CNA Staff, Nov 2, 2020 / 10:30 am (CNA).- Joe Biden has released a video insisting that his personal politics remain in line with Catholic social teaching. In the video, released on the eve of the general election, Biden asserts that he has the “great advantage” of his religious and political beliefs aligning, despite his support for state-funded abortion and his opposition to several legal protections for religious freedom.
“Look, I have the great advantage of my faith, the Catholic social doctrine, and my political views coincide,” said Biden in the video, which was tweeted from his official account Monday morning.
“It’s about, you are your brother’s keeper,” he continued. “It really does matter what other people are going through. I was raised to make sure you look out for the other guy.”
Biden added that he believed the “basic fundamental American values” of “honesty, decency, treating other people with respect” along with treating people equally, were reinforced by his Catholic faith.
If elected, Biden would be the second baptized Catholic to serve as president of the United States.
Biden has frequently referenced his Catholic faith during his political career, and placed his Catholicism at the center of several campaign ads during the 2019-2020 presidential election cycle. Critics of the former vice president have noted that Biden’s candidacy and platform include several positions directly at odds with Church teaching and Catholic institutions.
The Democratic Party platform endorses a right to taxpayer-funded abortion throughout the duration of a pregnancy, and specifically calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of taxpayer funds for elective abortions. Biden supported the Hyde Amendment throughout the majority of his political career before reversing his position.
Last year, under pressure from other Democratic candidates running in the primary, Biden announced that he had changed his view on the Hyde Amendment. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Biden’s running mate, took credit for forcing his changed position on this issue.
Biden has stated that, if elected, he would sign the “Equality Act” into law in the first 100 days of his presidency. The “Equality Act” would add anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to existing protections for race, color, national origin, sex, disability and religion.
It would apply not just to employment, but other areas like housing, jury duty, credit, and education, as well as at retail stores, emergency shelters, banks, transit and pharmacies, among others. It would also specify facility access for self-identified transgender persons, such as access to male and female bathrooms.
Critics have argued that the bill’s concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity are too broad and would penalize the appropriate recognition of difference between the sexes or differences between married heterosexual couples and other couples.
Representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had opposed the measure in a March 20, 2019 letter. They said that while they support efforts to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect, the legislation would fail to advance those goals and would instead harm society.
“The Act’s definitions alone would remove women and girls from protected legal existence,” they said. “Furthermore, the Act also fails to recognize the difference between the person – who has dignity and is entitled to recognition of it – and the actions of a person, which have ethical and social ramifications. Conflating the two will introduce a plethora of further legal complications.”
The bishops also warned that the Equality Act would harm free speech, conscience, and exercise of religion. It would require that homeless shelters place biological men with vulnerable women and adoption agencies place children with same-sex couples, even if this violates their beliefs and the birth mother’s wishes. It could threaten professionals in the wedding industry who will serve all customers but cannot express messages to which they object. And it would require health professionals to provide “gender transition” treatments and surgeries in violation of their medical and ethical judgments, they said.
The Equality Act would also exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a move that the bishops noted is “unprecedented.”
Biden has said repeatedly that he would repeal religious freedom exemptions to the so-called contraceptive mandate, which had granted relief to Catholic organizations, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, who were compelled under the order to provide contraceptive and abortifacient drugs for their employees.
Earlier this year, Biden called a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the sisters’ protections “disappointing” and promised to revoke their exemption once elected.
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