Vice President Biden was factually wrong on a lot of matters last night, including taxes, bailouts, and Libya. I thought his most interesting errors involved the Church to which he belongs and the Faith he professes.
Biden mangled Catholic teaching on abortion and misrepresented his administration’s treatment of the church in its contraception mandate.
Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review hits on the abortion matter:
Biden said that he accepted the Catholic Church’s alleged “doctrine” that life begins at conception in his “personal life” but would not impose it on others.
The Church does not, in fact, teach as a matter of faith that life begins at conception. It recognizes the scientific fact that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human organism — a member of the human species — and teaches as a matter of morals that we have obligations in justice to this being. Biden does not accept this teaching, and it is not clear that he even understands it.
And Biden was very, very wrong on his administration’s mandate that all employers buy 100% contraception coverage for all female employees. The U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops responded:
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.
It was a failure of Ryan not to set Biden straight.