Friday, October 12, 2012

Joe Don't Know

Among the more revealing moments of last night's VP Debate was when the candidates where asked how as Catholics they had come to their positions on abortion. Paul Ryan gave a straightforward answer on how his views were aligned with the Church’s teaching that life begins at conception, but that his believes were based on more than that. He also cited the ultrasound he and his wife viewed of their daughter, an anecdote sure to resonate with anyone who has had a child in the last couple of decades:

RYAN: I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.

RYAN: Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.

You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, “Bean.” Now I believe that life begins at conception.

Vice President Biden meanwhile provided one of the least logical explanations that I’ve ever heard on abortion.

BIDEN: My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.

So Biden believes that life begins at conception as the Catholic Church teaches. But he also apparently believes that anyone not named Joe Biden has a right to end that life if they so choose. You can debate the semantics all you want, but intentionally taking someone’s life is murder. So Joe Biden is essentially saying that while the Church’s teaching would proscribe him from killing a baby, he doesn’t have a problem with others doing so.

A naturally follow up question might have been, “If you believe that life begins at conception, at what point is not okay to intentionally end that life?” Six months in the womb? Eight months in month? Right up until the baby is born? A few days after birth? A few months after birth?

Look, if you honestly believe in your heart of hearts that life doesn’t begin until the baby is out of the womb and no longer physically connected to a woman’s body and you use that believe to justify your support for abortion, I can understand where you’re coming from. I don’t agree with you, but at least there is logic there. If there’s no life, then there’s no murder.

But to believe that life does begin at conception AND that it’s okey dokey for a woman to terminate that life so that she doesn’t get “punished with a baby” is not only illogical but hideously immoral. You’re accepting the premise that abortion is murder and endorsing it. For Biden to claim that as a lifelong practicing Catholic, his religion has “informed his social doctrine” is quite frankly disgusting.

Biden then went to lecture on the real facts of the contraceptive mandate controversy.

With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.

I know that you’ll be shocked to hear this, but it turns out that Biden’s claim is in fact NOT a fact. A group that represents the religion that informed his social doctrine issued the following corrective. USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact."
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain "religious employers." That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to "Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital," or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional "accommodation" for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as "non-exempt." That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation "to pay for contraception" and "to be a vehicle to get contraception." They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

So no Joe, even if you say it twice it still isn’t true. You can’t make up facts any more than you can make your own idea of what it means to be a Catholic.

UPDATE- More from Timothy Dalrymple:

If you believe, as the Catholic church does, that a sacred human life begins at conception, you simply cannot do nothing. What you are asserting (sacred human life begins at conception) is not a matter of subjective taste. It’s an assertion of fact. And if you are truly convinced of that fact, then there is nothing noble or tolerant or praiseworthy, or even remotely thoughtful or ethical, about standing by while those innocent human lives are extinguished. Yet this is what passes for thoughtful piety on the Obama ticket.

Biden is saying: “I believe what the Catholic Church believes, that preborn children are sacred human lives — but I will simply stand by while anyone who wants to do so kills them.” If he truly believes what the Catholic Church believes, then he has no right to do nothing in the face of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of abortions. He has no right. Either Biden does not really believe what he claims to believe, and he merely claims to believe it in order to draw as much of the Catholic vote as possible — or he is profoundly failing in his moral obligation to care for the children who are being aborted, because he finds it personally or politically convenient to raise no objection.

I don’t know which is worse.

Either explanation is simply appalling.