For Catholics — and all people of faith — there could be no greater contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Since the very beginning of his campaign, Vice President Biden has rightfully framed this election as a “battle for the soul of our nation.” As a devout and practicing Catholic, Joe has a long record of being his brother and sister’s keeper, advocating for the least amongst us and promoting unity over division. Joe’s faith has been the bedrock of his public service and commitment to ensuring that all Americans are given the opportunity to live out their God-given potential.
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In contrast, Donald Trump has continuously fanned the flames of hatred and bigotry — equating a moral equivalence between Neo-Nazi groups and peaceful protestors (saying “there are very fine people on both sides”), demonizing immigrants (calling them “drug dealers, criminals and rapists”) and failing to condemn white supremacy (telling the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”). While he claims to be a pro-life candidate, Trump has clearly demonstrated a complete and total disregard for human life with his disastrous response to COVID-19.
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I know of many Catholic voters (some of whom are family and friends) who are utterly repulsed by Trump’s behavior and words but continue to support him — and would rather hold their nose while they pull the lever because of a perception that Trump advocates for human life or will help “prevent the spread of socialism.”
The reality is that for Catholics and people of faith, words matter, and more importantly, actions matter. Trump’s consistent downplaying of the virus has directly led to countless lives lost and countless more recklessly endangered by his failed leadership and neglectful example (e.g., not social distancing, not mask wearing). Moreover, Trump exemplifies more of the self-serving authoritarian leaders that so many of our families fled (e.g. vilifying the press, not guaranteeing a peaceful transfer of power, etc.).
Joe Biden is the literal polar opposite of the prideful Trump. He is a caring, compassionate, empathetic man who lives out the teachings of the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25 — feed the hungry, heal the sick and welcome the stranger.
I first got to know Vice President Biden as a young White House staffer almost a decade ago. I witnessed firsthand his great leadership and ability to get things done on numerous policy issues, both foreign and domestic.
But I truly got to know Joe on a personal level, and the extraordinarily compassionate man that he is, when my mom was battling cancer and he helped us through that difficult experience: calling her up to see how she was doing, letting her know he was praying for her, and encouraging her to go on a Catholic pilgrimage with Pope Francis that led her to being blessed by the Holy Father two months to the day before she was reunited with our Creator.
That’s who Joe is, and like what he did for our family, I’ve literally seen him do this for countless others.
Furthermore, the false claim that Joe Biden is a socialist could not be any further from the truth. As he has said countless times, Joe beat the socialist. A majority of Democrat primary voters chose him over more extreme candidates because they felt our country has become too polarized and we need to heal a nation that is yearning to be healed. In addition, Joe has a long and unswerving track record of advocating for human rights and democracy in Cuba, Venezuela and all around the world.
As the son of Cuban exiles, I have dedicated the last 17 years of my life to human rights promotion in Cuba through the nonprofit I cofounded, Roots of Hope, and I’ve born witness to how Joe Biden has met and advocated for human rights leaders from the island.
My parents fled communism, and my family that’s still on the island suffers at the hands of a communist regime. I know communism and socialism when I see it, and Joe Biden is no communist or socialist. I also know a dictator in the making when I see one — that’s Donald Trump.
For those who do not want to vote for Trump because of the moral hazard he represents yet still struggle with voting for Joe Biden because of their views on abortion, Pope Francis has clearly outlined “equally sacred” priorities in his third apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, which include caring for the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned, the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly, amongst others. Through this apostolic lens, Joe Biden is clearly the only candidate that advocates for policies in support of these equally sacred priorities.
Lastly, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI offered pro-life Catholic voters an off-ramp when he was then- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in a letter to US Bishops in 2004, saying:
“When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”
The moral bankruptcy of Donald Trump’s presidency is undoubtedly more than sufficient and proportionate reasons to support Joe Biden.
L. Felice Gorordo is National Co-Chair of Catholics for Biden. Previously, he served in the White House under President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, and as advisor to former Vice President’s Cancer Initiative.