GUEST COLUMN: Before you vote, ask yourself: What would Jesus do?

The vast majority of churchgoers in Livingston County are Christians, and 62 percent of those are, like me, Catholics. Christians should always strive to follow the words and teachings of Christ.

Including when they vote.

Here are some comparisons of the values of Christ and those of President Trump:

Rich and Poor

Christ says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (MT25:40).

Trump gave massive tax breaks to rich people and companies, and eroded the safety net for the poor.

Health Care

Jesus describes the Good Samaritan as a role model, and tells us to “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)

President Trump’s actions have led to higher health insurance rates, weakened coverage, and more Americans without health insurance.


Jesus himself became a refugee, seeking asylum when the Holy Family fled to Egypt to escape King Herod. Jesus preaches that salvation depends on how truly Christians welcome the stranger and serve the dispossessed (Matt. 25:35).

Trump says, “Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?” and separates children from their parents who are seeking asylum.

Racism and White Supremacy

Christ was clear that we are all God’s children, “There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

Trump told four minority congresswomen, all American citizens (three born in the US), to “go back” to where they came from.

Respect for All

Christ says, “As I have loved you, so you should love one another. This is how I will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”   (John 13:34-35)

Trump demeans and degrades anyone who disagrees with him, calling them Sleepy Creepy, Slimeball and Pencil Neck.


On many occasions, Jesus and his disciples broke with societal and religious norms with demonstrations of respect for women.

Trump says, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.”

I implore all Christians to look into your hearts, examine your faith and open your eyes to Trump’s true character and his lack of Christian values.

Leo E. Hanifin
Brighton, MI

(Note: For a more robust article with a more complete discussion of these issues, including more examples, quotes, data and sources, email the author at

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Brighton Township resident Dr. Leo E. Hanifin, a member of the M-1 Rail Board of Directors and chairperson of the Livingston County Transportation Coalition, is Dean Emeritus, University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), having served as Dean its College of Engineering and Science for 21 years. He also served as the leader of UDM's Transportation Research Program and the Michigan-Ohio University Transportation Center (a coalition of five universities). He led several major studies of transportation in southeast Michigan and across the country, was co-PI on a study of public opinion in the RTA region, and has hosted advocacy workshops in Detroit and its suburbs. He served on the RTA's Citizens Advisory Committee and teaches Transit as a Critical Element of Community Development in UDM's Masters in Community Development Program.


  1. First, for most Christians, scripture is a primary guide to their lives and the decisions one make . . . including whom we wish to lead us. So, my use of scripture to guide my life in this matter is certainly valid. (Trump seems to think so, too. Remember his photos holding one up recently.)

    Second, all of the quotes in my column are accurate. I would challenge anyone to identify one that is not.

    Third, there are many Catholics, like me, who will vote for Joe Biden. They are making that decision on a wide array of issues, including, but not limited to the right to life (as the Catholic Bishops recommend). On that specific issue, Joe Biden has indicated that he personally believes the teachings of the church on abortion . . . but as a public official, he must follow the law of our nation, which allows abortion. On the other hand, Donald Trump continually diminishes life of people after birth through his words and actions regarding support for the poor, civil rights, immigration, disrespect for all who disagree with him (especially women and minorities), environmental policy, gun violence, . . .

    Four, there are many Catholic Democrats. You can go to to better understand their positions and opinions. Also, I would suggest reading the column, “Distinctly Catholic”, by Michael Sean Winters in the National Catholic Reporter:

    I hope this helps Dan and others understand why many Catholics will vote for Joe Biden, a Catholic candidate who is far more pro-life than Donald Trump.

    Leo Hanifin

  2. This column shows that you are willing to use scripture to advance your politics. I don’t need to remind you that Jesus came to lead us to the kingdom, not establish it on earth, do I? No Catholic can vote for a pro abortion candidate. That would rule out Biden. No Christian should make comments formed on baseless innuendo against a citizen, even if it’s a elected official. Your “quotes” are paraphrases, in context their meaning changes. Tell me why you like or dislike a person but don’t twist scripture or paraphrase if you would like me to take you seriously.

What do you think?

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