Religious, lay leaders react to Trump win in presidential election

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Lay and religious leaders of all stripes reacted to news of Donald J. Trump’s upset win in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Most expressed hope that Trump would pay attention to their agenda, while others were more decidedly downbeat and still others counseled prayer.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, outlined an ambitious agenda in a Nov. 9 post-election statement that congratulated Trump and all election victors.

"The bishops’ conference looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning to its natural end. We will advocate for policies that offer opportunity to all people, of all faiths, in all walks of life," Archbishop Kurtz said.

"We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security. We will call attention to the violent persecution threatening our fellow Christians and people of other faiths around the world, especially in the Middle East. And we will look for the new administration’s commitment to domestic religious liberty, ensuring people of faith remain free to proclaim and shape our lives around the truth about man and woman, and the unique bond of marriage that they can form."

After Trump clinched the Electoral College majority early Nov. 9, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston tweeted, "Congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump. May God grant you good health, wisdom and courage during your presidency." 

"We are delighted that tonight’s election results reflect America’s pro-life consensus in the House, Senate and presidency. We applaud candidates that took a stand on the most critical human rights issue of today, abortion," said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life.

Philippe Nassif, executive director of In Defense of Christians, urged Trump to "prioritize the protection of the ancient ethnic and religious minority communities of the Middle East, and a region in which these communities can coexist and thrive peacefully in their native lands" in a Nov. 9 statement.

"We must continue the fight to reconcile (the Rev.) Billy Graham’s message of righteousness with (the Rev.) Dr. Martin Luther King’s march for justice," said a Nov. 9 statement by the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"Now that the presidential election is finally behind us, our nation must put partisan politics and divisive rhetoric behind us as well. Instead of the agenda of the donkey or the elephant, Christians must be about the Lamb’s agenda," Rev. Rodriguez added.

"We are committed to dialoguing with those who think differently and will attempt to engage President-elect Trump," said a Nov. 9 statement by Scott Reed, executive director of the PICO National Network, which was founded by a California priest. "But President-Elect Trump should be forewarned that our faith will not allow us to permit him to fulfill his promise to criminalize immigrants by conducting mass deportations, or sit idly in the face of racial profiling of African-Americans, Latinos and religious minorities."

"I’m struggling to find the words to process the fact that a bully who vowed to ban Muslims from our country, boasts about sexual assault, demonizes immigrants and called Pope Francis ‘disgraceful’ was elected," said a Nov. 9 statement by John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life.

"As a Christian and a father of young children, I’m anguished. But as a Christian, I’m also committed to walking the hard road of faith and hope," Gehring added. "I don’t understand Catholics who supported Trump, but there is too much at stake not to work for common ground and the common good."

"Today is indeed a dark day in American history. A man who built the foundation of his campaign for the White House on some of the most disturbing elements of our nation — racism, xenophobia, sexism — is now set to become the most powerful leader in the world," said a Nov. 9 fundraising email by Laura Barrett, the new executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice.

"Donald Trump made many promises to pro-lifers over the course of his campaign, and the pro-life generation will make sure he keeps those promises as president," said a Nov. 9 statement from Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

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