Mary Rice Hasson, a fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, said that Biden's words may have evinced a "'feel-good' moment," but his first actions as president are saying otherwise.
She pointed to Biden's announced executive order clarifying that workplace protections against sex discrimination be interpreted to include prohibitions of discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."
The text of the order "is based on a lie," Hasson said, "that 'gender identity' enables a male person to 'be' a woman. So much for truth."
She added that the order "puts the power of the federal government behind the lie, forcing religious believers-including his [Biden's] own Church-to bend the knee to the transgender lie or be tagged as bigots and denied participation in federal programs, grants, and benefits."
However, Fr. James Martin, S.J., editor-at-large of America magazine who offered a prayer at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, told CNA that Biden "today invited our country into a time of unity and healing, which is what is needed in these divisive and demonizing times."
He noted Biden's specific references to faith "to remind us that God will help us in our efforts."
Elsewhere in his address, Biden stressed the need to "set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation." He cited Psalm 30, reminding those that "weep, ye may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
"We will get through this together. Together," he said. Biden paused for a moment of silent prayer for those who had died in the pandemic.
Coming together, said Biden, will help to heal "a broken land."