The Corner

Elections

Biden Pays Lip Service to Religious Freedom

Former vice president Joe Biden and his sister Valerie Biden Owens are greeted by Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Basilica, 2013. (Osservatore Romano/Reuters)

In a campaign statement marking the feast day of Our Lady of Charity — known among Catholics in Cuba as la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, patroness of their country — Joe Biden has offered some thoughts about religious liberty.

“This challenging moment for our nation and the world is an especially stark reminder of how vitally important it is for everyone to be able to live and practice their faith freely,” part of his statement reads. “That’s why I will always stand strong in defense of religious freedom around the world.”

This is an especially cynical promise coming from a candidate who has demonstrated significant personal opposition to religious free exercise, for instance when individuals who practice his own professed Catholic faith choose to reject progressive dogma. As Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden went along with the administration in compelling all employers, regardless of religious belief or conscience, to subsidize contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. This policy involved protracted lawsuits attempting to coerce religious Americans such as the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby; Catholic universities such as the University of Notre Dame; and a charitable order of Catholic nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor.

This summer, after the Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s policy offering exemptions to that mandate for religious employers such as the Little Sisters, Biden promised he’d reinstate the mandate and remove the exemptions protecting religious Americans.

Today’s statement is not the first time Biden has praised religious believers and Catholic values during his campaign while simultaneously vowing to bring the full force of law against faithful Catholics if they object to his progressive policies after he is elected.

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