Biden touts ‘inspiration’ of Catholic faith, despite abortion and religious freedom positions

shutterstock 1362500375 1 1 Joe Biden at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. | mark reinstein/Shutterstock

Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden said this week that his Catholic faith motivates his political career and underpins his plan for governing, but did not mention his support for abortion, his plan to end religious freedom protections for nuns, or his support for expansive new transgender laws, all of which have drawn criticism from U.S. bishops. 

Writing in The Christian Post Thursday, an essay from Biden, "The greatest commandment has guided my politics," discussed the former vice president's coping with family bereavement, his concept of public service, and his plans for serving as president. 

"These abiding principles – loving God and loving others – are at the very foundation of my faith," said Biden. He wrote that throughout his 47 years in politics, "these values have kept me grounded in what matters most," and are "the cornerstone upon which our family is built."

Biden has made his Catholic faith a part of his campaign messaging in recent weeks, as the candidate tries to reach Catholic voters in swing states, whose votes could be crucial for either candidate in close states. 

Biden wrote Thursday that his "Catholic faith drilled into me a core truth – that every person on earth is equal in rights and dignity, because we are all beloved children of God." 

"We are all created 'imago Dei' – beautifully, uniquely, in the image of God, with inherent worth," said Biden.  

While he wrote that all people are created in the image of God, Biden did not discuss how this statement of belief relates to his support for abortion up to the point of birth, and for increased federal funding for abortion, both explicit platform commitments of his campaign.

The U.S. bishops have said that ending legal protection for abortion is the "preeminent priority" in politics because of the gravity of abortion. Pope Francis has argued that legal protection for the unborn is a necessary predicate to a just society, compared abortion doctors to hitmen, and the practice of abortion to Nazi-style eugenics.

The former vice president said that "as a country, we are facing numerous crises, including threats to the very idea of imago Dei," and calling the election part of "a battle for the soul of the nation." 

Biden added that he has been influenced by "faith leaders, organizations, and communities devoted to being our brother's and sister's keepers and working to ensure opportunity for all" throughout his career. 

"People of faith have been at the forefront of many of our country's most important achievements for justice, equality, and peace," he said. He added that he is "committed to partnering with congregations, faith-based organizations, and faith leaders," to help them assist their communities.

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. 

On the same day the article in the Christian Post was published, Biden also reiterated his support for the Equality Act, which would create broad anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and "gender identity." 

In March, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that "the Act's definitions alone would remove women and girls from protected legal existence." 

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. 

The act would also require health professionals to provide "gender transition" treatments and surgeries in violation of their medical and ethical judgments, the bishops said.

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As part of the legislation, the Equality Act would exempt itself and its enforcement from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a move that the bishops called "unprecedented."

Biden has promised to see the Equality Act passed in the first 100 days of his administration.

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