Loading
Bishops say Biden made 'inaccurate' mandate statement
Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan participate in the Oct. 11, 2012 debate as moderator Martha Raddatz looks on. Credit: Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan participate in the Oct. 11, 2012 debate as moderator Martha Raddatz looks on. Credit: Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The U.S. bishops criticized Vice President Joe Biden for an “inaccurate statement of fact” about the HHS mandate’s impact on religious institutions during last night’s vice presidential debate.

"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear,” said Biden during the Oct. 11 debate in Danville, Ky.

“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,” he argued. “That is a fact.”

“This is not a fact,” responded the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in an Oct. 12 statement.

The bishops’ conference criticized Biden’s remarks on the federal contraception mandate, calling them “inaccurate.”

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan responded by saying, “Now I have to take issue with the Catholic Church and religious liberty. If they agree with you, then why would they (dioceses and other Catholic institutions) keep suing you? It’s a distinction without a difference.”

Issued under the authority of the Affordable Care Act, the controversial mandate requires employers to offer health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

In recent months, more than 100 plaintiffs – including both Catholic and non-Catholic universities, charitable organizations and private businesses – have filed lawsuits challenging the mandate, arguing that it infringes upon their constitutional right to free exercise of religion.

Ryan raised the issue of the mandate during the debate while answering a question about the Catholic faith shared by both contenders. Ryan said that the mandate “troubles” him because it threatens religious freedom.

In responding to Biden’s claims, the bishops’ conference emphasized that the mandate includes only a narrow exemption for religious employers. The exemption applies only to non-profit organizations that exist primarily for the inculcation of religious values and both employ and serve primarily members of their own faith.

Therefore, the conference said, any religious charities, hospitals and social agencies that serve all people of any faith – including Georgetown Hospital and the other organizations named by Biden – are not covered by the exemption, which was finalized in February 2012.

The bishops’ conference also underscored that while the administration has proposed an additional “accommodation” for these non-exempt religious organizations, the proposal “does not even potentially relieve these organizations.”

The accommodation, which is still in its preliminary stages, offers a series of suggestions to relieve non-religious organizations from funding the controversial coverage if they object to it, while still including the coverage as part of the plans.

However, critics say the suggestions all amount to an accounting gimmick, because they would still require the objecting organizations to pay for the coverage indirectly, through necessarily increased premiums.

The bishops’ conference argued that under the proposed schemes religious organizations “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,” it added.
 
The bishops’ conference said that it continues to ask the Obama administration “in the strongest possible terms” to take action that truly removes “the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.”

Tags: Contraception mandate, Religious freedom, Obama Administration

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
28

Liturgical Calendar

November 28, 2014

Friday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 21:29-33

Gospel
Date
11/28/14
11/27/14
11/25/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 20: 1-4, 11-21:2
Gospel:: Lk 21: 29-33

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/28/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 21:29-33

Homily
Date
11/28/14
11/27/14
11/25/14