USCCB official says Biden-Harris ticket good for ‘people on the margins’

Denver Newsroom, Aug 13, 2020 / 02:43 pm (CNA).-

An official at the U.S. bishops’ conference said Thursday that the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s presidential running mate is good news that will offer policies favorable to marginalized people.

“I was so elated. We, the community, need good news, and this was just wonderful,” Donna Toliver Grimes, associate director of African American affairs in the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, told Catholic News Service, the official news service of the U.S. bishops’ conference, on Thursday.

Grimes told CNS that Harris “wasn’t my top candidate in the primaries, and she wasn’t my top pick for vice president,” adding “she’s really deserving and brings a lot to the table.”

Mentioning her belief that Biden and Harris will offer “policy that is favorable to people on the margins,” Grimes said she expects Biden “would put good people in his Cabinet, who would not damage the agencies, or ignore the mission.”

Grimes, who was identified in the report by her USCCB position, also mentioned to CNS her hope that, if elected, Biden would address health care reform and voting-rights issues.

A spokesperson for the U.S. bishops’ conference told CNA Aug. 13 that “The Conference is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that does not endorse or oppose specific candidates for office. Comments by individual Conference employees are not necessarily a reflection of the Conference’s official position.”

Grimes did not mention the issues on which Biden and Harris have clashed with U.S. bishops, among them conscience protections in healthcare policy, same-sex marriage, and, most frequently, abortion. Biden and Harris have pledged to restore currently restricted federal funding for abortion. Harris has previously pledged to use federal law to restrict state laws regulating or limiting abortion.

Pope Francis has called abortion “inhuman eugenics,” urged its eradication, and said that the unborn are among those marginalized on the “existential peripheries,” for whom the Church must have special care.

Nor did Grimes mention Harris’ 2018 questioning of a judicial nominee over his membership of the Knights of Columbus. In questions about the impartiality of nominee Brian Buescher, Harris asked if Buescher was aware that the Knights of Columbus “opposed a woman’s right to choose” and were against “marriage equality” when he joined.

The senator’s remarks were subsequently criticized as anti-Catholic and one U.S. bishop, Archbishop Charles Chaput, characterized them as “bigoted.”

Both Biden and President Donald Trump have been criticized by the U.S. bishops’ conference, with Trump frequently facing criticism for his immigration policies, use of the federal death penalty, and cuts to social safety nets.

Last year, USCCB spokeswoman Judy Keane left the bishops’ conference after media reports said that she had tweeted in support of President Trump or in opposition to Democrats.

Among Keane’s tweets was one that criticized Harris. Responding to a news story saying that Harris, then running for president, promised to raise teacher salaries, Keane wrote “She’ll be promising all kinds of things to get elected. Then she’ll raise taxes so hard-working Americans have to pay for it all. No thanks.”

After Keane’s tweets first emerged into the spotlight, the spokeswoman was placed on leave, and shortly thereafter left the bishops’ conference. The conference has not said whether she was fired or left voluntarily.

USCCB communications director James Rogers told the Washington Post at the time that “The bishops, not staff, set the conference’s federal policy positions.”

“We should be mindful not to create confusion as to where the bishops might be on any particular federal policy issue. The conference is nonpartisan and does not endorse political candidates. We take this very seriously.”

CNA asked the conference to provide its employee guidelines on political speech, but the conference has not yet done so.


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14 Comments

  1. Evidently some officials at the USCCB have never received or accepted the grace of understanding regarding Jesus at John 17:21 or Paul’s Letter to Galatians 3:28 which expounds. Only a worldly USCCB would seek diversity. The world has gone mad, with us pew-sitters paying the USCCB to pay some of their officials to follow. As for me and my kin, we shall not.

    • This is the problem with the UCCB. They don’t support the Catholic Faith. How can a Catholic vote for a ticket that will kill the innocent through their policies? Silence anyone with that view by not considering then for Government positions? How can a Catholic ever be fre to hold beliefs opposed by the leadership of the Democratic Party? Where are how Shepard’s the Bishops during these tones of riots; destruction of Churches, destroying Catholic Statues? Silence.

      • I agree with you. I am deeply disturbed by this. Our leadership seems to confuse their true role of saving souls with social political agendas. I am heartbroken that our bishops are failing us.

  2. People on the margins? You mean like unborn babies?

    I don’t know if this woman is incurably stupid, viciously evil, or both.

  3. Thank you Leslie. The child in the womb has no voice. Their existence is marginalized by the special interests who fund Biden and Harris.

  4. Is she on drugs. Who among us are more marginalised than the life threatened pre born. If she is in fact a spokesperson for the American bishops, then God help the American Catholic Church if Biden/ Harris win the next election.

  5. In other news, employees at the USCCB throw their support behind Jezebel, tell Elijah to tone down his hateful rhetoric accusing him of sowing division, and encourage respectful dialogue and ecumenism with worshipers of Baal. Welcome to upside down world, how’s your stay?

  6. Time for most of the Bishops that will not protect and speak up for the innocent unborn babies and innocent children used in sex trafficking to enter a monastery and repent. As for the rest of the Catholics, vote for Trump/Pence 2020 November 3.

  7. Time for most of the Bishops that will not protect and speak up for the innocent unborn babies and innocent children used in sex trafficking to enter a monastery and repent.

  8. Good thing the Catholic Church is Christ’s church and not the Usccb. If it were I would be long gone. The USCCB really believes that the Dems are going to continue to dole out the fund to keep them going – all the while they turn their backs on we in the pew. It just keeps getting better.

    Cotton

  9. Few things undermine faith as effectively as the USCCB and its staff. This is a political and ideological institution in active rebellion against the Church and speaking with a studied, persevering ambiguity. Grimes is “elated” about the “good news” of Biden’s choice of VP, which is as obviously partisan as it is wearyingly uninformed.

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