Is Obama losing the Catholic vote?

A few observers are starting to wonder:

Some rank and file Catholics are beginning to express the same frustrations as clergy about a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy requiring all employers, including religious ones, to pay for FDA-approved contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and Plan B, through health insurance plans. Churches are exempt but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, 2012, but religious groups who oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to enforce the policy.

“What’s offensive is that we’re being told, our Catholic institutions which serve this nation well, are being told you who find these things offensive, you should pay for them, in fact you must pay for them,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, told CNN.

Catholic teaching opposes the use of contraceptives.  Wuerl acknowledged the clergy and the faithful have been at odds over the teachings on contraceptive use. But on this policy he said both are in lockstep over what is being perceived as a violation of religious liberties.

“This time around what people are seeing this isn’t a question of one moral teaching or another, it’s being able to teach at all. Our freedom, and everyone has a stake in freedom in this country, and I think that’s why this resonates across the board,” he said.

Wuerl is calling his congregants to action, asking them to call congress and the White House to express their displeasure.

“We’re beginning to say to our people this is what the issue is, it’s wrong, we’ve never experienced this in the history of our country before, this is a violation of the basic rights of conscience and religious liberty. So you need to know that and you need to speak up,” he said.

The timing of the administration’s announcement has drawn criticism for being tone deaf, coming just three days before tens of thousands of protesters, many of them Catholics who oppose abortion rights, came to Washington for the annual March for Life on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

“In my estimation it’s a huge misstep politically,” said Stephen Schneck a political scientist from Catholic University who has consulted with the administration on Catholic issues. In 2009, Schneck also worked with pro-abortion rights Democrats in Congress on the president’s signature health care reform measure to find language that ensured government funds did not pay for abortions.

“The way in which the narrative is being developed is that the administration is at odds with the Catholic Church fundamentally. What I’m seeing in the pews is something of a waking up, a Catholic solidarity. That I think could very well carry over into their political activities” Schneck said. “There’s nothing like having a sense of opposition to you to rally the troops and I suspect that’s going to happen here.”

Read more.

Meantime, Politico has its own spin:

President Barack Obama and his senior aides were more than a little concerned before he announced his controversial decision requiring Catholic hospitals and universities to provide contraception in employee health plans.

Obama — in recognition of the issue’s sensitivity to the church — picked up the phone to personally break the news to two influential Catholic leaders: New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Sister Carol Keehan, head of the largest Catholic health association in the country and a pivotal supporter of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The president’s tone was polite but not contrite, a person briefed on the calls told POLITICO: He explained that while his health care law exempted Catholic churches from the requirement, he wouldn’t carve out other Catholic institutions even though the Vatican views artificial birth control as contrary to the will of God.

Aides say Obama’s move, which has sparked thunderous denunciations as he prepares to address the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, was motivated by personal conviction and his long-held belief that all health plans need to provide birth control to women.

But the January decision was also a hard-headed election-year calculation with acute political risks — a bow to the concerns of womens’ rights groups that could alienate white Catholics, many of them critical independent voters in battleground states.

The handling of the issue offers a hint of Obama’s approach to governing and campaigning in 2012: When confronted with a position close to his heart — and dear to the base — Obama is increasingly inclined to side with people who will vote for him even if it means enraging those who might, but probably won’t, vote for him.

“Who are we going to really lose over this? Ron Paul voters?” asked a senior aide to a Senate Democrat, who thinks the administration should have handled the situation more quietly by punting a decision until after Election Day. “Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. … Catholics who don’t believe in condoms aren’t going to vote for Barack Obama anyway. Let’s get real.”

Added Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), an abortion-rights advocate who supports the provision: “I don’t think people’s minds will be changed by this debate. As for the president, leadership can’t take the election year off.”


  1. You can always find God’s grace even in these situations that seem disastrous. The unity that is being brought among Catholics, Protestants, Jewish and all faiths that hold life to be sacred is truly a beautiful thing. I’ve seen multiple articles and blog post by Protestant ministers saying they are with the Catholic Church on this one! Truly, I’m hopeful that someway this one will be overturned. Maybe I’m too faithful in our government, but either the Supreme Court will take care of it, or the people will in November. The Church thrives under persecution! May the Lord grant that this strengthens the unity among Christians!


  2. If he doesn’t pull it back, it’s not likely he gets my vote. Too much imperial presidency for my taste. ‘Course, the GOP will be worse, but I’ll have to look seriously at who the Greens are running. I didn’t vote for Mr Clinton, Mr Gore, or Mr Kerry, and I have no problem withholding my 2012 vote from the incumbent.

  3. Mark LaVergne says:

    Deacon, you raise an interesting question (“Is Obama losing the Catholic vote?”) but I think Obama and his operatives already have the answer: Yes.

    Indeed, perhaps they have made a calculated gamble to get to 270 votes in the 2012 Electoral College by jettisoning what they perceive to be the Catholic, blue collar part of the old New Deal coalition in favor of voter with a more secular mind-set with advanced educations, including voters with pro-abortion sympathies (NARAL and PP supporters, etc.) that are considered part of the Democratic hard-core “base.” This means foregoing victories in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and focusing instead on picking up Colorado, Arizona, Virginia, Iowa, New Mexico and perhaps NH. There’s been a lot of reporting on this (in Newsweek, Politico, etc.). Obama campaign manager Jim Messina shared with reporters last month five options (or “paths” to reach 270 votes) under consideration by the Dems. and two of them (“West” path and “”Expansion” path) fit this approach.

    I’m not suggesting that this strategy makes any sense to me … only that news reports indicate this is the path they are taking.

    Bottom line: they appear to have written off the Catholics, and are shopping for votes among groups that sit on the other side of the cultural/religious divide.

  4. I keep hearing that Obama has alienated Catholics everywhere over this issue, but once the smoke and noise die down, it’s always the bishops and their usual core of conservative blogosphere loyalists doing all the yelling. How many of the rank and file do they truly speak for? About a quarter of Catholics take it seriously enough to attend Mass every week, and not even all of them agree with the bishops on a lot of things. Are the 98% of Catholic women who have used artificial conception going to take their votes elsewhere over this one issue?

  5. The US Bishops are readying to refuse to comply with ObamaCare laws that mandate paying for services that are a violation their religion. As spiritual fathers, they find it unconstitutional to be forced to pay for something that is immoral, according to their own religion.

    Why don’t the same Bishops come to the defense of natural fathers who have been forced to pay for something that is immoral?

    In no-fault divorce, millions of innocent reliable fathers and husbands have been forced to pay for being immorally removed from their own children’s lives. Fathers are forced to pay state agents, such as guardian ad litems, court psychologists, and court fees. Their wages are garnished to support their children and wife in a separate household in which they are, for no moral reason, forbidden to live.

    I hope the Bishops’ ultimatum is not too little too late. For nearly forty years, the government has been forcing reliable Catholic spouses to pay for something that is immoral. So, why wouldn’t the government expect the same coercion to go unchallenged by the institutional Church?

    Bai Macfarlane
    Director of Mary’s Advocates
    Inviting Catholics to invoke the intervention of the Church against no-fault divorce

  6. Mark LaVergne says:

    Kenneth: Catholics all over the spectrum have voiced criticism, including Cardinal Roger Mahony and E.J. Dionne. This doesn’t impact only the Catholic church, but all religious organizations in the United States and has severe First Amendment implications. The decision by the Administration was a huge overreach in a political election year.

    Moreover, it represents “bad faith” (no pun intended) on the part of Obama, who promised repeatedly that nothing like this would occur. For example, the assurances he made to Congressman Bart Stupak and other Catholic Democrats on this provided the margin of victory for the March 2010 passage of Obamacare. He has violated those assurances as well as promises he made to other Catholic leaders, including his remarks at the May 2009 Notre Dame University commencement exercises.

  7. If he doesn’t pull it back, it’s not likely he gets my vote. – with everything that he has done it sounds like you were actually considering to vote for this socialist. He has no respect for our constitution, why even consider him. With all his faults, our former president would not even consider the infringements mr.o is forcing on us. If he was truly a christian like he states, he would not be aloowing these infrigements on our faith.

  8. Its not justy one issue here – its the beginning of the rewritting of the consitution on religious liberties.

  9. He’ll pull it back and present himself as a friend, a righter of wrings Sebelius will be thrown undee the bus

    He was just testing the waters. Such a clever boy Barry is.

    Now if he doesn’t, then we have the first man ever elected president who wants to dismantle the restrictions on federal power in the 1st Amendment. He should be impeached for that.

  10. Henry Karlson says:

    No, it’s not the “beginning of the rewriting.” Ignorance here is great. The lack of religious liberty has been a long time problem in the US. And yes, great “Catholics” like Scalia have helped reduce religious liberty in the US — look to the Smith decision:

  11. If people in this country were really paying attention, Obama would be losing EVERY vote from every religious Amercian.

  12. I don’t know.

    If a Republican said Mormon Universities would have to provide wine for heart patients working there, as it’s said to be helpful for that, I would think that’s coercive and wrong. It doesn’t mean I’m against wine for heart patients or that I’m for Mormonism. I’d like to think pressing people to go against their conscience is something one could oppose regardless.

    Now granted some do see contraception as more than just “wine for heart patients” and maybe even more than “porcine valve replacement.” It’s like critical to their understanding of modernity and women’s rights. For them it might be like having a hospital that doesn’t support vaccination or refuses to serve women at all.

    Even if I think that’s ridiculous I guess on some level I can actually understand why people may feel Catholicism shouldn’t be part of charities or organizations that serve the public. Because really I think that’s what this is about. That Catholics can run things, but Catholicism should be limited to the Church or Monastery because Catholicism is full of false-teaching detrimental to the public good. It would be a bit hypocritical, given our history, to be shocked someone feels “error has no rights.” Still I would like to think Catholics, even if they think the hierarchy is wrong, aren’t quite of the “error has no rights” school of thinking and do embrace religious toleration.

  13. Obama and his CINO HHS Secretary may have just provided the greatest opportunity to Catholic bishops and orthodox in the pews Catholics in a long, long time with this regulation. First and foremost I hope that our Catholic leaders use this as a teaching moment to all the faithful, especially those who have taken an opposite postition to the Church’s teaching. Perhaps I am being overly optimistic but what an opportunity for our bishops and leaders to explain why the Church teaches holds it’s beliefs about the sanctity of life. At the same time, the bishop and our leaders must also stay on message that even if people (any religious group) does not have same beliefs on these issues, the RIGHT for people to maintain those beliefs and not be forced to follow the government rules is sacred and core values for our country. They must make sure this message gets out to all people emphasizing that while this issue is directed at mainly Catholics, it could also happen to them. The message that government has no power to impede the practice of one’s religious should be a main focus. If Obama and HIS administration succeed in forcing Catholics to not be able to freely practice their faith, then all people actually suffer and are at risk. This is a key moment in time and I hope and pray that our Catholic leaders manage this well.

  14. I agree with Todd – When I look at the field of candidates and ask who is worse or who is least objectionable Obama was ahead. The class of candidates the republicans have presented forced me to look at Obama. With this decision I am rethinking that.
    I would comment though that when we talk about conscience exceptions, remember that is double-edged sword. In Minn. as I recall, in their Anti-bullying statutes an exception was made that it is ok to castigate a person if that is person is gay and the speaker is doing so because his/her religious beliefs say that being gay is wrong. Should we support that exception? How about many of the fundamentalist denominations that say that Catholicism is the Whore of Babylon and we don’t have to let them in our stores…
    I know I will hear the slippery slope argument, but we have been on this slope for many years and are now picking up speed. I think that it may be best for the Church to withdraw from any government money gathering – through grants, student aid and the like. In so doing I know it will cause great economic stress, but to live our consciences. In so doing the Church can then continue in living its conscience without having to follow the regulations tied to taking money. I believe it was the Bishop from Neb. (and I am paraphrasing, from memory) who alluded to the same thing. This does not mean leave your religion at home, it means make your religion your home. Look to it for sustaining love and support and recognize that the government is there to act for the country – defense, transportation, general civil rights.

  15. Mark, you may be correct, but perhaps the bigger miscalculation by Obama and his team is that they may not just lose the “Catholic vote”, but in fact could lose votes from both other religious and even non-religious libertarian groups. As I stated below, if managed correctly, this issue should be presented as not just an attack upon Catholic core values, but as an unprecedented power grab by the Executive Branch to in fact supersede the Constitutional protection to freely practice ones faith.

  16. “Aides say Obama’s move . . . was motivated by personal conviction and his long-held belief that all health plans need to provide birth control to women.”

    Seems like Bishop Zubik was spot on. Obama said “it’s important to me, I’m the president” so “to Hell with your religious beliefs, to Hell with your religious liberty, to Hell with your freedom of conscience.”

  17. This all seems to be going the path of the Quiet Revolution. In some ways it is sad, but it is completely unsurprising given the disconnect between the clerics and the people in the pews. As has been made clear be many commentators in many places, this regulation is not new (somewhere around 26 states already have it), and it is not unexpected – we have been funding contraception for the poor through Medicaid and Title X for decades. Of course, the clerics will claim it is just dissidents, the same dissidents responsible for the funding and operation of the Church and filling the pews. Perhaps this will mark the point where people who struggle to be follow the Church but feel they cannot handle the burden, yes the burden, of additional children will recognize that they aren’t respected for the crosses they bear and take the hint that they aren’t wanted.

  18. Hey, Joe, watch the name-calling before Greg sees it. ;)

  19. Actually, Bishop Zubik was a little too excitable and way too naive about this for my taste. The bishops seemed concerned about their own white garments, and many of their statements are too narcissistic for my stomach.

    If church employees are turned out to find insurance on our own, we’re going to lack the leverage to dictate terms. And if I have to choose between buying into an insurance program that includes abortion, sterilization, and contraception, guess what? My pastor is still paying it through my paycheck. And the bishops are still on the hook.

    Now, if the bishops care to spearhead a new arrangement by which Catholic hospitals and health care providers take care of Catholic needs as a matter totally independent of any secular health care system or any employment we may or may not have, I’m all for it.

    Mr Obama may be dead wrong on this directive. But it’s time for the bishops to man-up on the opportunity. Or it could be that they find what little support they have eroding away.

  20. Obama is abandoning the traditional Democrat Party base:

    “The new coalition President Obama is putting together potentially relies less on middle Americans than either Sen Kerry or Vice President Al Gore in 2000.

    Instead, as two Democratic strategists lay out, the president’s 2012 re-election campaign will likely rely on winning over new ‘young people, Hispanics, unmarried women and affluent suburbanites.’”

    “Ruy Teixeira (Center for American Progress) and John Halpin (Center for American Progress) made headlines for making official what everyone has known unofficially for some time: The Democratic Party is abandoning the white working class.”

  21. It is my opinion that Sister Carol Keehan should resign as she was instrumental in her support of Obama’s plan passing by giving a veil of Catholic approval for the plan. Obama even gave her an autographed pen from the signing of the law.

    “Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association and leading supporter of ObamaCare, issued her own statement, saying that the new health-care reform bill is not causing problems for Catholic hospitals.”

    Boy was she wrong.

    “Sr. Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the CHA, is “credited” with giving Rep. Bart Stupak and other supposedly pro-life Democrats the political and religious cover they needed to reverse their positions against the measure because it lacked any bill-wide language prohibiting abortion funding with taxpaper dollars.”

    “Reilly said, “Keehan won the support of these religious sisters for the healthcare bill in spite of the fact that the U.S. bishops urged Congress not to approve it, because the bill failed to include sufficient conscience protection provisions and left open the door to government-funded abortions.””

  22. Henry Karlson says:


    The HHS directive question is actually somewhat separate from the bill which the good Sister supported. Are you going to say every Catholic who supported Bush in the elections should also be forced to resign because he pushed for public funding of embryonic stem cell research and BRAGGED as being the first President to get that done? Again and again, the total blindness of your political rhetoric and allowance for GREAT evil due to political allegiance says enough. This isn’t about contraception, this isn’t about religious liberty – this is about Obama and nothing but him. The demonization you have made blinds you from the real world. Again and again I say — if you want to deal with religious liberty, deal with it: deal with the universal problem, a problem which comes out from both sides of the political debate, instead of making it all about Obama. It’s not about Obama. It’s about America: look to Scalia. See where his position, long before Obama was president, was one which allows for denial of religious liberty. Go. Look. Read. Study up. This is not new.

  23. If they had been paying attention 4 years ago he never would have been elected. Remember his spiritual guide was Rev. Wright.

  24. Dennis Byrne says:

    Even if Obama and this administration changes its mind and relents . . . .it is too late. They have already shown their hand. Interesting that God will have chosen a Mormon to step in and uphold Catholic (and Christian) values.
    As my grandmother always said, “God works in mysterious ways child!”
    Can’t wait ’til November to truly express myself in the voting booth.
    Casting a ballot . . . silent but deadly!

  25. “Even if Obama and this administration changes its mind and relents . . . .it is too late.”

    Well, for people who wouldn’t have noted for him anyway, this is a pretty hollow observation. “Too late” was probably November 5th, 2008.

    I might still vote for him. But I know I won’t be voting for the GOP candidate. I haven’t voted Republican for president since 1980, and that sure wasn’t Mr Reagan.

  26. I have to chuckle whenever I see “socialist” and “constitution” misused.

  27. That’s the thing that isn’t ringing true for me in all of this. Most of the people who are yelling bloody murder over this thing and threatening to punish Obama at the ballot box are people who would not have voted for him anyway if their lives depended on it. I’m sure there are indeed some on the fence folks who will be tipped by their distaste of the mandate, but most of the railing has been done by bishops and evangelicals who were squarely in Santorum’s camp, in all likelihood.

  28. Look at the bright side of that case: At least bishops can’t be forced to pay for peyote ceremonies!

  29. Actually you can thank Christian establishment thinking on drug prohibition for that decision. For them, nothing is more sacred than maintaining the Drug War.
    The laws which now allow indefinite detention without trial, warrantless searches etc. all got their start in the 80s by good Christian men who were otherwise “religious liberties” sorts of folks. It was decided ALL of the Bill of Rights would be sacrificed on the altar of the great god known as a “Drug-Free America.”
    As always happens sooner or later, we fall into the trap we have laid for others.

  30. Deacon Steve says:

    Henry George W. Bush actually is the one that placed the moratorium on creation of new embryonic stem cell lines using Federal Funding. Obama reversed that policy in his first 90 days in office.

  31. Henry Karlson says:

    Deacon Steve

    GW Bush funded embryonic stem cell research and bragged about it. His campaign consistently pointed out he was the first to provide federal funds for it. This is a fact.

  32. Henry Karlson says:

    George W. Bush: First president to fund embryonic stem cell research
    BUSH: Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of life. I’m the first president ever to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. I did so because I, too, hope that we’ll discover cures from the stem cells. But we’ve got to be very careful in balancing the ethics and the science. And so I made the decision we wouldn’t spend any more money beyond the 70 lines, 22 of which are now in action, because science is important, but so is ethics, so is balancing life.

    From the Second Bush-Kerry Debate. He bragged about it.

  33. Mark LaVergne says:

    George, thanks for sharing that. When I posted my comment yesterday that Obama’s decision was motivated (in part) by considerations of a 2012 path to 270 Electoral College votes, I was trying to recall the report that you cited.

    It seems like Obama and his team are literally pushing conscientious Catholics out the door. OK, fine, we’ll move on.

    As we’re instructed by the Lord in Matthew 10:14, “Whoever does not receive you … as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”

  34. Mark LaVergne says:

    Henry: It’s specious of you to suggest that Bush was promoting embryonic stem cell research. His position was that he was opposed to destroying the current “lines” in existence, but was also opposed to federal funds to expanding beyond the 60+ lines.

  35. 2 Feb 2012: Obama announces “2012 launch of African Americans for Obama”

    Could you image the hue and cry had a white candidate used race as a factor in fund raising? He is truly one of the most divisive of all our presidents.

  36. Mark LaVergne says:

    George, good question. Indeed, Sr. Keehan did provide moral “cover” for Congressman Bart Stupak and his group of Catholic Democrats whose votes provided the margin of victory for the narrowly-passed Obamacare bill. She was rewarded by Obama for her assistance with an invitation to the signing ceremony for the Obamacare bill along with a coveted “Presidential Pen” that the President used to sign the bill.

    I wonder what she’s done with that Presidential Pen.

  37. Henry Karlson says:

    It’s not specious when he himself would brag about funding it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you funded it, you can’t just stop and say “But I didn’t do much funding… but I funded it!”

  38. Bush vetoes embryonic stem-cell bill
    July 19, 2006

    “President Bush used his veto power Wednesday for the first time since taking office 5 1/2 years ago, saying that an embryonic stem-cell research bill “crossed a moral boundary.””

    “Bush said, “If this bill were to become law, American taxpayers would, for the first time in our history, be compelled to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos, and I’m not going to allow it.””

    “In August 2001, Bush announced that his administration would allow federal funding only for research on about 60 stem-cell lines that existed at the time. Researchers have since found that many of those lines are contaminated and unusable for research.”

  39. Unbelievable the depths to which this man will sink.

  40. Henry Karlson says:

    So what, George. He promoted himself on his record of federally funding embryonic stem cell research, and for those who didn’t get the funds, his administration encouraged those wanting to do the research to do so, even if they didn’t get funding. That is the fact. It’s like saying “I decided killing 70 people is good today, but I didn’t ok more than 70.” So what if you didn’t ok more than 70, that didn’t make your approval of those you allowed killed to be any less significant. Seriously, you prove the whole problem behind the political rhetoric and show why so-called pro-lifers are seen to be sycophants to the GOP

  41. Mr. Romney has promised to veto the Dream Act. The Bishops have supported the Dream Act. How is Mr. Romney upholding Catholic values?

  42. Deacon Steve says:

    Henry there is a huge difference in allowing work to move forward on the lines that had aleady been created, no new embryoes were destroyed in the process. What he did not allow was the creation of any new lines which would have required more embryoes to be destroyed. He was not the one responsible for funding their creation, he did allow work to continue on those lines. There is a huge difference between the two action. He drew the line and said no more new lines created with Federal Money. Obama undid that prohibition in his first 90 days, in fact he campaigned on it.

  43. naturgesetz says:

    Henry, you are thoroughly dishonest to ignore the distinction between allowing research to continue on lines which already existed and allowing more embryos to be destroyed, so that you can mislead people into thinking that there is no real distinction between Obama and Bush on the matter.

    I am truly disappointed to realize that you will try to deceive people in order to promote the political fortunes of Barack Obama.

    It would be one thing to say, “Okay, he’s one of the biggest enemies of religious freedom and the right to life of the unborn we’ve ever had in the White House, but there are more important issues in play here,” but to falsely suggest (and you are intelligent enough to know that you are twisting facts to come up with a false conclusion) that Obama is no worse than Bush on these issues is seriously sinful, both as a calumny of George Bush and as a conscious attempt to mislead potential voters.


  44. “If church employees are turned out to find insurance on our own, we’re going to lack the leverage to dictate terms.”
    As compared with the tremendous leverage and ability to dictate terms we have under these regulations?

    “if the bishops care to spearhead a new arrangement by which Catholic hospitals and health care providers take care of Catholic needs as a matter totally independent of any secular health care system or any employment we may or may not have, I’m all for it.”
    Perhaps I’m missing your point, but it sounds like you’re suggesting that we should retreat to the Catholic ghetto and only take care of our own.

  45. Henry Karlson says:

    It’s not dishonest. Do we reward murderers after they are done? No.

  46. Bush did brag during the 2004 election about being the first president to approve embryonic stem cell research. He did leave out the distinction between existing stem cell lines and subsequent ones. He did subsequently veto a bill trying to remove that distinction. His fault in 2004 I think was trying to avoid taking the heat for his unpopular position.

  47. So what? There’s a Latinos for Romney.

  48. Deacon Steve says:

    The point is there would be a huge outcry if there were a group “Whites for Romney”.

  49. That senior aide and Quigley need to be cashiered, the smug jerks. This is how third rate our congressional leaders have become; the wisdom of a law is not measured by its compliance with the Constitution, but by how many Catholics give a damn.

    It is sad to say but to some extent the hierarchy has brought this on itself for allowing dissent to run rampant for the last 40 years. Obama was clearly sitting there thinking, “hey, most Catholics use contraception, so they won’t really care.” And meanwhile, the First Amendment to the Charter of Negative Liberties be damned. I went to Harvard Law (though certainly not based on my grades but we’ll keep that quiet….).

  50. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Reading on the internet and in the media all the comments based –not on consitutional principles— but on how one feels about the Church’s teachings sadly shows how poor a job our public schools are doing. For the First Amendment is not just to protect individuals from government tyranny but also to protect private GROUPS like churches from government tyranny.
    It is clear from the Politico report that to Obama the First Amendment is just so much rubbish to be swept aside as opportunity warrants.
    As for the issue of federal money–that is secondary. In radical liberal states like Ma. you don’t play ball they just pull your licenses and you can’t even run, for example, an adoption agency with your own funds. What further regulations will be instituted by this dictator in the White House to further his secular power-hungry agenda.

  51. Which combination of the three do you think is more similar — Whites for X, Latinos for X, African-Americans for X? And why?

  52. This isn’t just Bishops making a big noise. It’s about being attacked for simply being Catholic. For those of you who want Catholicism to stay out of these institutions should know, that it was what built them in the first place. The church started the first hospitals in America, long before the government came in.

  53. Whites tend not to identify with whiteness itself quite so much for a variety of reasons.

    If there was “Mormons for Romney” I wouldn’t be surprised or care. If there was even “English-Americans for Romney” I wouldn’t care. So “African-Americans for Obama”? Well I don’t care.

  54. I think I missed that part the first time.

    I don’t know if I could imagine a Republican even saying “Gays who don’t believe in chastity aren’t going to vote for Mitt Romney anyway. Let’s get real” or “Jews who don’t believe in God aren’t going to vote for Mitt Romney anyway. Let’s get real” even though both would be mostly true. I mean to openly say “you don’t vote for us, so we can treat you like dirt” is probably how many of them think, but unusually blunt and tactless.

  55. What some are you are missing is the key point.

    Obama is starting his own racist “African Americans for Obama” group to support his re-election whereas Romney’s group was started by a third party on Facebook.

    Official Obama website:

    Romney did not start his group while Obama did.

    “Hispanics for Mitt Romney” is a facebook page with 24 likes.

  56. I’m sorry there is no way that any Catholic can now justify voting for this miscreant. He directly rebuked our rights as a religious institution, directly singling out Catholicism, lying to Bishop Dolan to his face, and shoving it down our throats at the same time as our pro life march. He directly poked his finger into our collective eye. Any Catholic that votes for this bum now is self hating.

  57. Since about 90% of those Americans who call themselves Catholic aren’t actually so, I would say that “Obama” has never had the Catholic vote.

  58. How are the PUBLIC schools responsible for people not understanding or adhering to the Church’s teachings? Aren’t religious teachings the responsibility of the parent through home lessons or enrollment in Catholic schools? And wasn’t the Catholic school system created just for this purpose all those many years ago?

    I do agree the public schools are charged with a providing a generally moral climate — but the teaching of specific moral precepts of each religion is the responsibility of the parent.

  59. Dennis — Aren’t “Catholic (and Christian) values” the same? Why the word “and”? If they are not the same there’s some explaining to do.

  60. George, I think you are being naive if you think Romney’s people didn’t have a hand in the creation of “Latinos for Romney.” Historically, since I was a kid in the 1960s, groups labelled [ethnic group] for [specific candidate] have been performed. In my opinion, these are almost always organized by people connected to the candidate.

  61. naturgesetz says:

    The public schools should be teaching people to respect the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion. The government isn’t permitted to tell churches to set aside their moral values. When people don’t respect the freedom of the church, the schools have failed to teach the Constitution.

  62. Naturgesetz — That I agree with, but the second part of Deacon John’s first sentence seems to tie the public schools with the understanding of Catholic teachings, and that I do not agree with. Or did I read his comment wrong?

  63. naturgesetz says:

    I think he could have punctuated it better. But I think his point was that people should be viewing this as a question of constitutional principle. They are viewing it as a question of how they feel about Catholic teaching instead, and it is the fault of the schools that they don’t see the constitutional principle as superseding their feelings about the church teachings. I don’t think he meant that the public schools should have indoctrinated students in Catholic teachings, only that schools should teach that the Constitution requires allowing the Church to follow its own beliefs.

  64. Doug Indeap says:

    Some, including apparently the Church, have resorted to lies in their tirades against the health care law. Contrary to wild-eyed cries to the contrary, IT DOES NOT FORCE EMPLOYERS TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEIR BELIEFS. In keeping with the law, those with conscientious objections to providing their employees with qualifying health plans may decline to provide any health plans and pay an assessment instead or, alternatively, provide health plans that do not qualify (e.g., ones without provisions they deem objectionable) and pay lower assessments.

    Questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith are entirely real, but not new. The courts have occasionally confronted such issues and have generally ruled that the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

  65. Doug, the US Bishops would disagree with you and have pointed out that now not only has Obama lied about his intentions, but now is lying about the reg itself. Quite despicable!

  66. Doug Indeap says:

    Actually, if you read the link you provided: (1) It does not even address the Church’s lie that the law forces employers to act contrary to their beliefs. (2) It engages in garden-variety political quibbling about this and that provision of the law it does not like. We know the Church does not like the law; that alone does not warrant the exemption it advocates.

    The U.S. Bishops Conference has reduced itself to a political lobbying firm–one that is not above lying if it thinks that will serve its cause. Sad.

  67. The actress O’Donnell is going to run for green party. Voting for the GOP would be far better than voting for marxists.

  68. I am a cradle Catholic, and a Democrat. I cannot see how Republican social justice issues, other than abortion, are in keeping with our teachings. How many lives did George Bush take, getting us into a needless war? Then further damaging our economy by not including the cost of this war in the budget. How many spirits were aborted by use of torture on prisoners at Gitmo? How many children will never be born because of this war? Thou shall not kill is not just about abortion and murder.
    Republicans are against immigration reform, unless speaking of “Cuban immigrants”.
    Regarding Obamacare, people do not realize that every time ANY one without insurance uses an Emergency room, we all pay the costs. Obamacare is not perfect, by any means, but a start of much needed change. Finally, yes, we are our brothers keeper.
    I wonder what people will do when they die and learn our Creator is African-American?
    Blessings to all,

  69. The contraception issue was fueled by insurance coverage for ED drugs, such as Viagra and Cialis, while refusing to pay for women’s contraception …

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