Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lyin' Joe Biden

Lying through his amazingly white teeth.
The Vice Presidential debate occurred only last week, but a week in election season can seem like an eternity. So before the debate fades out of the news cycle, let's address one of Vice President Biden's more starkly incorrect statements from Danville, as it pertains to an issue that will likely outlast even presidential election. Here's how he addressed the Department of Health and Human Services mandate that Catholic organizations and institutions provide coverage of contraceptive services for the employees--a direct violation of Catholic teaching:
"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been leading the Catholic fight against the HHS mandate for months now, disagrees:  
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain "religious employers." That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to "Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital," or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
HHS has proposed an additional "accommodation" for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as "non-exempt." That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation "to pay for contraception" and "to be a vehicle to get contraception." They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.
In short: Joe Biden may not have been lying (I just couldn't resist the rhyme), but he was certainly incorrect. The HHS mandate continues to affect Catholic entities across the country, forcing them either to violate their consciences or violate federal law. Both of the authors of this blog are Catholic, and so this issue hits us quite close to home. In fact, the conversations that inspired this blog were about this very subject.

Interestingly, Joe Biden is also Catholic. Here's another telling quote from last week's debate, via Jonah Goldberg:
“My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. . . . [Catholicism] has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves.”
Biden here opens himself up to a rather significant hypocrisy, as Goldberg further explains:
Biden freely admits that his faith informs his “social doctrine.” And social doctrine is a euphemism for political worldview. It’s just that on abortion, his liberalism is more important.
In using his Catholicism to justify imposing his (personal) liberal policies on others while refusing to treat his "personal" view on abortion similarly, Biden is, sadly, not alone in today's Democratic Party. Indeed, he has had great company, ever since Democrat Mario Cuomo pioneered the "personally opposed" approach in a 1984 speech at Notre Dame.

The "Cuomo doctrine," however, presents another confusion. In yielding to the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, this doctrine glosses over a rather inconvenient reality: the decision itself imposed the permission of abortion on all the states that did not allow abortion at the time, circumventing a democratic process that would otherwise have allowed it in some states and forbade it in others.

But the very idea of any restriction on abortion is unconscionable in today's Democratic Party. Here is the relevant selection from the 2012 DNC platform:
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.
 No longer do Democrats adhere to the Clintonian "safe, legal, and rare" trifecta; no longer, also, do Democrats refrain from using taxpayer money to fund abortions, as implied by "regardless of ability to pay." So to review, the proper modern stance for Democratic Catholics is as follows: 1) Allow your faith to inform your political worldview, as long as this leads to your supporting Democratic policies AND abortion; 2) Accept Roe v. Wade, which forced every state to legalize abortion; and 3) Permit the federal government to coerce American citizens to pay for contraception and abortion (even in a country that now considers itself more pro-life than pro-choice). Considering all that, Dennis Prager's question at National Review becomes all the more pertinent: "Joe Biden’s Religion: Catholicism or Leftism? What comes first for him--for all of us: our religion, or our politics? Through its actions, the Obama Administration has shown which it believes is more important.

What do you believe?

1 comment:

  1. Are you suggesting that he should put his religious beliefs before his job as Vice President? We did not put him in office to serve his church, we put him in office to serve his country. He would be failing to preserve the separation of church and state if he were to throw women's health under the bus because of his religion.