By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Catholic groups are expressing concern over the selection of Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), a Catholic, as Senator Barack Obama’s running mate because of his stance on abortion and embryonic stem cell research and for voting against conservative judges such as Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts.
“I strongly support Roe v. Wade,” said Senator Biden during the South Carolina Democratic Primary debate in 2007. “That’s why I led the fight to defeat Bork, Roberts, Alito and Thomas.”
The Family Research Council compiled a list of recent votes by Senator Biden showing his strong support for issues that run counter to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
For instance, Senator Biden voted against stopping ne’er-do-well adults from taking minors across state lines for an abortion; against parental notification of minors who get out-of-state abortions; against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime.
Senator Biden is also a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, sponsored by pro-abortion members of the Senate including Barack Obama, a law which would overturn hundreds of state laws limiting abortion if passed. He has also voted in favor of increasing tax payer funding of Planned Parenthood and similar clinics.
While Senator Biden voted for an earlier version of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, he did not support the version that became law in the 108th congress
On the subject of embryonic stem cell research, Senator Biden voted to increase funding for this research, and voted against a ban on human cloning.
He voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act but did not support the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Senator Biden’s positions are drawing fire from Catholic groups such as Fidelis, a group of Catholic-based political, legal, research and educational organizations that works to defend traditional values in society.
“Barack Obama has re-opened a wound among American Catholics by picking a pro-abortion Catholic politician,” said Fidelis President Brian Burch. “The American bishops have made clear that Catholic political leaders must defend the dignity of every human person, including the unborn. Sadly, Joe Biden’s tenure in the United States Senate has been marked by steadfast support for legal abortion.”
Calling the nomination of Senator Biden “a slap in the face to Catholic voters,” Burch points out that the Senator’s own bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Saltarelli of Wilmington, has denounced the notion that politicians can ‘personally oppose’ abortion, but refuse to pass laws protecting the unborn.
“No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena. Likewise, none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: “I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena,” Bishop Saltarelli said.
Burch concluded: “The American bishops have instructed Catholic voters to consider many issues, but have characterized the defense of human life as ‘foundational’ and have explained that the issue has a special claim on the conscience of the Catholic voter.”
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Catholics have a moral obligation to use their vote to promote the dignity of the human person and the common good. In “Faith and Politics: Voting the Catholic Conscience,” Ambassador Alan Keyes and Father Edmund Sylvia explain Church teaching about how Catholics can fulfill their obligation to use their vote to promote the dignity of the human person and the common good. Available in our store at http://womenofgrace.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=141