If you were upset with Vice President Joe Biden’s defense of the Obama administration’s HHS mandate, hold on.
In the vice-presidential debate, Biden’s opponent Paul Ryan challenged the mandate, describing it as an assault on religious liberty.
As Ryan spoke, Biden smirked and rolled his eyes: “Let me make it absolutely clear,” countered Biden. “No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise … has to either refer contraception … has to pay for contraception … has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
No, it is not, as the USCCB quickly explained in a statement. The bishops declared: “This is not a fact.”
Joe Biden was wrong, and blatantly so. And it’s hard to imagine that Biden, a “pro-choice Catholic,” could not have known he was wrong. In fact, Biden has privately expressed misgivings with the policy.
According to the New York Times and Politico, both Joe Biden and Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley urged the White House to carefully consider the backlash from the Catholic Church and Catholic voters over the HHS mandate. Unfortunately, they lost to Obama advisers Valerie Jarrett and Kathleen Sebelius. According to the Times, Biden even arranged for Cardinal Dolan “to meet with the president and express the church’s view.”
This means that Joe Biden privately did good work, whatever his motivation. Unfortunately, it means he didn’t do good work during the vice-presidential debate. Quite the contrary, during the debate, he misrepresented the mandate, and was factually wrong before a huge audience, surely convincing countless Catholic Democrats that the HHS mandate has been overblown. At the debate, Biden towed the party line and fell on his sword for Barack Obama. He did so before millions of fellow Catholics, and at the expense of his Church and religious liberty.
And so, Joe Biden has some serious explaining to do. During the debate, he couldn’t shut up. Maybe he could pause now to address this question, and the major errors he has generated.
For Catholic Exchange dot com and Ave Maria Radio, I’m Paul Kengor.