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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 • Politics

soundoff (2,744 Responses)
  1. durundal

    lets face it, of course the catholics are angry – priests dont need it because they cant knock up altar boys, and the masses are so backwards and deliberately and dogmatically brainwashed, that its like shooting fish in a barrel

    February 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Travis P

      As a democrat Catholic I must admit I have been suprised at the amount of anti Catholic bigotry being espoused by supporters of the President on this issue. I guess, I should say former democrat, this has swayed me.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Is this the first time you are seeing it? Why couldn't you see it before? It's not only Catholics - it's all Christians. Especially on this BLOG.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • J.C.

      Travis, there is a surprising amount of anti-Catholic (and anti-Semitic) strains of thought within the modern Democratic Party. Returning back to their roots, I guess.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Richard Dawking

      @Travis, so, you are basing your vote based upon the fact that a majority of Democrats don't believe in invisible people ? You are EXACTLY the type of idiot that the original poster was referring to.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Turning to far-left godless socialism, i.e., Communism. The USSR was only one form of it .. Castro is another (Cubans are starving). Several Latin models .. certainly Mexico has a big Communist element (contrasted with Spanish Colonialism and/or dictatorship). Africa is Islamic and Communist. Europe (failing) is extreme socialism. The USSR has failed (miserably) and so has Chinese Communism (so they became capitalists).

      February 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      You know, the recent physical attacks against the Jewish community are very troubling. I've heard throughout many circles that anti-Semitism is again on the rise globally.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • nunya

      @Richard Dawking:

      What he was referring to is the anti-Catholic bigotry... this is very similar to say anti-Semitism. So a group of people you used to belong to expresses that they don't like people who are like you. You leave said group. That makes you an idiot? Richard, you appear to be the idiot here – espousing he/she should stay in a group of people that don't like him/her.

      As for the rise in anti-Semitism, yeah, I think it is on the rise. I think anti-God is on the rise, the world 'round... so is Socialism and an overall embracing of man-kind's animalistic side... Too bad I think, since the higher functionings of the human brain are what have given us so many advances in life, science, religion, philosophy, the arts, .... basically so many advances in our Existance... oh well... Hope this 'boat' turns itself around soon....

      February 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  2. ajgorm

    You know i have been thinking lately about all the comments I have read. I start thinking about Abe lincoln and what he would of been thinking about all these comments if he were alive today. You must be freaking.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      I think he would agree that Const. law is at stake here, rights protected by the 1st Amendment.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Abe Lincoln may have been the best president ever. He was certainly a great leader. But given the immense instant communication today men like Abe Lincoln (with principles and values) could never be elected (to any office). What gets elected today are images and snap shots. It has been difficult since JFK and LBJ but since the millennium it is beyond comprehension. It is a challenge for marketing and business management as well. Digital electronics may well reshape the entire fabric of American culture.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  3. Ridgeway

    Here's a clue for you Obama lovers. Using Catholic taxpayer money violates the separation of Church and State doctrine. If you're a Catholic and pro Obama you need to convert to something more flexible that suits your ethics and morals. Don't ask me to pay the way for some fat Jerry Springer Show hefer to get an abortion.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • realistic_voter

      So by that same assertion, the Catholic schools should immediately stop lobbying for tax-payer funded vouchers.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      If you have a brain and are pro-Obama you need to develop your brain. You now have four years of total failure on just about everything as evidence. Back in 08 you could claim you did not see it. Now you absolutely know. Only the stupid or the insane can overlook his dismal failure on every thing he has done

      February 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  4. IntlPol101

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court. I suspect a ruling in favor of the Church, because their 1st Amendment rights are being violated by this Federal insurance mandate

    February 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • J.W

      I don't see how the first amendment rights or violated just because they have to provide the same insurance that everyone else has to its employees. If they want, they can fire employees who use birth control.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      The 1st Amendment protects religious freedom, and any mandate violating religious beliefs is clearly unconst.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      I really think they'll file suit for this one, they have a very solid case under Const. law.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • J.W

      It does not violate religious beliefs. In fact it is the other way around. It prevents employers from being able to deny coverage for religious reasons.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • BRC

      The Church doesn't have First Amendment rights. Churches don't have any rights. PEOPLE have First Amendment rights. So, if a representative of a Church tries to take this to court, I see them getting laughed out of the room.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Windy City Al

      The Catholic church wants the "religious freedom" to deny equal health insurance to its non-Catholic employees. It's not the government that taking people's rights away, it's the Catholic church.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      Jw, I don't agree. Ask any Const. law professor about this one. The employees are free to file an anti-discrimination suit if they choose, but the 1st Amendment rights violations case will be settled in court first.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • J.W

      Personally I am against war, but I still have to pay taxes, which partly go to fund war. Some people are against smoking, but insurances still pay for lung cancer patients. That is just the way things work. The government cant just accommodate every persons belief

      February 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Windy City Al

      To IntlPol & others: the first amendment protects the right to practice one's religion, not the right to impose it on others.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      Look it up in a Const. law book at your local library.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      The Catholic Dioceses are being forced to pay for something that the violates the beliefs of the Church.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • BRC

      @IntlPol,
      Okay, I see where we disagree. You feel the Church's beliefs are Consttutionally protected. I do not. I'm affraid that's a disagreement we're not going to get past, I'll stop bothering you.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  5. Windy City Al

    Personally, I'm tired of the Catholic church or any other religious pressure group trying to impose its version of morality on the rest of us. The USA is about freedom and liberty, not religious dogma.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      Exactly. Which is why the Catholic Church's religious freedoms should be protected under the 1st Amendment.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Travis P

      Thank you IntlPol101! I'm not an anti contraception Catholic. I'm a pro 1st amendment one. Where is the ACLU on this one?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • KPATL

      I am tired of the left wing trying to impose their sense of morality ( or lack thereof) on Me! You dont have to go to Church or subscribe to their teachings,.. but everyone eventually will need to go to a Hospital. Keep your beliefs on contraception out of their Hospitals. After all, even with their failings.... the Catholic Church, Feeds the Poor, heals the sick, and Educates the world,... what does your Church do? yeah,.. nothing...

      February 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      Thanks Travis, I think most people are missing the point here. Const. rights have to be protected, period. The employees are free to counter with anti-discrimination if they choose, but I don't think it would get that far.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • BRC

      @KPATL,
      Wrong, the Hospital doesn't haev to perform any procedure it doesn't agree with, just pay for it for their employees.

      @Travis, INTPOL,
      I don't think you know how the Consttution works. People= rights. Churches/Businesses/Organizations= Nope, they are only garnered considerations when actions against them would affect people's rights.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      BRC, representatives of the Church can file suit.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      OR a group of Diocese can also file suit.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • BRC

      @INtlPOl,
      But since those individual's rights (the representatives for the Church or the Diocese), the will lose. Until this law tells a PERSON, one single individual "YOU MUST USE CONTRACEPTIVES" or soemthing equivalent, there is no case. representaives can plea the case of the larger organization, but the greater priority of individual freedoms should beat it every time.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      They have a very solid case. However, as I've repeated twice now, the employees can counter with an anti-discrimination case afterwards if they so choose.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  6. stephanie

    "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"
    CNN – get your facts straight. There were 500,000 people at the March, very newsworthy and yet you didn't cover the march AT ALL, but CSPAN did. http://www.c-span.org/Events/39th-Annual-quotMarch-for-Lifequot/10737427369/
    Faithful church-going Catholics are highly opposed to this. Obama is over-reaching in his executive power. Even if you are in favor of contraception, (which I am completely against – and no, contraception doesn't prevent abortion...one only need to look at NYC's 41% abortion rate in 2010), you should support the fact that this is an infringement on our religious liberty as Catholics, guaranteed by the first amendment. The religious exemption is SO narrow that it requires Catholic hospitals to provide contraception and abortifacients (call Plan B what it really is) to their employees – something we don't even offer our patients because it is against our Catholic beliefs. Essentially the president is saying we have 1 year to comply with something our Church will not change (and rightly so – whether you disagree with that or not isn't the point). It is my religious freedom today...it may be yours tomorrow.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • KPATL

      Very true

      February 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Dave

      stephanie, you are a hateful little breeding bunny rabbit aren't you?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  7. KPATL

    One more step closer to the Obama Nanny state, pushing a far left ideology that has made our country more divided than ever before. Gallup has called him the most polarizing President ever,,,.. yes , even more than GW. The fact that Obama is responding to this is because it Will affect his reelection chances. This may just have doomed him. Thank God!

    February 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Windy City Al

      It's the right-wing hate parade that's dividing our country, not the President.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Ordinary Guy

      .. and the Right Wing Wall Street giants are backing Romney, who has ties to the finance industry. The Right Wing is so currupt it is sickening.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  8. Joe T.

    Can anybody provide me with one good reason why religions should be tax exempt?

    February 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Richard Dawkins

      You are singing my song now. Tax exemption because of an uneducated delusional belief in invisible people. its beyond absurd.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Windy City Al

      Churches don't want to pay taxes. But they sure want the local fire, police, and ambulance services to respond to them just as quick.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Richard Dawkings

      @Windy, I wonder why God doesnt just step in and save the church going ill people? They shouldn't need an ambulance.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • nunya

      Ideally it's to keep church and state separated. Imagine if say the Catholic Church was required to pay taxes... it'd be a financial burden on The Church.... but that axe swings both ways. With all those taxes, The Church would be a very nice revenue source – giving them clout w/ regards to politicians and various state policies... "Well, we don't like your policies, so we're going not going to establish ourselves in your community/county/state/etc.."

      While it kinda sucks for the rest of us non-exempt people, it's probably for the best.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • J.W

      The money that churches receive have already been taxed. People have paid their income taxes on that money.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Joe T.

      @nunya, as opposed to now? Are you kidding me? Religion has been influencing policy for as long as there has been policy.

      @J.W.: You do know this includes property taxes? They get tax-free land. Have you seen some of these church properties? They would be worth a fortune in taxes.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  9. TN

    54% of the Catholic voted for President Obama, Vice President, US Senate members, US Congress members, and people support the “culture of death” are against GOD. Do not waste your Time And Energy to tell them because they WANT TO GO HELL. HELL IS WAITING for THEM

    February 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Joe T.

      And here I thought God was the judge. Have no fear, TN is on the case!

      February 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • durundal

      and the whackos have arrived

      February 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  10. markiejoe

    Catholics voting for a Mormon for President? This I gotta see.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • dionysus

      Not only a Mormon, but a center-right Mormon who has been pro-choice and would probably also be for this piece of legislation.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • LayneP

      Sorry, Romney would not support this legislation. Plain and simple, as a Governor Romney vetoed stem cell research and a morning after pill requirement for pharmacies and more in favor of life. He has also recently spoken out about this very issue in favor of religious freedom. So no, he would not support this.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      People don't usually vote based on their particular religion. In recent years it hasn't been a factor in any election. But if 54% of that demographic voted for you in a previous election, you should prob. be a little bit more considerate of that group's religious beliefs.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • nunya

      If it's between him and Obama... this Catholic is gonna "vote mormon": hook, line, and sinker. Although I'd prefer to see a Paul / Obama matchup instead. Something about a socialist-minded Obey-ma vs someone intent on people having Freedoms in "The Land of the Free" gives me hope we'll choose to live free...

      February 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Tom Hencke

    Which group of Catholics is he losing? The anti-abortion, anti-birth control folks haven't (and weren't) ever going to vote for him. These "catholics" are firmly in the Republican party ... no matter what Obama does and no matter how many executions and wars are initiated by their GOP friends. I am confident average Catholics will take a reasoned look at the issue and decide for themselves, based upon what works in their own lives.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Travis P

      He lost one in me. Its not that I'm anti contraception, its that I'm pro first amendment.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • KPATL

      WARS like the one in Libya? Yeah,.. that was a GOP war,.. definitely,.. Hillary is a GOP'r no doubt..

      February 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • BRC

      @Travis,
      Please explain to me how this violates the First Amendment.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • IntlPol101

      BRC, religious freedom, as a 1st Amendment right, is the cornerstone of the Const.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • BRC

      @Intlpol,
      Correct, religious freedom for individuals. how does this bill affect individual people's religious freedom? I get taht it affects businesses, which aren't protected, but how does it affect people?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  12. dustbunny44

    The Pope lost the Catholic vote decades ago when the church came out against birth control. The law does not force anyone to use it or not use it, but it makes it available to those who choose to use it. If your religion clashes with the law that makes services available to everyone, you're perfectly welcome to run your hospitals and clinics without government money.
    Seems like Catholics are not about personal piety, but about forcing you to do what someone else thinks is right.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • stephanie

      The government has always incorporated religious exemptions – Quakers, Amish, etc. – in their legislation where needed. Why can't Obama do so in this case? It is completely against the 1st amendment.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  13. Mike

    It's not just this, it's also the government's requiring Catholic adoption agencies to include gays in their pool of singles or couples. What right does the government have to interfere in the decisions of private companies like this?

    February 2, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • MSL58

      Would you also be in favor of letting private companies refuse to hire Blacks?

      February 2, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • dionysus

      Anti-discrimination legislation is nothing new. Companies can't refuse to serve a black man and adoption agencies shouldn't be able to refuse a gay couple just because they're gay.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Jamie

      What right does any company, religious or not, have to deny basic health coverage and discriminate?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • RunsWithScissors

      They can do whatever they want as soon as they start paying tax.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  14. liz

    The health care bill is not an attack religion what the Catholic Church does not tell you is a majority of Catholic's use birth control and do not want the Church in their bedrooms.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  15. Mbane

    This is ridiculous! Any Catholic will vote for the guy who cares for people, not the guy who cares about his rich friends. Sure times are touch, but no real catholic will vote for a party more interested in starting war, selling weapons and stealing oil while killing for it and contributing to the total collapse of the economy and blocking policies that could have a beneficial social impact for helthcare for example.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • BrotherAustin

      amen.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Scott

      I agree. No catholics should vote for a Democrat. They don't care about the people, since they murder 3 million human babies annually. They are more interested in selling illegal weapons to Mexican cartels to be used against our citizens (Fast and Furious). And they only care about the wealthy (see Obama's distribution of more than $1 trillion of stimulus money to his wealthy "enablers"). Obama in gone in November.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  16. CatholicsUnited?

    I hate when organizations try to mislead you as to what their intentions are. This "non partisan"organization is strictly a left wing outfit which pretends to hide behind the Catholic Church. They have no affiliation with the Church. Don't act like you are speaking for Catholics. They are part of the Occupy Wall Street movemen, pro-union, and are working hard to reduce Mercury levels in energy production. That's fine, but DONT pretend to be a voice of the Catholic Church. I don't think there's one Bishop who would agree with Salt's comments.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • J.W

      Well I can see him being right. If there a fewer unplanned pregnancies then there are fewer abortions. So in a way contraception indirectly prevents abortion.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  17. Scott

    Why is the government giving any money to churches? That said, Catholics are generally hypocritical because most of them use birth control (you can tell the few that don't because they have 8-9 kids) even though, when they marry, they promise not to.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Mbane

      Another ridiculous assumption. Sure they use birth control so what? Marry and Joseph weren't even married but they had 7 kids. Not only that, the church doesn't take care or pay for kids people have so they have no say in what goes on in the bedroom. This is American Evangelicals being nuts again. There's a reason they ended up in this country after being kicked out of Europe.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • J.W

      When does the government give money to churches?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Kathy

      Scott. The Government doesn't support churches, It does give funds to religious universities and hospitals the same as any other school or hospital. I would also suggest that unless you have had intimate relationships with the majority of catholics in this country and know for a fact they all use contraceptives, please don't speak for us.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  18. SuZieCoyote

    Catholic Clergy – a bunch of celibate men, wearing dresses, who are terrified of and full of hate for women and want to control their bodies for the good of their coffers.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Richard Dawkings

      @SuZieCoyote, celibate men ? hardly. just ask the neighborhood 9 year olds.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  19. Cindy

    I am disappointed that the Catholic Bishops have joined the ranks of divisive leaders that seems to have a chokehold on our nation. Truth is, birth control is a huge issue for many Americans, and the best leadership understands that policies are often cast as wide nets rather than narrow ones. I was offended this past Sunday during Mass and am still shaking my head at the rhetoric.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  20. dionysus

    FFS, some of the Catholics on here just don't get it. He's not telling you what to do! He's not saying "you must use contraceptives", he's saying that for people that don't have your beliefs it should be covered. You're the ones forcing your beliefs on others, not the other way around!

    February 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • J.C.

      "He's not telling you what to do!"

      Unless you're providing jobs to other people. Right?

      February 2, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • dionysus

      @J.C. Yeah, and? We need anti-discrimination legislation.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • BRC

      @J.C.,
      Correct. An employer does not have the right to impose their beliefs on their employees.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • J.C.

      "An employer does not have the right to impose their beliefs on their employees."

      BRC, refusing to directly provide money for an employee's contraception is not the same as imposing a personal BAN on contraception as a basis for continued employment. There is no "imposition" of belief on an employee if that employee is still free (using their own money) to use contraception.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • J.C.

      I'll try using another hot button topic to illustrate my point. If an employer imposes a ban on firearms ownership for their employees, that would be an employer imposing their personal beliefs onto their employees. If an employer is forced by law to PURCHASE firearms for any employee that wishes to have one, that is an imposition on the EMPLOYERS beliefs.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • BRC

      @J.C.,
      Unless there is a law saying that all employers SHALL pay for contraceptives for their employees. If the businesses made the case that it was wrong for the government to tell them how to spend their money, I would be fine with their objection. But to say I don't want to pay for my employee to get this, because I don't agree with it even if they do, IS imposing your beliefs on someone else.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • BRC

      @JC,
      Except, the beliefs of the individuals are Consttutionally protected, adn far more important than the beliefs of the Corprate employer, which techinically is not. Also, you cannot fairly compair providing medical aid to providing guns,

      February 2, 2012 at 12:43 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.