Catholic Sister Explains: Judge Amy Coney Barrett Could Hurt Latinos

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By Araceli Cruz

September 29, 2020

“Pope Francis is teaching us, as is our tradition, that it’s more complicated than a single issue, and we have to be multi-issue voters,” Sister Simone Campbell said.

President Donald Trump wants Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. Latino Catholics might see her nomination as a positive thing because she is a Catholic herself, however, her publicized views on healthcare and immigration could have a severe and negative impact on Latinos. 

In an interview with The Americano, Sister Simone Campbell, a lawyer and the executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice organization, said Latinos should not misinterpret Barrett’s Catholicism as an advocate of their faith. 

“She is really not at all about Catholic social teaching, which is caring for the marginalized, caring for the poor, or helping the planet,” Sister Campbell said. “[Barrett] thinks the government doesn’t have anything to do with that. For me, she is too far outside of caring for the common good. She thinks everybody should just go it alone, and I don’t think that’s right. It’s not right in keeping with our faith.”

RELATED: Dozens of Latino Christian and Catholic Leaders Announce Support for Joe Biden

Latinos, Christianity and the Presidential Candidates  

To understand religious Latinos is to understand their faith. In the US, 77% of Latinos are Christian, 48% are Catholic, according to Pew Research

While the Christian faith could be perceived as a unifying factor among Latinos, there’s a clear divide when it comes to politics. A report shows that most white evangelical Christians support President Donald Trump. However, according to Pew, 74% of Latino Catholics do not support Trump. Furthermore, 65% of Latino Catholics surveyed said they support Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, with 23% of those saying that they “strongly” support the Biden campaign. 

Despite Trump proclaiming to be a Christian, a new article in The Atlantic reportedly has the president referring to Christians as “hustlers” and has called Christianity a “scam.” 

Like, Barrett, Biden is also a Catholic but he voiced his disagreement over her impending appointment. Biden said Trump’s primary objective for having Barrett on the Supreme Court is so she can overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Catholicism Is Not About Voting on One Issue 

Sister Campbell said being a faithful Catholic is not about voting on one issue alone, such as abortion rights. She cites Pope Francis, who teaches that the measure of a Catholic is much more diverse.

“Pope Francis is teaching us, as is our tradition, that it’s more complicated than a single issue, and we have to be multi-issue voters,” Sister Campbell said. “We must have compassion for everyone. It is really hard and it’s really frustrating. But our faith is not simple. Our faith is complex. So you have to engage the complexity of today’s world and bring the gospel to that.”

RELATED: Bishop Who Oversees St. John’s Church: Trump Trampled On The Bible With Teargas Photo Op

Sister Campbell added that if people are voting on one issue, they are ultimately not following Biblical tradition that says everyone is sacred. 

“Pope Francis says in his exhortation on Holiness that it is important to care for the unborn,” Sister Campbell said. “Equally sacred, however, he says it is the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned, and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm, and the elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.”

The Misconception of Overturning Roe v. Wade.

The historic 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, passed by the Supreme Court, made abortion a constitutional right. Some speculate that Barrett will overturn Roe v. Wade because her addition would mean there are more conservative judges on the Supreme Court. However, overturning Roe v. Wade does not mean abortion would be banned. States would now have the power to determine if abortion would be legal or not

“I think too many people think this overturning Roe v. Wade will settle the whole issue, and it won’t, it just opens up another can of worms for the next fifty years,” Sister Campbell said. “What I’m about is caring for pregnant women and making sure that they have health care and enough financial support so they don’t feel trapped into making a bad decision. But I think we need to educate people on what Roe v. Wade is actually about because it’s not the perfect dream thing to end abortion.”

Judge Barrett Is Against Healthcare for All 

Among all racial groups, the main issue that concerns voters is the economy. For Latinos, the second-most important issue in the election is healthcare. A survey shows 76% of Latinos consider healthcare a priority in the election, while abortion, at 47%, is the least important issue. One in four Latinos have no health insurance, a new report shows, and several studies show that COVID-19 has disproportionately affect Latinos more than other groups.

RELATED: Hispanic and Black Children More Likely to Be Hospitalized With “Severe” COVID-19 Symptoms

Critics of Barrett note a 2017 essay she wrote concerning the ACA, a 2012 Obama-era legislation that was passed by the Supreme Court, in which she spoke out against it

“She has made clear in her writing and speaking that she does not believe that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and that it should be removed,” Sister Campbell said. 

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about the ACA on Nov. 10

Judge Barrett Has Harsh Immigration Views

Another way having Barrett on the Supreme Court could hurt Latinos is by her views on immigration. Barrett was in dissent in June when her two colleagues on a 7th circuit panel put on hold, just in Chicago, the Trump administration policy that could jeopardize permanent resident status for immigrants who use food stamps, Medicaid, and housing vouchers.

Under the new policy, immigration officials can deny green cards to legal immigrants over their use of public benefits.

“For example, if you get Medicaid for yourself or your kids, then that would be considered a ban on conversion of your status to citizenship,” Sister Campbell explained. 

Ultimately, Campbell said, Christian Latinos will have to look inward when voting this year because “their vote is critically important for the future of our nation.”

She added, “I urge them to be thoughtful. Their vote is our faith in action, that’s what we have to do.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


CATEGORIES: Elections | Latinos | Religion


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