By Jessica Easthope
There’s a lot of power that can come with changing your mind. In this election, with pro-life issues at the forefront, those voting with a Catholic conscience could have more power than ever before. Voters on both sides of the aisle say they’re letting their faith lead the way, but they’re not all going in the same direction.
“What’s happening here is we have a non-Catholic who’s upholding Catholic teaching and a Catholic who is undermining it,” said Chad Pecknold, an Associate Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America.
Perhaps you agree, perhaps you don’t, but Chad is making his voice heard.
“I kind of got slotted into the ‘Never Trumper’ category,” Chad said.
He’s a swing voter. As a pro-life Catholic, Pecknold said he couldn’t he couldn’t and didn’t vote for President Trump in 2016, but this election he says he won’t even consider another candidate.
“It’s my goal to defend the unborn and the President has absolutely delivered on that, not only at the Supreme Court level but hundreds of judges that have been appointed. And I simply did not believe he would deliver those, but he did,” said Pecknold.
And he’s not the only one who thinks so: Brian Burch, the President of Catholic Vote, also changed his mind.
Trump has “a courageous record of pro-life commitment,” he said. “And I think all Catholics should look at that and say for those of us who were skeptical, we could not be happier to have been wrong.”
The pro-life movement has become more energized by President Trump’s record on pro-life issues. But many Catholics believe being pro-life doesn’t mean just being against abortion.
“I am pro-life, pro-social justice, consistent ethic Catholic and neither party and neither candidate match my values,” said John Carr the Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. “In some ways I’m politically homeless, but for me, I could not support President Trump.”
When it comes to voting with faith in mind, John is on the other end of the spectrum.
“Among the major issues for me is protecting the unborn and equality of all God’s children and fanning the flames of racism and demonizing immigrants has just been too much for me, so I can’t support President Trump,” John said.
In recent decades the Catholic vote has been essentially split down the middle, but at the same time Catholics represent a significant part of the population in battleground states like Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania. It’s counties in those states that can decide this election.