DENVER, October 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has told Catholic leaders he will remain pro-life, “protect the rights of Catholics to live their faith,” and promote homeschooling in two letters released this week.
Since Mr. Trump could not attend the 18th Annual Catholic Leadership Conference in Denver this Tuesday through Thursday, he expressed his views on issues important to them in a letter dated October 5.
He praised U.S. Catholics both for “marching in the civil rights movement” and their leading role in “founding and helping the ongoing growth of the pro-life cause.”
“On issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics, the differences between myself and Hillary Clinton are stark,” he wrote in the letter, obtained by the Catholic News Agency.
“Hillary Clinton has been hostile to the core issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics: life, religious liberty, Supreme Court nominations, affordable and quality healthcare, educational choice and home schooling,” he wrote.
But he highlighted the trouble the HHS mandate poses to faithful business owners and religious orders that do not spend every waking moment cloistered in contemplation.
“Hillary Clinton supports forcing The Little Sisters of the Poor who have taken care of the elderly poor since 1839, [to] pay for contraceptives in their healthcare plan (even though they have never wanted them, never used them and never will), and having the government fine them heavily if they continue to refuse to abide by this onerous mandate,” he wrote. “That is a hostility to religious liberty you will never see in a Trump administration.”
Secretary Clinton’s efforts to stymie Catholics who would live out their faith in the public square is compounded by her choice of running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, a self-professed “devout” Catholic who favors partial birth abortion, Trump continued.
Mr. Trump’s letter also noted that “Kaine no longer supported traditional marriage.” Pollsters credit Kaine’s 70-plus interruptions of Mike Pence during Monday’s vice presidential debate with halting his ticket’s recent momentum in the polls.
Trump then pivoted to his presidential platform.
“On life, I am, and will remain, pro-life,” he promised. He had previously pledged to sign the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, make the Hyde amendment permanent, and to defund Planned Parenthood if it continues to perform abortions.
He reiterated his promise to appoint only pro-life judges to the court. “I will appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench, like Justice Clarence Thomas and the late and beloved great Catholic thinker and jurist, Justice Antonin Scalia,” he wrote.
“I will defend your religious liberties and the right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, business owners and academic institutions,” he continued. The reference could be interpreted not just as opposition to the HHS mandate but also the Obama administration’s executive branch efforts to grant new privileges to homosexuals and transgender people through a unilateral reinterpretation of civil rights law.
He also highlighted his support for educational policy reform, vowing “to expand educational choice, the rights of homeschooling families, and end Common Core.”
The letter – sent to a conference featuring such Catholic leaders as Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, and EWTN radio and TV host Teresa Tomeo – follows another letter Mr. Trump sent to Catholic Vote on October 1. The letter responded to Catholic Vote’s query on the subject of religious liberty.
“As president, I promise that I will protect the rights of Catholics to live their faith, to serve their communities, and to act on their beliefs without fear,” he wrote in the October 1 letter.
That approach, he said, is “just common sense. And I don’t care if people call it politically incorrect.”
Mr. Trump will debate Secretary Clinton for the second time on Sunday evening. The townhall format allows readers to submit a question for consideration online before the event begins.
The October 5 letter reads in full at www.lifesitenews.com/news/trump-to-catholic-leaders-i-am-and-will-remain-pro-life