholic who might consider voting for Trump with assertions that anyone of “genuinely Catholic sensibility” would agree with their attack.
Accusing a public figure (and, by extension, his supporters) of being oafish, vulgar, ignorant and unfit is language reserved for those anxious to express hostility and tarnish the reputation of the targeted individual. This is language which, I daresay, no ordained person would ever use with respect to another person; nor should any Catholic lay person…
Lest fellow Catholics miss their point, the authors urge a rejection not just of Trump but of those people who are supporting him. Such people, George and Weigel insist, are making emotional and prejudicial decisions, without reason or analysis.
I find this seemingly class-based bias most shocking of all. Are we to understand that the NASCAR, blue collar crowd’s objection to the apparent export and loss of their jobs; their objection to illegal immigration – that they believe is forcing down the wages of the jobs they do have, but fueling profits of big business; their objection to Free Trade — that they believe is gutting small town America, while fattening Wall Street; their objection to the exorbitant cost of health care and the phase out of benefits; their objection to the denigration of their sons and daughters who have served in the military, bled, and died … that these objections clearly articulated and addressed by candidate Trump are merely fears, prejudices and emotions? Are we to understand that their support of Trump is therefore without rational basis?
It is hard to fathom a more stinging insult to the dignity of Trump’s voter base. This base undoubtedly includes many practicing Catholics who, in trying to meet basic needs and protect and provide for their families in a climate the working class perceives as hostile, rejoice in finally having some voice in the political process and hope for their future. As Republican Kurt Schlichter recently wrote of the “Donaldites” at Townhall.com:
Immigration and free trade are generally good, but they impose real costs and our base is getting handed the bill. These folks have been asking us for help, and what was our response? Shut up, stupid racists.”
It is embarrassing that prominent Catholic voices have joined this chorus.
Mr. Trump, I do not know for whom I am going to vote. I have not personally determined the extent to which you will promote the Catholic values I cherish, though other Catholics believe our faith is consistent with support of your candidacy.
What I do know is that I am ashamed of the personal attack on you and your base by my fellow Catholics.