Today thousands upon thousands of people attended the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., to be a voice for the unborn. I was not at the march, but I was cheering on my friends in attendance. I am passionately and unapologetically pro-life, which is why I am devastated by the decision of the March for Life organizers to allow the movement to be diminished by featuring President Donald J. Trump. My sorrow has nothing to do with a dislike for the man and everything to do with my belief that his involvement will damage a deeply important movement.
In response to criticism regarding the inclusion of President Trump, some have argued, “Don’t let Trump’s involvement dominate this event.” In other words, “Let’s just not talk about it.” Unfortunately, the scandal of Mr. Trump’s involvement was unavoidable the minute organizers invited him to give an address. Ignoring how problematic this invitation was will not make its unfortunate consequences disappear.
Why is it unacceptable for this sitting U.S. president to speak at the march? It is not that Mr. Trump has character flaws and should therefore be excluded from supporting a good cause. Regardless of his alleged extramarital relationships with porn stars, his mocking of people with disabilities, his historically pro-choice stance, his defense of Planned Parenthood during the presidential debates (surely, I do not need to go on), as Catholics we believe no one is undeserving of redemption. We can and should laud good legislation that protects the vulnerable without having to give a stamp of approval to the character of the politicians supporting it. And if we required perfection from everyone who marched today, we would have an empty event.
The primary problem is not with Mr. Trump’s past sins, it is that the policies he currently supports are inconsistent with his claim in his address today that “every life is sacred.” And where do we begin? His inhumane deportation policies? His seeming belief that the value of lives from prosperous countries are worth more than those from poor—or as he allegedly put it, “shithole”—countries? His threats to end thousands of lives with nuclear war? Legislation that benefits the wealthy while treating the poor with disdain? I’ll let you choose; the list is a mile long. By making Donald Trump a figurehead for this movement, organizers of the March for Life offer not a consistent and beautiful ethic of life, but a farce, a brazen hypocrisy.
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