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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. independent

    My wife and I, two active Catholics, are voting for the candidate who cares most about all Americans. The candidate whose secret prayer was:

    Lord, Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • bff

      Well..., who is it?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • smb

      bff–Obama, duh.

      Catholics can't vote for Newt because he is a serial adulterer. I mean, they wouldn't want to be hypocrits.
      And Santorum recently said if you are poor and can't afford your medicine that's just too bad for you.
      And of course we all know Romney's position on the poor.

      So if independent is voting for the candidate who truly cares about people then the only answer is Obama.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  2. Billy Davis

    Catholics will vote for our POTUS by the same numbers as before.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Gene Church

      We will see, but I doubt it.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  3. alison

    This Catholic democrat will not be voting for Obama.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • bff

      The bigger question is do you use birth control?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • woman

      Does this mean you're a one-issue citizen? Or is it everything else he has done to get this country back on track (with NO help from the Republicans) that you disagree with?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      There is a "swing vote" and in some ways that is the only bloc of voters who change. The straight ticket party loyals will vote straight party no matter what. (they do not care - their father and grandfather voted for that party) The swing vote is a very small group (less than 10%) .. just enough to tip an election one way or another. The swing vote is generally YOUNG, not party affiliated, urban, an employee, not too religious and often swayed one way or another by some very strong issue like economics or war. The swing vote does not include intractable feminists, gay and lesbian, blacks, Latins, self employed, campus liberals (profs), unionists. How big is the swing vote this time? Why are they in the swing vote bloc? Will they stay home and not even vote? What rings their chimes?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • alison

      Bff – no and yes, I have lovely family

      Woman – not a one issue citizen – womb to tomb and all aspects and issues of life in between. I would say that includes many issues.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • smb

      Womb to tomb? Really?
      So you don't vote for candidates who support the death penalty?

      February 2, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  4. Debbie

    Poll after poll shows that pews are becoming more and more empty. Church's closing and religious schools too. Polls show that Catholic women take the pill. This issue is about a business ran by a religious organization. The government is not saying a Catholic must purchase birth control. The government is not prohibiting the Catholic Church from teaching their dogma. The Catholic Church is trying to control non-Catholics from using the pill. The Catholic Church is trying to force their dogma on non-Catholics. For the government to allow this would be a violation of the First Amendment.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • alison

      The non-catholics are free to choose not to make use of Catholic hospitals or schools or charities.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      Alison,
      And the Catholics are welcome to enjoy the benefits of the same science they deride. Isn't that nice for them?

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

      Debbie,
      The pews are becoming empty because religion is losing two of its major purposes – explaining nature and offering a perceived means of control. We now understand why the sun rises and how bacteria affects the human body. We control more aspects of our lives and know how to use the scientific method to solve problems and determine how things work, including nature. These days religion only has one purpose – to provide people with a justification for behavior they know is counter productive to civilization.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • alison

      Anagram kid – Catholics are pro science

      February 2, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • anagram_kid

      Alison,
      Does that include evolution?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • alison

      Anagram kid – Yes, it does. We believe in evolution.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • JP0

      They also believe that the Earth goes around the Sun, but it took them a while to get that one right.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • Gene Church

      Debbie, it is the Government forcing their rights on Catholics. As a Catholic, I should not have to pay for your abortion, or your birth control. In this country, and until now, you were free to pay for it, and I was free not to.

      jpo, seems the rest of the world had a problem with that earth and sun thing long after the Church got it figured out.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • smb

      So, allison, the woman who had to drive an extra 70 miles to the non catholic hospital with her child dying inside her simply because the catholic hospital would not help the miscarriage along-That's okay with you?

      If the church doesn't like this decision then they can get out of the medical field. They shouldn't be running hospitals if their beliefs are more important then saving someone's life.
      Much like they are getting out of the adoption business since their hate of gays is more important to them than helping children.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • alison

      Smb -Really -is that your best? Right because that's what Catholics do – let people die – that's why we have Catholic hospitals all over the country. How ridiculous that statement is and if all Catholic hospitals did need to close it would be sad to think you or anyone else would need to travel so far if they were in jeopardy.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  5. Michael

    Where in the Bible does Jesus himself mention anything relating to contraception? Where do these religious policies come from. It certainly isn't Jesus (which is what Christianity is supposed to be about). Jesus did say that we should pay taxes, though, but republicans don't want to hear that.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Tom

      "Thou shall not kill"

      February 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Michael

      First of all. Jesus never said that. That was one of the ten commandments. Second of all, describe logically how using the pill or condoms kills anybody. You can't kill a person who doesn't exist. I can understand people saying that a fetus or even a zygote is a person, but before that, there is no person. If you want to count sperm then every male on the planet is a murderer. If an egg is a person, then every female is a murderer. Provided they are fertile. Please explain to me your reasoning.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Michael M.

      A clump of cells is just a clump of cells. You KILL billions of cells every day. I guess we'd better arrest you, dumb-ass.

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

      Michael, if you really would like to understand, google humanea Vitea, it beautifully explains it.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Gene Church

      Michael, guess what? I don't have to explain it to you. It is sufficient that it is a part of my faith, and my Government is forcing me to change it. But throughout the Bible, believers are exhorted to Go Forth and Multiply, not Blessed are those that have one child.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • sigh

      Go Forth and Multiply! – yes, back in the Old Testament, when disease was rife and the population was relatively low. This was true in the New Testament as well, of course.

      Any good Biblical scholar will interpret a passage in line with its times, and the coming times are a world with far too many people in it. Do you really think it's God's will for us to continually multiply and eventually use up all the resources of the world, leaving the less fortunate starving and dying? I should note I don't believe that such calamities are anywhere near reaching the whole world, but I thought I'd point that out as it is a problem you can see right now in Africa, where there is virtually no birth control.

      Also most, birth control methods work by blocking the production of an egg or preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. If wasting an egg or sperm (which happens no matter what) is not a sin, what is wrong with these methods? I realize the main furor is over Plan B but it sometimes gets stretched to all contraceptives, something which I don't understand.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  6. Amalia Sheran Sharm

    The Catholic Church supported Franco and Hitler; courting their vote is a slap in the face to those who fought and died to keep this nation free.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Study your history better. You clearly know nothing. Franco was anti-Catholic, and the Church stood against Hitler.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • CN

      wrong, gene church. the holy see ordered the celebration of hitler's birthday every year. the very first concordant signed by national socialism was with the vatican.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • JOESIXPACKJR

      I CAN SEE THAT YOU ARE AN OPEN MINDED AND ENLIGHTENED PERSON, EXCEPT THAT YOU HATE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. MAYBE YOU SHOULD APPLY FOR A JOB WITH THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • robmel

      Gene is that why the HOLY ROMAN Catholic church turned its head while millions of Jews were gased during WWII. Read your history again.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Andrew

      Amalia,

      Actually not so much. #1. Hitler- yeah, no! Saying the Church supported Hitler is saying the Protestant Faith supported Hitler, Intellectuals Supported Hitler, etc... Surely some turned their backs on what was just and right and that is a blight on all humanity as all levels of humanity remained silent. But check your history- Catholics and the Catholic Church largely opposed Hitler, so much so that there were entire sections of concentration camps devoted to the extermination of Catholic clergy, bishops, priests, and sisters who spoke up. When the Dutch bishops opposed Hitler from every pulpit in the nation, Hitler was enraged and responded by doubling the numbers of Jews he rounded up. When the war ended the lead Rabbi in Rome converted to Catholicism. Why you ask, because he was moved by all Catholics and the Church did to save his people. Go back and read Jewish, secular and non-Catholic press for the decades that followed WWII and you will discover a much different story than you hear today. You will see that the consensus was that the Church acted and saved 100's of thousands of lives.

      As far as Franco is concerned remember the fact that Spain was divided into two extreme factions, neither worthy of praise. Franco did many horrible horrible things, but his opposition was equally if not more ruthless. Murdering anyone who disagreed with them on a larger scale than ever seen before. Many great Americans went to fight Franco and discovered that the Spanish Civil War was much more complicated than what they thought.

      What scares me is that so many people would seem more than happy to see the Church or religion forcibly wiped off the face of the earth. I for one would not for the very same reason I am disgusted by what Franco, Hitler, and Stalin did in WWII.

      What is a disgrace to the men and women who died protecting this country is to trample on Religious Freedom.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  7. blessings

    This is for roninaustin and every "one-issue" Christian. There is much, much that the Catholic Church teaches besides abortion. "Unjust war" is one issue and yet I'm sorry to say my Catholic Church didn't condemn the Iraq war. There are thousands who are in need of food and health care that don't have it and yet my Catholic Church is more interested in keeping contraceptives away from people. And, no we are not okay with abortion. We are against abortion. But, we will let God judge the person who chooses abortion. By the way, God's greatest gift to humankind? Free will!

    February 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Yes, the Church teaches many things. But some issues, like abortion,are non negotiable. You can't say, "I really like that Hitler's social policy, and economic plans, although I really don't like his Holocaust position" and be credible.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If abortion is non-negotiable for catholics, why are 28% of the abortions in the USA had by catholics?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom

      Sorry, there are a lot of things I might not like about the history of church but you are wrong. Do not spread false information: Pope spoke very clearly about his opposition to war. http://www.americancatholic.org/news/justwar/iraq/

      February 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Hotair, it is non negotiable because abortion is intrinsically evil. Because there are Catholics who have done things intrinsically evil does not therefore make it good. Ask Judas.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Gene Church, I didn't say anything about abortion being good or bad. The question was, if catholics believe abortion is non-negotiable, or intrinsically evil, why do so many catholics have abortions? Seems to me your cult's god(s) should be able to prevent your cult's members from doing something considered intrinsically evil.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:27 am |
  8. James

    I am a catholic and so is my wife and 3 children. Tthe Church teaching is wrong and should be changed. What is worse, contraception or unwanted pregnancies and/or abortion. I am happy that we chose contraception to limit the size of our family. I am very sure that most people including most catholics use contraception. Those who disagree will still have the choice of not using contraception even if this is offered free of charge.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Gene Church

      It is mighty difficult to say, "I am Catholic" and "The Church teaching is wrong" that close together. We don't have a choice, and nothing is free. Employers are being asked to forget their beliefs and pay for contraception, and the morning after pill (an abortion pill) for their employees.

      I suspect you would have a problem if the Government had told you that you had to have more children and pay for them.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Tom

      Seems to me you are cafeteria Catholic. So in reality you're not. BTW most contraceptive on the market work by aborting the human embryo ergo the are "silent" abortion. Don't listen to me though, read the bottle with the pills to see how they work.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Michael M.

      ""I suspect you would have a problem if the Government had told you that you had to have more children and pay for them.""

      That just happens to be EXACTLY what the Catholic Church is trying to FORCE EVERYONE TO DO!

      See how your religious fascism works? You act as oppressor and play the victim, you terrorize others and say you are helping them, you torture dying people and say it is good for them...in short, Catholics are following a truly fascist ideology.
      Better dig out those old Nazi flags, Catholics! It's time to march again as we can see here!

      February 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • anagram_kid

      James,
      Don't worry eventually the 'teachings' will change. The church has already made concessions to keep membership and will continue to do so because their primary goal is making money.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Gene Church

      anagram, the Church is certainly more consistent than you are.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  9. woman

    Would someone please tell the Catholic church that women are not baby-making machines. Disallowing contraceptives will directly lead to more and more unwanted children that the Republicans want nothing to do with once they're born.

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

      Would you, and others, quit telling Catholics that they have to pay for your licenciousness, your birth control, and your abortions?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • woman

      I sincerely hope YOU use birth control. I would not want too many of your kind of progeny running off at the mouth with no facts, and spouting prejudices. I am Catholic and gladly pay for my own healthcare. I would want nothing from the likes of you.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • jamesKs

      Gene.
      I bet your not getting any.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Gene Church

      James, I am certain it won't be from her. No birth control here, thank goodness. If woman wants to pay for her contraception and abortions, then there wouldn't be a problem. The problem arises because the Obama administration has decided that I, and the Catholic Church DO have to pay her way.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  10. steve chicago

    I am Catholic, and I am not supporting Obama. I can't do four more years of his BS. OMG (OBAMA MUST GO)

    February 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • streetsmt

      Don't get your hopes up that any other president would do better. As long as there is no super majority in the senate and house, nothing will ever get done.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Shayna

      OBAMA2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Charles Bowen

      Spoken like a true Catholic Whine , Whine ,Whine. Born and Raised Catholic Former Alter Boy and then enlightenment opened my eyes to the evil of this and all organized religion....Yo it's not your soul they want to save it's your money.....Passin the hat won't save the brat... Buddhas Blessing upon you .Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

      February 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Obama ran best in the liberal northeast. Are they voting liberal (Obama) because they liked the black messiah? Because they support unions (and Obama is their puppet)? Because they prefer welfare and socialism? It is hard for the rest of us to understand since it never makes a lot of sense. Now the San Francisco liberals vote that way because they are gay (so we get why they vote like they do). The Irish Catholics are no longer "ethnic" and neither are Italians, Poles or other European origins. Now ethnics are Latin, Asian and tan and red. (UCLA.. well also UCI) So which "appeal" is the one that makes the liberals vote?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Ben

      SORRY!!!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  11. robmel

    This is such a no brainer, to this problem.

    Make the birthcontrol coverage as an endorsement to the regular medical policy and have the person who is requesting this coverage, pay the full premium. When enrollment time comes around, do you not have choices that need to be made with the amount of coveage, your deductable and so forth. People who believe that Obama is singling out the Catholic Churcn on this one, is way off base. It is being required of all employers. But, the Catholic Church is making people who are of different faiths comply with their canon law, just because they are an employed by them. I would frankly call that opression in the workforce.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Southern Gentleman

      Please go find a job somewhere else. You have NOT read the first amendment.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Andrew

      Explain again how they are making non-Catholics comply? Are they checking their bedrooms? Are they searching their homes and taking blood tests? Oh wait, no they are not, they are just saying they won't pay for it. They are not making anyone comply, they are simply saying they will not be part of someone's immoral choices. Sounds pretty good to me.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Michael M.

      What if I think it's an immoral choice to give any government money to any religious organization in any way?

      That is what my conscience tells me. Is my conscience wrong? No. Catholics want to force the government into giving them free money for religious purposes. That is against the law.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • robmel

      How are they making non catholic comply with canon law, The chuch does not believe in any contraception. They have made a decision not to have that coverage in their policies due to their beliefs. I am a non catholic working at a catholic hospital, and I believe in birth control, by obtaining their health care that they offer, they are making me comply with canon against my will. They have made a choice for me, with out my consent, based on their own beliefs, not mine.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  12. HotaairAce

    This study suggests Obama might lose the votes of priests and nuns, but not of the average ctholic: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2011/04/13/index.html.

    "CONTRACEPTIVE USE IS THE NORM AMONG RELIGIOUS WOMEN

    Policies that Make Contraceptives More Affordable and Easier to Use Reflect the Needs of All Women, Including Catholics and Evangelical Protestants

    Contraceptive use by Catholics and Evangelicals—including those who attend religious services most frequently—is the norm, according to a new Guttmacher report. This finding confirms that policies making contraceptives more affordable and easier to use reflect the needs and desires of the vast majority of U.S. women and their partners, regardless of their religious beliefs."

    February 1, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Gene Church

      And, I suspect, a significant number of rank and file. Obama has underestimated. If he has not, then all of this is irrelevant. Time will tell.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  13. Haitianus

    Why so much anti-Catholicism? When there is no religion that is more about Loving one another than the catholic Church.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Michael

      Do Catholic leaders prefer Obama over Gingrich/Santorum/Romney/Paul? Because I believe he's the only one who devoted the early part of his life to helping poor people.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      As someone who was raised Catholic I can tell you that these people are the most hate filled, selfish, hypocritical people I have ever met. THE most evil person I have ever known was a nun. If it were not for the protection of the church, the physical and psychological abuse she doled out would have landed her in prison.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      No that is malarkey. There is a lot wrong with the religion but not the people themselves. Not the priests and nuns either - they just do their job and rather well.

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

      That's because you know nothing about Santorum. And I don't consider what Obama did to be help.

      He is clearly anti-Catholic, and anti-Christian, and won't get my vote.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      Gene Church,
      President Obama is not anti-Christian. In fact he chose to be a Christian. So what just posted is either wrong or a lie? Which is it? Are you uninformed or did you bear false witness?

      February 2, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Gene Church

      anagram, I posted correctly. His positions on abortion are inherently evil. They are, by his choice, anti-Catholic, and anti-Christian. He may call himself whatever he wishes, but calling a pig a princess doesn't give her a crown.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • MN

      Wow Gene, I have to say I no longer believe that you are catholic. Why you might ask? because apparently you think of yourself as god, why else would you get to declare who is and who isn't catholic???? It is not up to you to decide you self rightous fool. Not to mention, most people with a working brain already know about the "no true scotsman" fallacy and therefore, disregard all of your non sense.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  14. Mickey

    The Catholic Church supports Newt. Need I say anything esle about them?

    February 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Southern Gentleman

      Even I am astounded by your idiocy! The Catholic Church supports NO ONE. The church says to vote YOUR conscience. Newt is the Last person I could support. Really, you need to get a education before you type such bullcrap.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Eleanor McDonald

      Yeah, loving. Those Catholic priests sure love those little boys.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • HotaairAce

      If George is ok with Newt "The Fornicator" Gingrich, he should acceptable to all believers.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Gene Church

      Eleanor, you are bigot AND an idiot.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  15. musings

    Do you really think Catholics are that nuts about birth control and abortion? If Obama is losing people, it is due to economic hard times, and possibly the continuation of Bush policies including holding people without trial. Just because the hierarchy wants something, don't assume the churchgoers or members who don't go to church are going to fall into line. I think people realize that the hierarchy has been naughty in the past, and they have less authority.

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

      Good points.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • flatbushfred

      Absolutely right. Any Catholic "offended" by this action wouldn't have voted for Obama anyway. If he lost Catholics, it's for the same reason he's lost some others in other groups. This is nothing more than the Catholic hierarchy trying to leverage support of the faithful, which is not as strong as they would have you believe.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Gene Church

      flatbushfred, Catholic bishops who clearly supported Obama, and Democratic Congressmen who hopefully supported him, have spoken out against him on this issue. I suspect it is bigger than you think.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  16. Freak Watcher

    Tax the catholic church. I'm tired of subsidizing these freaks. I'm tired of their politics. I'm tired of their child abuse and abuse of women. They are like the freaking Taliban. Tax them like I'm taxed.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Southern Gentleman

      You do NOT subsidize the Catholic Church. They are self supporting and what tax money they receive is spent on services the government cannot cannot equitably provide. Get some education on the subject!

      February 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Michael

      If any organization takes in money to pay the salaries of their employees, then they should pay taxes. They should also have to follow the laws that any other business does. If they don't want to, then they shouldn't be making a profit off of their religion.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • anagram_kid

      Southern Gentleman,
      They are not spending their money on services, they are the wealthiest and largest land and art holders in the world. Have you ever been to the Vatican? Ever been to rural America or Mexico or the poorer sections of major European cities? The churches are always by far the nicest and most well maintained buildings in the area, usually with beggars out front.

      I don't think the guy that spoke about feeding the poor would have ever worn a jewel encrusted cope.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Greg

      Taliban, really??? Someone needs to be educated...also, child abuse is EVERYWHERE...not just in the catholic church...it is unfortunate, but true. You say tax the Catholic church...okay...well, separation of church and state...therefore, tax all Protestant churches, Jewish synagogues, Hindu temples, Islamic mosques...don't just signal out one denomination.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      The tax exempt status IS a subsidy.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • robmel

      Southern Gentleman

      If a Catholic Hospital (which I have worked at) accepts and treats Medicare and Medcaid Patients they are being subsided by the US GOVERMENT. The GOVERMENT IS PAYING FOR THEIR CARE, NOT YOU. So there fore the Catholic Chuch is recieving goverment monies.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Gene Church

      If we taxed the Church like you are taxed, someone would be paying their taxes too.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • JOESIXPACKJR

      SO MANY CNN SOUND OFFERS HAVE A TWISTED, NEGATIVE VIEW OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. CNN'S REPORTING ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS ALSO PREDOMINANTLY NEGATIVE. MAYBE CNN AND ITS READERS SHOULD REFLECT ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, THE GOOD THINGS THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHING FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS, AS WELL AS THE MILLIONS OF SINCERE AND HUMBLE MEMBERS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WHO ARE THEIR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  17. mabel floyd

    why write a post if you will not print them?

    February 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      Mabel,
      There is a "word" filter. It automatically blocks certain letter strings. It's a computer program. Look for "naughty" letter combos in the post. Example : "competi'tive" b r e a k up the letters.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Eleanor McDonald

      mabel, if you keep fucking around and posting the same old shit about how you'll show your frumpy tits on your webcam, of course CNN isn't going to publish your posts. Try posting something deep and meaningful, for example about the anal sex that George R. loves to receive instead.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      Eleanor,
      That was not nice. Most of us know how to do that, but maybe you should be nice to new people here.

      Welcome Mabel. I am interested in what you have to say.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      mabel,

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      Eleanor McDonald 👿 🙂

      mabel, there are some html tricks to get around it, but the -./, deal is easier.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  18. Terrence

    America should lose the Catholics.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • musings

      Uh-huh. Like decide to make one religion official and all the others illegal? Or maybe outlaw religion? Ever heard of the First Amendment?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Gene Church

      musings, Have you? The first amendment provides for freedom of religion, something this HHS regulation clearly usurps.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  19. Rob

    Religion is something you should feel inside of you not a view of another. The bible was written by mortal men not by god himself. Is a good story and that's as far as it goes. Let common sense rule. We can hardly support the number of people on the planet as it is. This is where common sense should take precedent over a 2000 year old plus belief, that has been kept alive over centuries, more for control and financial benefit than moral benefit, and allow all forms of birth control.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      Their tax exempt status IS a subsidy, genius.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  20. Clyde Farris

    What the Catholic church wants is the ability to discriminate against the employees of its church affiliated businesses. Custodians, nurses, clerks, receptionists, etc. should not be deprived of full medical coverage simply because the hospital, school, etc. by whom they are employed is affiliated with the Catholic church. If the Catholic church really wants to stand for its "principles" and avoid this rule, it can dissolve its corporations and operate its hospitals, schools, etc. directly and stop protecting itself from liability by hiding behind their corporate structures.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Southern Gentleman

      Shhhh! You have found us Catholics out! We want domination over all things! We are getting there by providing services to Non- Catholics, agnostics, and heaven forbid..... athiests! We ask for no money from you and do not attempt to force you to be Catholic to receive those services! we have educated millions without requiring them to be Catholic and gee whiz, is it ok that we try to be true to our faith by not providing abortion services or is that a violation of the 1st amendment?

      February 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
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About this blog

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.