Double Standard: Joe Biden’s Catholic Faith ‘Informs His Values,’ Amy Coney Barrett’s Is a Threat 

Amy Coney Barrett teaching a class at Notre Dame Law School. (Photo Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame)
Photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame

Democrats, the media, and leftwing activists generally faun over former Vice President Joe Biden for his Catholic faith while claiming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholicism is a threat that must not infiltrate the institution.

This narrative continues even as people across the political spectrum have praised Barrett’s superior qualifications for joining the bench.

Tax-payer funded and anti-Trump National Public Radio (NPR) provides one example of the double standard about the right and the wrong kind of Catholic. 

On September 20, NPR reported on Biden’s faith in an article titled, “How Joe Biden’s Faith Shapes His Politics”:

When Joe Biden seeks to inspire or comfort, he turns to his faith. He speeches are woven with references to God, biblical language, or the pope.

Biden, who carries a rosary in his pocket and attends Mass every Sunday, is known as a deeply devout person of faith, and his campaign sees electoral implications in that — in part because Biden has tried to frame this election as a clear moral contrast between Trump and himself.

Some Democrats would go so far as to say that Biden is running perhaps the most overtly devout Democratic presidential campaign since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

NPR did not report on the controversy Joe Biden’s pro-abortion stance has played in practicing his faith, including during the presidential primary when he was denied communion at a Catholic church in South Carolina.

Fast forward to September 29 after President Donald Trump announced Barrett as his nominee. NPR said her “Catholicism is controversial” in its report on her religious background and beliefs: 

Not all Catholic justices think alike. Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas, both Catholic, are ideological opposites. A strict adherence to Catholic teaching may lead a justice in contrasting directions, from opposing abortion and same sex marriage, to advocating for immigrants and expanded health care, or to opposing the death penalty.

If Amy Coney Barrett’s religious beliefs were to be raised during her confirmation hearings, it would presumably be because her Catholic faith appears to be of unusual intensity and character.

The possible impact of Barrett’s Catholicism on her jurisprudence has continued to be a subject of speculation in part because of her reported membership in a conservative Catholic “covenant” community known as People of Praise. The organization, which also includes some non-Catholics, holds to highly traditional social views and has been subject to critical reviews in progressive circles.

William McGurn, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board who writes the weekly “Main Street” column for the Journal, and previously served as chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, pointed out the hypocrisy when it comes to Democrats propping up “good” Catholics while disparaging “bad” Catholics.

McGurn said Democrats have made sure to let Americans know that Biden is a “swell Catholic.”

He cited Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who praised the influence of Biden’s Catholicism.

“People, Joe believes, were made in the image of God,” Coons said. “Joe learned that from his parents and the nuns right here in Delaware, who taught him and inspired in him a passion for justice.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Joe Biden’s faith in God gives him the strength to lead.” 

Former first lady Michelle Obama called him “a profoundly decent man guided by faith,” McGurn reported.

After pointing out that Democrats attacked Barrett about her faith three years ago when she was up for confirmation to the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, McGurn cited the upcoming confirmation hearings:

This time the religion-based attacks have largely zeroed in on People of Praise, a charismatic Christian community to which Judge Barrett and her husband belong. Because it holds traditional views of marriage and family, the idea is that anyone who belongs, especially a woman, must be willfully backward and perhaps a little creepy. Newsweek even ran a story claiming — falsely — that People of Praise was the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

You might think that Judge Barrett’s extraordinary life — as a distinguished law professor, as a highly regarded appellate judge, and as a woman who will become the first Supreme Court mom with school-age children — might occasion a rethink of prejudices against religious moms with large families. Or about Jesse Barrett, the very model of a husband who supports his wife in her chosen career.

Instead, this accomplished professional is painted as a helpless female living in her own little Gilead. If the Democrats and their allies keep it up, these attacks will undo all the work Mr. Biden has undertaken to persuade the American voter his campaign is friendly to religion and committed to restoring decency to our civic life.

McGurn concluded by saying that Biden should be pressed on whether he’ll insist the same standard used to measure his religiosity should also be applied to Barrett.

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