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February 1st, 2012
09:23 PM ET

Is Obama losing the Catholic vote?

By Eric Marrapodi and Brianna Keilar, CNN

(CNN)–After years of bridge building with the Catholic Church, the Obama administration may have damaged some of the good will it built up with the nation's 70 million Catholics, which could have steep consequences at the polls in November.

Some rank and file Catholics are beginning to express the same frustrations as clergy about a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy requiring all employers, including religious ones, to pay for FDA-approved contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and Plan B, through health insurance plans. Churches are exempt but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, 2012, but religious groups who oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to enforce the policy.

"What's offensive is that we're being told, our Catholic institutions which serve this nation well, are being told you who find these things offensive, you should pay for them, in fact you must pay for them," Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, told CNN.

Catholic teaching opposes the use of contraceptives.  Wuerl acknowledged the clergy and the faithful have been at odds over the teachings on contraceptive use. But on this policy he said both are in lockstep over what is being perceived as a violation of religious liberties.

"This time around what people are seeing this isn't a question of one moral teaching or another, it's being able to teach at all. Our freedom, and everyone has a stake in freedom in this country, and I think that's why this resonates across the board," he said.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Wuerl is calling his congregants to action, asking them to call congress and the White House to express their displeasure.

"We're beginning to say to our people this is what the issue is, it's wrong, we've never experienced this in the history of our country before, this is a violation of the basic rights of conscience and religious liberty. So you need to know that and you need to speak up," he said.

The timing of the administration's announcement has drawn criticism for being tone deaf, coming just three days before tens of thousands of protesters, many of them Catholics who oppose abortion rights, came to Washington for the annual March for Life on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

"In my estimation it's a huge misstep politically," said Stephen Schneck a political scientist from Catholic University who has consulted with the administration on Catholic issues. In 2009, Schneck also worked with pro-abortion rights Democrats in Congress on the president’s signature health care reform measure to find language that ensured government funds did not pay for abortions.

"The way in which the narrative is being developed is that the administration is at odds with the Catholic Church fundamentally. What I'm seeing in the pews is something of a waking up, a Catholic solidarity. That I think could very well carry over into their political activities" Schneck said. "There's nothing like having a sense of opposition to you to rally the troops and I suspect that's going to happen here."

Schneck pointed particularly to states with large Catholic populations where this new solidarity could have a far-reaching political impact.

"If you look at where those Catholics are, they're in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida, which are of course critical states for anyone who wants to become president of the United States," he said.

In 2008, President Obama won 54% of the Catholic vote, according to the Pew Research Center. Early on in his presidency, Obama reached out to Catholics. He appointed prominent Catholics to several cabinet positions and ambassadorships.

In May 2009, the president delivered the commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame, where he spoke of working together on abortion.

"Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women. Those are things we can do," the president said to rousing applause from the crowd in South Bend, Indiana.

In shaping the new Health and Human Services policy, the administration reached out to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the public policy arm of the church in the United States, and other Catholic leaders in November to seek their input in the process. Many of the same Catholic leaders received a heads up on January 20 several hours before the administration announced the policy.

"This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the statement about the policy.

On Tuesday in the White House briefing room, Press Secretary Jay Carney again defended the administration's decision when pressed by reporters.

"After very careful consideration the administration believes that this strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing access to important preventive services. We will continue to work closely with religious groups during this transitional period to discuss their concern," Carney said.

The administration is extremely concerned this will affect Catholic voters’ support.

As the opposition grew this week, the administration noted to reporters there were Catholics in and out of government who support the measure, as well as interfaith groups.

Late Wednesday night the White House launched the first part of an information campaign to spell out what the policy change does and does not do.

An administration official also pointed to nearly $2 billion in federal grants that have gone to Catholic-related charities since the beginning of the administration as a sign of the willingness to work together.

James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, which hasn't taken a position on the HHS policy, said there could be a silver lining for both Catholics and the administration on this issue. He said with more women able to access contraceptives there could be a reduction in abortions stemming from unplanned pregnancies as a result of the policy.

"More needs to be done on both sides. It's not just a question for the administration, it's a question for the pro-life community and the pro-choice community to put aside their heated rhetoric and find common ground," Salt said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Faith Now • Politics

soundoff (2,744 Responses)
  1. John G

    There's no such thing as the "Catholic vote". I'm Catholic, but I'm also a critically thinkin American. There's more to my vote than this one issue and I'm voting for Obama again. Or, maybe I should support Gingrich because he's a Catholic now...Please.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Voting for Obama is voting for a pro-abortion candidate. It is a non negotiable issue.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • GI Clinic Manager

      It's "non-negotiable" if you've been brain-washed into thinking the world is "black and white". Are you a 2 year old ?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Gene Church

      CI, not a two year old, but a Catholic hopefully with integrity.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Eric

      Voting for Obama is voting for the pro choice candidate. Because we are not a theocracy. If you don't want an abortion, don't get one. You get to decide for yourself, and your God. Not for someone else.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Eric, I would like to decide for myself, but Obama won't let me. I would choose not to pay for abortions, but Obama says that the Catholic Church, and all employers, must pay for contraception and morning after pills for their employees.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Inconvenient George

      False premise -> false conclusion. Obama is not doing anything. The law was passed by the elected congress.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Gene Church

      Wrong, Obama is defining contraception and morning after abortion pills as healthcare, and forcing employers to pay for it.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Guest1m

      @Gene Church. "Muffin" *sarcasm*. Guess what? You will never agree with every avenue your tax payer money goes. Nor will paying for contraception personally cost you a lot. See any admirable characters in the Republican lot? Obama wants health care for all Americans, affordable education, and to lessen the huge economic disparities. Those are BIGGER goals. And they are good ones.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Derrique Stuckey

      You're one of the very few. Congratulations.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • bspurloc

      exactly.....
      the christian taliban and a catholic with a brain are not bed fellows.... one is a terrorist the other is a person

      February 2, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • bspurloc

      gene church is your typical arrogant im better than u religious nutcase......
      stop pushing your beliefs on others this is not the 1500's anymore..... there is still an "UNSAVED" Peruvian tribe for you to "CONVERT" get going they are the supreme heretics.... go spread the peace and luv to them and complete the history of your vial religion.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Ken

      For those Catholics that won't vote for Obama (or a Democrat) because of their pro-abortion/pro-choice chance, you really don't understand our religion. Republicans stand for capital punishment which is also killing and our Church teaches us that ALL life is valuable. Also Republicans are less likely to support social welfare which is very important to our faith. The point isn't that one political party is more Catholic than the other, it's that we each have to make our own decisions based on ALL of the issues and we are free to support either party.

      I do disagree with this law however, how can you FORCE those that don't believe in contraceptives to directly pay for them. I support Obama but he's wrong on this.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • sarah

      :P Rome has the lowest birthrate in all of Europe because of BC. 75% of US Catholics disagree with the Pope about BC. The many of the same Catholics who voted for Obama before are going to vote for him again, despite "church leaders". After all, they were pressured not to vote for Obama in the first election. Catholics can and do disagree with the Pope. They may not be able to change the Pope's mind, but they're human beings who are going to think what they're going to think.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • nunya

      Regarding Gene Church's 3rd and 4th postings:

      "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
      –Thomas Jefferson

      February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • nunya

      Here's another one for you:

      "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."
      –Thomas Jefferson

      (wise, wise words from over 2 centuries ago)

      February 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Formerly A Democrat Catholic-this did it

      I was willing to overlook obama on the abortion issue. However, his handling of this makes it clear that he feels that catholics are ignorant and backwards and they do not deserve proction under the first amendment. I voted for him in 2008, I wont be in 2012.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • savvy

      This is about religious freedom. Why doesn't the administration start their own organization that can provide these services, instead of forcing organizations founded and run by other people to do their work for them?

      As for the argument that these organizations cannot be religious because they serve non-Catholics is ridiculous, because they have an explicit Catholic mission and history. The first hospitals in America were started by the Catholic church, long before the government got involved.

      And the mandate does not cover all health care services, Unless you narrow down health to how to avoid a pregnancy.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  2. Say it ain't so

    I think no govt should force you to turn your backs on your beliefs. The minute that happens there's something wrong so hold on to your beliefs no matter what & this is coming from someone who believes we should use condoms but I have a stronger respect for those who stand their ground, come hell or high water.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • FIELD1stSGT

      THIS I D I O T INTENDS FOR ALL RELIGIONS TO COLLAPSE BUT HIS i S L A M I C WORLD

      February 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Steve

      I agree. My religious belief says that if my daughter shames my family, I should kill her. What right does the government have to interfere?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • lgny

      You have it backwards. Govt it not forcing someone to use birth control. It is simply insisting that if a woman wants birth control it must be covered by health insurance policies. Catholics can simply not use it, but others should not be refused because they happen to work at a Catholic hospital or school.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Gene Church

      igny, they are not kept from using contraception. But employers should not be required to pay for it either.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • bspurloc

      u want tax exemptions then follow the law.... these tax exemptions should be removed as these organizations are 100% into politics which is illegal for tax exemption status

      February 2, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • nunya

      @Igny:

      "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. "
      –Thomas Jefferson

      February 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  3. FIELD1stSGT

    f the Catholic has any forethought they will disregard him like a hot potato. His main desire is to destroy the Catholic Church also with all of Christian values. he is a MUSLIM AND HIS FOREFATHERS ARE PIGS.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • dreucalypt

      Obama is not a Muslim. But you are either a liar or a fool.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • FIELD1stSGT

      IT IS YOU WHO CAN NOT UNDERSTAND PLAIN ENGLISH. OBAMA IN HIS OWN WORDS STATED HE WAS A MUSLIM. AND HE HAS PROVEN THAT OVER AND OVER MANY TIMES. I AM SORRY YOUR SO DA M N DUMB YOU CAN NOT BELIEVE IT.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Chris

      You need better meds. You're probably the kind of loser that pees on corpses.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Marry

      @FIELD1stSGT –
      Hey, you’re on the wrong blog! Go back to Fox and feel good! The stuff they spew there about the President is so full of lies and disrespect so insulting that it gives a deep insight as to the very bad character of quite a few people. Somehow they must be green with envy to look at a man that is so classy, cool, intelligent, generous, reliable (the positive list goes on…) and not at all like the mudslinging GOP/TP!

      February 2, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      Every trailer park pork-pig; primitive field backward class sgt is born every second in America. Toothless trailer park pig, get this through your bone head; NO Muslim would have his children baptized as a Christian. Is dead brain idiotic, primitive backward, uneducated americans like you that make even Midget mouse look very intelligent than filthy trailer park pig like you. If you truly have good education you wouldn't be a mere sgt. in any military rank. You primitive backward uneducated low life! Come on spill it! What's your educational background? Did you even complete Trailer Park High School? Or you missed that Yellow School Bus for toothless trailer park residents? Yeeeeehaahahaah!

      February 2, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • Drew

      Obama has failed. Take off the rose colored glasses and see the rubble America has become. Smell the Stench? Compliments of Obama and his minions.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  4. CO

    I hate Religion!

    February 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • FIELD1stSGT

      DON'T WORRY WHERE YOU'RE GOING THERE WILL NOT BE ANY. HAVE FUN IN THE SWEAT SHOP.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Eric

      Hey Field Sargent – what do Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, and a morally judgmental deity have in common? They're all versions of crowd control.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Joe

      You can't expect intelligence and free thought from someone dumb and insecure enough to join the military. Trading your humanity for 30 pieces of silver and the right to be an ignorant bully is about as low as a person can sink. I see a uniform, I see dirt.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      I don't blame ya!
      Southern white americans are FAKE Christians hence your disgust. These are sons and daughters of Satan Lucifer in disguise as human beings dwelling amongst us. They were fed with Satan Lucifer’s blood by their EVIL mothers, concubines of Devil.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:31 am |
  5. polycarp pio

    Is Obama losing the cathloic vote???? What are catholics doing voting for an abortion ,sodomite supporting, apologist in the first place?????? Wake up church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PP

    February 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Joy

      Well put! I never understood it myself. The lesser of two evils ? Sodomy vs abortion ?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      Let the TRUTH be told!
      1 in 3 Americans are members of Catholic RAPISTS families.
      Not only that; 1 in 2 Catholic Bishops are Pedophiles and sanctioned, certified RAPISTS of little boys in front of the Catholic alters. Check the courts files around the World for the Truth.
      I'm just doing the Lords WILL by telling ALL of God's Children the undeniable TRUTH as required of every Christian.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • IamaCatholic

      @CHE,
      Mohammad was a known pedophile too.
      Seems to be a common goal for religious "leaders".
      So stuff your self righteous BS up your turban.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  6. jeannebodine

    All hail the power of the State, our lord & master.

    Make no mistake, that is what this is all about.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  7. Jon

    I'm a Catholic and he's not losing mine! I also work for a Catholic hospital that has not covered my wife's birth control in the past. Many others that work at the hospital are not Catholic and are subject to their beliefs, not fair in my opinion. Believe it or not a lot of catholics use birth control and I think would welcome this.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Jon, both Catholics and non-Catholics can choose to purchase birth control, without requiring an employer to provide financial coverage for it, or require the Church to do so. It would be wrong to require Jews to eat pork and non-kosher foods just because the Government decides that it would be more nutritious to eat non-kosher.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • lgny

      Gene, your analogy breaks down. No one is forcing Jews to eat pork. However, the fact that I am kosher does not permit me to require my employees to also live kosher or for me to refuse to allow any of the compensation that I pay to those employees to be used to buy pork.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Chris

      Gene, for the nth time, no one's "forcing" the church to accept federal funding for Catholic hospitals. But when you do, you'd better be prepared to play by the rules. In any case, I'd bet that the federal funding pales in comparison to all the millions that the Church has had to pay out in child abuse lawsuits. THAT is what the church should be focusing its attention on!

      February 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Chirs, this has nothing to do with Catholic hospitals receiving federal funds. Doesn't matter if they receive money or not. ALL employers will be required beginning in August to pay for contraception and the morning after pill, and religious agencies will have to do so next year, even though it is in violation of their beliefs.

      And Chris, you are a bigot.

      You have no problem with the rights of those you don't believe in being taken away. Beware receiving your rights from Government. What they give they can take away.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  8. Mr. Moderate

    My decision to leave the Catholic church is continually reinforced. The church leadership's obsession with birth control, abortion and gays is bordering on the pathological.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Go back and read the Church teachings and perhaps you would understand. This has to do with being open to life. Obams contends that he has the right to tell others that they cannot be open to life and must be willing to pay for abortions of others.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • GrandmaT

      I am sorry that you found the Catholic Church distasteful enough to leave. That is your right. But for the very reasons you gave for leaving, those are the exact reasons we faithful stand proud to be Catholics. It's not our decision, it's not the Church's decisions...these are laws and mandates given to us by someone named Jesus Christ. So, if you believe you are better qualified, then so be it. The modern world hates many Christian faiths including Cathlics because they just don't like the rules. I admit, it's gotta be a LOT easier to take a path without rules.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Chris

      If it wasn't for the Franciscans, I'd be getting ready to leave the Church too – and I say that as a born-again Christian. All that self-serving hypocrisy comes with a lot of human needs for power and control, and very little divine inspiration to give of oneself.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Mr. Moderate

      Believe me, I am well versed in Catholic doctrine. I have two nuns and a priest in the family and my father worked for the Jesuits for years. This was not a matter of me not liking my pastor, disliking the mass times, or being upset at something the Pope said but one consisting of years of soul searching and conversations with my clerical family members. For me it was a matter of seeing the Church I was brought up with being increasingly distorted by the current leadership. I saw numerous examples of that I perceived to be leadership embracing values that I did not want instilled on my children (again, what with the obsession with gays? (tolerance?, acceptance? as one of many examples). I am fortunate to have found a church that is more in keeping with the values I felt the church taught me. They have enough confidence that they are providing me and my family the proper spiritual guidance that we can make the proper decisions to live a life in keeping with the traditions of Jesus.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      So Gene, re : :open to life"....so post-menopausal women have to stop having se'x, and post hysterectomy women have to abstain ? What a bunch of crap.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Inconvenient, they must be OPEN to life, not capable of having a child. And after all Abraham and Sarah found out what being open to life really meant.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      @Mr. Moderate: Glad you did!
      By doing so; you truly saved a member of your family from these Catholic sanctioned, certified RAPISTS of little boys in front of the Catholic alters by Catholic Bishops and pedophiles within the church of which sinful popes have failed to acknowledge for centuries.
      Let the TRUTH be told!
      1 in 3 Americans are members of Catholic RAPISTS families.
      Not only that; 1 in 2 Catholic Bishops are Pedophiles and sanctioned, certified RAPISTS of little boys in front of the Catholic alters. Check the courts files around the World for the Truth.
      I'm just doing the Lords WILL by telling ALL of God's Children the undeniable TRUTH as required of every Christian.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • D. Clemens

      I know a good priest who respond to your crap by saying "and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out".

      February 2, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  9. Winton BenWa

    Oprah's money got this boy elected once.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  10. jesus

    im tired of this s***

    February 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  11. ham65

    in 2008 Obama won 54% of the catholic vote, America, what about 2012?

    February 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • catholicreligionteacher

      He certainly lost my vote.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • AnaSaenz

      He still has my vote. Catholicism has nothing to do with politics.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Ana, if Catholicism has nothing to do with politics, then Catholicism has nothing to do with your core belief system.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • sarah

      75% of US Catholics disagree with the Pope about BC. The same Catholics who voted for Obama before are going to vote for him again, despite "church leaders". After all, they were pressured not to vote for Obama in the first election.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Formerly A Democrat Catholic-this did it

      Lost mine too. Part of it was the Presidents lack of respect for the first amendment. Part of it is his lack of respect for his Catholic supporters. And part of it has been the sheer volume of hateful anti catholic comments posted by supporters of the president on this. Apparently Catholics are no longer welcome in the democrat party.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  12. annie

    Have people forgotten that we are not a theocracy???? The president should look out for the welfare of all, not just catholics. No one HAS to take birth control, but birth control should be provided for those that aren't catholic or unsupportive of birth control. You can control your own body; let others control their body.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Gene Church

      annie, you have the right to contraception or even abortion in this country, not to have your employer pay for it.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      Yeb, we didn't hear any of these catholic sanctioned, certified RAPISTS of little boys in front of the Catholic alters by Catholic Bishops and pedophiles within the church itself whine when imbecilic GWB was the presidents and all the sinful acts he committed against mankind.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:54 am |
  13. Samantha

    the government AND the church have no business with the lives of human beings. spoken from a catholic.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • jessamine

      amen

      February 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Gene Church

      And unfortunately, the Government has told employers they MUST provide contraception and abortion services to their employees.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • catholicreligionteacher

      That's completely illogical. If you really believe that then you're obviously NOT Catholic. You might claim to be so, but according to your own statement the only Church you believe in is YOU. At least stop kidding yourself with cop-out quotes like, "spoken by a Catholic". Give me a break.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Chris

      Gene: No, it hasn't. The government has required hospitals THAT RECEIVE FEDERAL FUNDING to provide the OPTION of these services to its employees. These employees are not all Catholic. If the hospitals really see this as a conscience issue, they can opt out of the federal funding and go private. That's called relying on "faith".

      February 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Chris

      "CatholicReligionTeacher": Sorry, you don't get to call who is or isn't Catholic. And yes, being Catholic myself I'm well aware of the profusion of busybodies in the Church that do indeed believe they have that right. Stick to Sunday School, ok?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Chris, YOU don't get it. As the article says, "new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy requiring all employers, including religious ones, to pay for FDA-approved contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and Plan B, through health insurance plans. Churches are exempt but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, 2012, but religious groups who oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to enforce the policy." That is ALL employers, including Catholic Charities.

      Their employees have always been able to buy contraception or pay for abortion services as allowed under the law. Now, employers, including religious ones, are told they must PAY for these services for their employees.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Chirs, The Catholic Church does get to decide who is Catholic. And the Catechism of the Catholic Church outlines the Church's positions on issues, not your posts.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • AnaSaenz

      Amen...and Catholics are still voting for Obama, particularly women!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Ana, then these women are people who call themselves Catholic. But it doesn't make them one.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      @Samantha; you and your sinful catholic popes have NO Freak*****G business raping little boys in front of the Catholic alters for centuries an act fully sanctioned and certified by your catholic church. Its basic intellectual logic and applicable at all times!
      Not only that; until your sinful church reconciles that with the Lord and the World, you have business picking a bone with this president. Shame on you!

      February 2, 2012 at 6:04 am |
  14. markd

    The catholic woman has a choice to use or not use birthcontrol. They should be able to decide and not the church. Just like deciding if they want a flu shot! Church should fulfill their obligation and stay out of the personal lives of people who work for them. You will still see them at Mass on Sunday unless you make them all mad!!

    February 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Gene Church

      markd, This has nothing to do with a woman's "right" to contraception, only with their employer and the Church having to pay for it.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Chris

      Gene, the only reason they're required to pay for it is the millions in federal funding that they get as a result.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Gene Church

      No Chris, the funds they get has NOTHING to do with this. As the article says: "new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy requiring all employers, including religious ones, to pay for FDA-approved contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and Plan B, through health insurance plans. Churches are exempt but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, 2012, but religious groups who oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to enforce the policy." That is ALL employers, including Catholic Charities.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  15. Rick

    I'm Catholic. I reject Obama's healthcare law and all that it implies to Catholic's. The Catholic faith is timeless and 'universal'. I won't adapt to some law that Obama & company say I must adapt to. Change your law.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • annie

      Not everyone is catholic, and this country does not mandate a religion. I support the law, and am a catholic.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • douglas

      Hey Rick. I'm a protestant, I guess that makes me wrong since your religion is "universal". Ever use a condom?

      February 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Gene Church

      annie, douglas, you have the right to buy contraception. You do not have the right to tell me, or the Catholic Church, to pay for it.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Rob

      I am Catholic too, and I see the gospels filled with things about our responsibility to our fellow men. I see us called to stand for social justice. The story of Jesus and the adulterous women, clearly points out that judgement is not ours to levy. The story of the sheep and the goats should give pause to those who would shirk our responsibilities to the poor.

      It seems clear to me that right now that Obama is the only hope to keep from having the wholesale dismantling of our nations services to the poor. The rhetoric and hate filled bile coming from some who call poor people leeches, lazy, and criminals are far far far worse than someone who would make contraception affordable to some. The embrace of Ayn Rand who Anton Levy himself said was the inspiration for much of the satanic bible, by those who would also like to cloth themselves in Christianity in order to bash gays, and deny women their choice is reprehensible to me. It should be to you.

      If your faith calls you then don't have an abortion, or don't use contraceptives. However, to take the message and force those who believe differently to live by those same rules is not religion, it is not faith, it is oppression and it is not Christian as defined in any of the gospels.

      That is why I will vote for Obama.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • catholicreligionteacher

      Annie, if you're truly Catholic then why would you support a mandate which FORCES the Catholic Church to pay for ABORTION-inducing drugs?? Seems a bit hypocritical to me...

      February 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • FIELD1stSGT

      ROD – EITHER WAY YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT FOR ACCORDING TO THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS YOU WILL NOT BE AROUND AT THE END TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OR THE ANTI-CHRIST CONSUMES IT.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Chris

      All you alleged Catholics: Stop with the reactive hype about being "forced". Only those organizations that want FEDERAL FUNDING have to comply with these regulations. Remember, this funding comes from ALL taxpayers, not just Catholic, and therefore are targeting the needs of ALL employees, not just Catholics. This isn't about faith at all: it's about money, like everything else.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • FIELD1stSGT

      ROD – EITHER WAY YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT FOR ACCORDING TO THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS YOU WILL NOT BE AROUND AT THE END TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH FOR THE ANTI-CHRIST CONSUMES IT.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • jamesKs

      you don't have to adapt just don't use it.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Rob, you are right that we have social responsibility, but certain tenants are non negotiable. No one would consider it reasonable to say, " I really like Hitler's social policies, although I don't agree with that Holocaust part. But on balance, I agree with his other policies."

      Obama's pro-abortion stance precludes him from consideration by a loyal Catholic. Our social responsibilities comes as individuals with free choice, not mandated by Government. If Government mandate could bring everyone to Heaven, then all we would have to do is elect someone to do all the work for us.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Chris, READ THE ARTICLE!!! "new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy requiring all employers, including religious ones, to pay for FDA-approved contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and Plan B, through health insurance plans. Churches are exempt but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, 2012, but religious groups who oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to enforce the policy." That is ALL employers, including Catholic Charities.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • AnaSaenz

      No womb=no opinion. No men or goverment should force women to be pregnant against their will. It is incredible how almost every post here is from men. What do they know about being pregnant? Why do they feel they have the right to tell us we should be or not pregnant. If you do not like contraception, DO NO USE IT ! But let us, Catholic women, use it if we want to.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Ana, you have the "right" to contraception, and even abortion in this country. And I should have the right not to pay for them.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Gene Church

      Rob, if you are Catholic, you should know abortion is intrinsically evil, above all the apparent benefits to healthcare. This regulation restricts my rights as a Catholic not to buy contraception and abortafacients, forcing me to pay for my employees to get these "services." This is not freedom or choice.

      No Catholic should vote for Obama.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • MN

      @Gene- This is the same scenario as someone who deeply opposes war because of their beliefs. I don't support the current wars we're in and I certainly would not voluntarily give my tax money to fund the wars.....However, I do not get that opt out, just like you as a catholic don't get to opt out of this. You don't get to earmark where your tax money goes, it is supposed to go to the "common good" of society, and believe me, birth control is for the COMMON GOOD of society. Like about a million people have already said, if you don't support it, don't use it!!! Ugh, I grew up a catholic and it is people like YOU who are driving people out in droves. There are few organizations more backwards and dragging down society like the catholic church. Thank god I'm an athiest :)

      February 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  16. Daleri Rileda

    Outright direct persecution of the Church is now underway while those of gay persuasion and beliefs get special protection under the law.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • annie

      How exactly are gays getting "special protection?" What persecution? Do you think that "persecution" equals anyone with criticisms of the church? The church should stay out of politics, given that they are tax-exempt.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Annie, the Church should not stay out of this. This is the Government telling Catholic employers, both in private industry and at Catholic colleges and social agencies, that they must provide contraception and abortions to their employees. This has never been a requirement in this country, and is wrong.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  17. Erlinda

    I am still Roman Catholic, and Barack Obama is most definitely getting my vote.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • annie

      Same here!

      February 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Erlinda, then I would question your statement about being a Roman Catholic. He is pro-abortion, a position non-negotiable by the Church.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Annie, that would be Cafeteria Catholic, not Roman Catholic.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • annie

      Gene church, there are very few catholics that support all parts of the catholic church. By your comment, there are probably zero catholics.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • douglas

      Hey Gene. WAKE UP. You choose your president based on some outdated edict set forth by a ruler sitting 5,000 miles from our shore. There are lots of things non-negotiable in your church. Ever use a condom? Get a vasectomy? Does/did your wife or daughter use the pill? Do you go to mass on EVERY holy day?

      A la carte catholocism at its best, just like every other Catholic I know.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Bob

      You're only kidding yourself – you cannot call yourself a Catholic and at the same time support somebody who has declared war on American Catholics. Wake up and smell the coffee.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Ian

      I'll vote for Obama. I'll go to mass. And I'll sleep well at night. There is no "war on American Catholics".

      February 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Gene Church

      ian, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is clear what the Church's position is on this. That makes you merely a Catholic in Name Only, or a Cafeteria Catholic.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • catholicreligionteacher

      Annie and Douglas, I'm sorry to hear that you've never met a Catholic who actually believes and follows what the Church fully teaches (really, I think that's a shame, and I truly wish you'd have the chance to meet one or two or hundreds of them because they ARE out there).

      That all said, I feel compelled to ask you, why even claim to be "Catholic" in the first place if you don't believe some of the Catholic Church's most essential teachings on morality? Why not be Anglican or Unitarian or something else?? Seems like you two might be contributing to the problem of people only knowing "Catholics" who are actually just cafeteria Catholics.....

      February 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Chris

      Gene: The Catholic Church at one point held that the earth was flat, and everyone that disagreed as a heretic. Tell us again about who the "true" Catholics are?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Chris

      Gene, annie and the rest of the fundie crowd: Read canon law. There's a provision for conscience that trumps any dogma that your local bishop throws at you. And frankly these days, my conscience is in severe disagreement with almost everything being handed down from the Vatican.

      If you believe bishops are infallible, then you believe that pedophiles deserve to be protected and hidden by the Church. Like Ian, I disagree – and we're in good company. There has often been horrendous leadership by the Church, and I guarantee you that it isn't God requiring you to go down on your knees and kiss those rings. Wake up, and stop being sheep.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Chris

      Oops, sorry Annie. I roped you in with the wrong crowd. Glad you're the saner kind that can think for themself.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Michael M.

      As I understand it, Obama is not pro-illegal abortion. He's pro-choice but doesn't like abortions or the reasons they arise.
      He doesn't like abortions and I am the same way, but we both have the strength to allow women to have a say in what goes on in their bodies and realize that a clump of cells is not a fully-formed human and does not have any rights of its own for exactly that reason.
      A clump of cells is not a person.
      And until it reaches a point where there may be the beginnings of what we could loosely call a "person" it will remain a clump of cells without person-hood.
      That is the well-reasoned view of the courts and it is a good one.
      Catholics are often skewed in their views because of their definition of person-hood given by the psychological warfare arm of the Vatican. A fertilized cell has become a ridiculous and unsupportable definition of "person-hood" for the sole religious reason of trying to support the idea of "immaculate conception" and THAT is why Catholics are being so unreasonable.

      That is their whole reason for saying they have "skin" in the game. If there were no "immaculate conception" Catholics would not be killing doctors and nurses and acting like fanatics just one step away from strapping on some explosives and seeking a crowd of "unbelievers" or starting another Inquisition. That's how extreme their media campaign has been against ANY idea of removing a clump of cells. A clump of cells. That's all it is until it becomes a person. You cannot mix the two no matter how much your religious leaders tell you different.

      And might I just point out that some Catholic religious views of person-hood is not shared by most people even within their own religion. That's why we have a Const.tution. It is the Supreme Law and NOT your particular religious text.
      Either learn to live with other religions or we'll put you in prison for violating the rights of other people.
      Follow the Law or prove to everyone that such a thing as your god exists, that he views this clump of cells the way you do, and that he wants the laws in this country to reflect that.
      Since you can't do anything like that, I guess you'll just have to FOLLOW THE LAWS even if they VIOLATE YOUR RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION because......your religious expression might be one that seeks to violate the rights of other people whether by violence, oppression, or bigotry.
      THAT is why we have the Constltution and why we even have a country where you can make a fool of yourself freely as long as you do not violate the rights of others. The RULE OF LAW lets ALL people live in relative peace together.
      If you do not want to live together with people who violate your religion even though they may not follow it IN THE FIRST PLACE-- then MOVE to a different country where your religion IS the law....

      ...because it sure isn't the law around here. This is the USA people! YOU follow YOUR religion and do not break ANY of this country's LAWS because that is what makes us a country and not a bunch of feuding states all hating each other's religious views.
      That is why "State's rights" are not the Supreme Law, but only the Const.tution is the Supreme Law, and why you should not ever vote for Ron Paul or anyone who seeks to destroy our government and our Union of States...United together and not tiny separate countries.
      Obama is not pro-abortion because there is legal abortion and non-legal abortion. Legal abortion is legal for the very reason that it makes sense and is properly the decision, however casual or not, by the woman involved in each case and no one else's business what decision she makes because it is her body and no one else's. The clump of cells is not another person growing, but a clump of cells that hasn't reached that point yet.
      /rant

      February 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Douglas, I take my dictates from someone a lot further away than 5000 miles, and that is from God. And no I haven't. But even if you have, that does not mean that I should be forced to have to pay for your abortions or contraception, or that Catholic Charities should have to provide the "benefits" to its employees.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • AnaSaenz

      I am voting for Obama too. And yes, I am Catholic too.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Ana, "No womb=no opinion" Doesn't sound too Catholic to me.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Gene Church

      Chris, I have read the catechism, and you are misinterpreting conscience. You must have a well formed conscience, and to decide that something that is inherently evil is good establishes that it CANNOT be well formed.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • KCRick

      Michael M. – a clump of cells. Is that what you call a third trimester abortion? The Book of Psalms states "I knit you in your mother's womb."

      February 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  18. jja

    Obama is a hopeless joke – your religious beliefs and leanings are non relevant to that fact. This is just one more in a long, sad list of his failures, blunders and mistakes. Four years ago, he was a big question mark – just smoke and mirrors and a flashy smile. Today, there is no excuse in voting for him a second time. You know what he is and what his "plans" are............

    February 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Nokrad

      No, I don't know what his "plans" are. Since you think you know so much about his "secret agenda", why don't you fill me in?

      February 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • jamesKs

      No tell me?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • ﺶCHEﺶ

      Nope!
      So far you haven't made any intellectual sound argument(s) to support anything other than your hate for Prez. Obama, his God Given looks and telling us he has NO Right to smile. All you're conveying as a hateful person by Birth is that his God Given smiles disarms you and you don’t like. Only someone with Satanic induced tendencies will find his smiles very offensive. Your silliness and stupidity is self-evident! Eat your satanic heart out for there’s nothing you can do about it. Hey, I saw the Devil; Dick Cheney smile on TV many times and that didn’t bother me one little bit. Seek some education to help mankind.
      Whew some people!

      February 2, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  19. Timmy

    The majority of Catholic women, of childbearing age, in the US Do use birth control. What Wuerl thinks, and what "the church" thinks are two entirely different matters. The problem is that the Roman hierarchy is still stuck in the Middle Ages, and they think they have to tell the "stupid faithful" in the pews what to think, and do. When and if they decide to start treating educated adults like adults, the flight from the RC church might reverse. Don't hold your breath.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Tim, what "Catholic" women of childbearing age, and what the Church thinks, are two entirely different matters. The problem is that others are trying to tell the Church what it will think and do. They have the right to have their beliefs. They do not have the right to tell Catholics what to believe.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Timmy

      No one is "telling Catholics what to believe", (and anyway they ALL believe many many different things). I do not necessarily agree with the Obama move, BUT, it is very hypocritical of the Romans to scream about abortion, and then attempt to prevent the ONE thing that would do the most, (other than total abstinence), to prevent them. The Roman church's se'xual morality is TOTALLY inconsistent, (saying the defining piece of a "moral" decision is "intention", and then saying the "rhythm method" is OK....etc etc. It's all based on Thomisic "natural law", which philosophy has thrown out 300 years ago.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Timmy, you are wrong about the basis, but that is irrelevant. Even if you were right, the Church has the right not to support contraception or abortion, and the Government has no right to force them to give free contraception and abortion to others.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • savvy

      Timmy,

      A lot of Jews/Muslims don't observe Kosher/Halal. This does not give the government the right to decide if they should or not.

      Your other statements are just plain ignorant. NFP/NaproTechnology is not the Rythm method.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  20. Gene Church

    Catholics United is NOT to be confused with Catholics United for the Faith, which follows Church policy and doctrine. Catholics United and James Salt-Don't.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • TimH

      Are they affiliated with the Judean People's Front or the People's Front of Judea?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • douglas

      Gene, again, your wrong. If any Catholic affiliated school or hospital takes one penny of Federal money, then all bets are off. You MUST obey Federal law.

      No one is making the Catholic church change their rules. But, you can't have it both ways.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Douglas, YOU don't get it. As the article says, "new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy requiring all employers, including religious ones, to pay for FDA-approved contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and Plan B, through health insurance plans. Churches are exempt but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, 2012, but religious groups who oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to enforce the policy." That is ALL employers, including Catholic Charities.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • AnaSaenz

      Gene Church – you are the one who does not get it. There are many women who work for Catholic affiliations and are not Catholic. Why should they not be allowed to get contraception. And even if they are Catholic, it is the right of a woman to decide if she wants to use it or not. You keep repeating the same lines over and over but you are not convincing anyone. Just remember, no womb=no opinion

      February 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Ana, you can go get your contraception, but don't ask the Church to pay for your heresy. No womb, no opinion? I didn't know that was where your brain was located.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • D. Clemens

      Keep fighting Gene, you are right. Being a true Catholic today means you are greatly hated by society. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • manyote

      "No womb, no opinion? I didn't know that was where your brain was located."

      Wow, that sounds very Christlike there Gene(ocide)! Is your last name really "Church" or are you just being puny? Because if it is, I think that it's gone to your head.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.