Biden’s Counterfeit Catholicism

News: Campaign 2020 Print Friendly and PDF
by George Neumayr  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 15, 2020   

The prospect of an anti-Catholic Catholic presidency

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Journalist George Neumayr's new book, The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?, debunks the myth that Joe Biden is a moderate candidate, detailing how Biden's policies have only become more radical over the years. 

The following excerpt is focused on how Biden's platform stands against the teachings of the Church:

  • Neumayr calls Joe Biden's Catholicism "counterfeit," based in part on Biden's radical stance on abortion, particularly with his reversal on the Hyde Amendment.
  • Perhaps more priests should follow Church law and ban Joe Biden from Communion.
  • Biden's faith and voting record do not align, leaving religious voters at a crossroads when deciding how to vote in November

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The Biden Deception, by George Neumayr

John F. Kennedy was a checkered Catholic, to say the least. But most Catholics didn't know that or didn't care, and they voted enthusiastically for him. The checkered Catholics in today's Democratic Party can't count on the same level of support. While the liberal bishops are still in the tank for them, members of the laity and a few brave priests have wised up to their lies. Ironically, in recent years the non-Catholic Obama won the Catholic vote while heterodox Catholics such as John Kerry lost it. Hillary Clinton added Tim Kaine, who wore his "social justice" Catholicism on his sleeve, to the ticket, and she ended up losing the Catholic vote in crucial states to Trump and Pence, a Catholic turned evangelical.

Now it is Joe Biden who has a serious Catholic problem. On almost every moral issue he stands against the teachings of his Church. On the most important issue, abortion, he has gone completely to the other side. At one time he seemed to support abortion only reluctantly. "I'm prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there's human life and being," Biden told the Jesuit magazine America. "But I'm not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view."

These days Biden brags about his 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and promises feminists that protecting abortion rights will be one of the top priorities of his administration. He is also a loud proponent of embryonic stem cell research, another position in open defiance of Church teaching.

"I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy, because there's joy to it as well, the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well, guess what folks? If you care about it, why don't you support stem cell research?" Biden has said.

His reversal on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion, is Biden's final affront to Catholics. Biden has in effect declared himself to be a bad Catholic and is increasingly treated as such by Church figures. During the 2020 primaries, in an incident foreshadowing many similar ones to come, he was denied the Eucharist at a parish down in South Carolina. Biden had hoped the incident would go unreported. It didn't. The priest, Fr. Robert Morey, went public, saying, "Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former vice president Joe Biden. Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching."


The priest's position is unassailably rooted in Church law, but, naturally, the liberal bishops kneecapped him. New York's Cdl. Timothy Dolan, who has all the sturdiness of a tower of jelly, said that he wouldn't have denied Biden Communion. Biden's own bishop, Wilmington's Francis Malooly, also announced that he would give Biden Communion.

All of this was predictable. Less predictable was Biden's muted response, which is a clear indication that his handlers have told him that these Communion controversies hurt him politically. The hopelessly biased Judy Woodruff of PBS gave Biden an opportunity to play the victim. In answer to a softball question from Woodruff, Biden claimed that "it is a private matter." But Biden being Biden, he couldn't help adding the whopper, "It is not a position I have found anywhere else." That is nonsense; plenty of priests and a few bishops have said that they would deny him Communion. The name-dropping Biden also couldn't stop himself from invoking Pope Francis and noting that he "gives me Communion." (Biden was friendly with one prelate whom he doesn't mention anymore, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the rapist who has been laicized. McCarrick was a concelebrant at the funeral of Biden's son Beau.)

Hiding behind an obnoxious left-wing pope won't help Biden any more than it helped Hillary and Kaine, who tried to drive that same wedge between Trump and Catholic voters.

Biden and the pope appear to share a socialist interpretation of Catholicism: "I was raised in a tradition called Catholic social doctrine. It is — that is —legitimate to look out for yourself, but never at the expense of someone else. It is legitimate to do well, but never at the expense of not looking at what is behind you. We need to create a culture which, as Pope Francis reminds us, cannot just be based on the worship of money. We cannot accept a nation in which billionaires compete as to the size of their super-yachts ... ."

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Faux-Catholic Tim Kaine (NBC News)

Such claims won't solve his Catholic problem. For one thing, invoking Pope Francis plays poorly in American politics, as the opponents of Donald Trump found out in 2016. Trump's poll numbers didn't fall but rose after the pope slammed his immigration position. Hiding behind an obnoxious left-wing pope won't help Biden any more than it helped Hillary and Kaine, who tried to drive that same wedge between Trump and Catholic voters. Kaine's faux-Catholic schtick — he regularly went on and on about his Jesuit Volunteer Corps work in Latin America with communists — went over like a lead balloon.

The Catholics who bother to go to Mass regularly anymore are loath to vote for a candidate who supports abortion in all its grisly stages and presides over gay weddings (as Biden has done since pushing Barack Obama to support gay marriage in 2012). These positions pose an insuperable impediment to picking up Catholic votes. Notice that Biden recites his I-grew-up-Catholic-in-Scranton lines less and less. His strategists have probably concluded that that routine will only remind people of his checkered Catholicism in the general election. His "private" Catholic stances grow fainter and fainter and can't even be found in a penumbra.

There was a time when the Mario Cuomos used to say that they were "personally opposed" to abortion. These days that rhetoric would ruin Catholic Democrats in the primaries. They can't even say that they want abortion safe, legal and rare — Bill Clinton's trope. Rank-and-file Dems would call them cowards for using that language. The base wants abortion safe or unsafe, legal to the hilt and as common as aspirin.

Even if Biden tacks to the middle in the general election, he is marked by a stain of pro-abortion extremism that can't be expunged. We can only hope more priests follow Church law and ban him from Communion, thus reminding Americans across the country that his self-described, nostalgia-ridden Catholicism is a crock.

Biden's Pitch to Left-Wing Catholics

Nevertheless, Biden is competing for the Catholic vote in his own way. His campaign website lays out "Joe Biden's Agenda for the Catholic Community." But this pitch for the Catholic vote contains no distinctively Catholic issues. It is simply a reiteration of his leftist agenda:

Vice President Joe Biden believes that in America, no matter where you start in life, everyone should be able to live up to their God-given potential. He knows that we need to rebuild the middle class, and this time make sure everybody comes along — regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Build an economy where everyone comes along and we protect the "least of these": Joe is running for president to rebuild the backbone of America — the middle class — and this time to make sure everyone comes along. Joe knows that the middle class isn't a number — it's a set of values. Owning your home. Sending your kids to college. Being able to save and get ahead. Across the country, for too many families that's out of reach. The next president needs to understand what the current one doesn't: In America, no matter where you start in life, there should be no limit to what you can achieve. Toward this end, Joe will increase the federal minimum wage to $15. He will triple Title I funding to eliminate the funding gap between high- and low-income school districts as well as invest in community colleges and training to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous and more inclusive middle class. He will pay for these investments in working Americans by making sure the super-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. His first step will be reversing President Trump's tax cuts for the super-wealthy and corporations. Joe will also eliminate special tax breaks that reward special interests and get rid of the capital gains loophole for multimillionaires.

Respect the dignity of work and give workers back the power to earn what they're worth: The American middle class built this country. Yet today, CEOs and Wall Street are putting profits over workers, plain and simple. It's wrong. There used to be a basic bargain in this country that when you work hard, you were able to share in the prosperity your work helped create. It's time to restore the dignity of work and give workers back the power to earn what they're worth. Joe will start by strengthening unions and helping workers bargain successfully for what they deserve. His plan will check the abuse of corporate power over labor and hold corporate executives personally accountable for violations of labor laws. He will also encourage and incentivize unionization and collective bargaining. And importantly, he will ensure that workers are treated with dignity and receive the pay, benefits and workplace protections they deserve. That means standing up against wage suppression through non-compete clauses and stopping companies from classifying low-wage workers as managers in order to avoid paying them the overtime they've earned. Finally, working- and middle-class Americans deserve to retire with dignity, so Joe will put Social Security on a path to long-run solvency, protect widows and widowers from steep Social Security benefit cuts, provide a higher Social Security benefit for the oldest Americans, and protect and strengthen Medicare and ensure its beneficiaries can access home and community long-term care when they want it.

Ensure that affordable, quality health care is a right for all Americans: Joe knows there's no peace of mind if you cannot afford to care for a sick child or family member because of a pre-existing condition, because you've reached a cap on your health insurance coverage or because you have to make a decision between putting food on the table or going to the doctor. He will expand coverage and lower health care costs by protecting and building upon Obamacare. This includes giving Americans a public health insurance option, increasing the value of tax credits to lower premiums, and expanding coverage to low-income Americans. He will also put a stop to runaway drug prices and the profiteering of the drug industry.

Pursue a humane immigration policy that keeps families together, strengthens our economy, and secures our border: As vice president, Joe backed comprehensive immigration reform, and the Obama-Biden Administration took historic steps to create the DACA program so DREAMers could pursue their lives free from fear of deportation. Joe also led the administration's work with Central America — securing $750 million to boost prosperity and security in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, easing the root causes of migration. As president, Joe will prioritize a comprehensive immigration reform to finally give 11 million undocumented immigrants a roadmap to citizenship. He'll invest in smart technology at our ports of entry and streamline the asylum system, hiring more immigration judges. He'll ensure those seeking refuge in the United States are treated with dignity and get the fair hearing they're legally entitled to. Moreover, a Biden Administration will extend Temporary Protected Status [TPS] to Venezuelans seeking relief from humanitarian crisis, and will immediately review and overturn every TPS decision made by the Trump Administration that does not appropriately consider the facts on the ground.

Serve as stewards of our creation and protect our planet against climate change: In his encyclical Laudato Sí, Pope Francis directed the global community to raise awareness about the growing climate change crisis. Climate change threatens communities across the country, from beachfront coastal towns to rural farms in the heartland. Joe's plan will tackle climate change and pollution to protect our communities. He will ensure that communities harmed by climate change and pollution, particularly communities of color and low-income communities, are the first to benefit from his clean economy revolution. He will push the United States to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050. Joe's plan will create 10 million good-paying jobs in the United States, hold polluters accountable and push other countries to go further on their climate action commitments. He will work to ensure that every American has access to clean drinking water, clean air and an environment free from pollutants. And, every dollar spent towards rebuilding infrastructure will be used to prevent, reduce and withstand a changing climate.

None of this constitutes authentic outreach to Catholics. It constitutes outreach to left-wingers who happen to be Catholic. It is essentially an appeal to bad Catholics.

Mass-going Catholics should expect nothing from Biden. Actually, worse than nothing. They should expect Biden to persecute them in the same way that Obama did. Recall Obama's lawsuit against the Little Sisters of the Poor. The "Catholic" Biden will renew such suits should he win the presidency. The "Catholic" Biden would preside over the grimmest of ironies: an anti-Catholic Catholic presidency. 

George Neumayr is the author of The Political Pope and co-author of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom. He has served as executive editor of the American Spectator and Catholic World Report, op-ed editor for Investor's Business Daily and media fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. Neumayr has written on politics and religion for the Washington Times, The Daily Caller, National Review Online, Human Events, the Washington Examiner, The Hill and The Guardian. His most recent book is The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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