Vice President Joe Biden’s selective separation of church and state

Social justice and abortion: the sword and shield in the vice president’s war of words.

Vice President Joe Biden: Photo Credit--Richiec on Flickr

In a rather spectacular display of irony earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden blasted the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), which seeks to dramatically reduce federal spending, as a “contrary to the social doctrine” taught by the Catholic Church to which he belongs.

That’s a gross oversimplification – you can see Ryan (who is also Catholic) defend his budget’s Catholic principles here, but the short version is that the faith’s call to care for the needy is not a mandate to support any specific government method of delivering aid. True Christian charity is giving your own time and money to a cause, not just casting a vote to have someone else handle it.

But the real kicker, as Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey notes, is that this lecture on how to be a good Catholic politician is coming from someone who rejects his church’s call to recognize and protect life in the womb – an imperative which is far less ambiguous than Biden’s conception of social justice. Catholicism requires believers to support federal funding for specific government programs, but not legal protection for the most defenseless of God’s children?

Biden excuses his abortion disobedience by claiming he can’t impose his personal religious beliefs upon a pluralistic nation. But when it comes to a much flimsier application of Catholic teaching, the VP has no qualms about imposing his beliefs on public policy and bashing politicians for not living up to his standards. Does the separation of church and state apply only when there are inconvenient children to be disposed of?

In truth, pro-abortion politicians like Joe Biden couldn’t care less about what values they impose on anybody, religious or otherwise. To them, rhetoric is a mere tool to be used whenever and however it’s advantageous to do so, consistency be damned. With social justice it’s a sword to attack with; with abortion it’s a shield to hide behind, pretending the decision to keep abortion legal is out of their hands.

Admittedly, there’s a great deal of real disagreement over many aspects of theology, and well-meaning people can come to different conclusions on plenty of issues. But the sanctity of the children God knows in the womb is not an issue where the Catholic Church leaves any doubt. Moreover, the faithful can’t arbitrarily pick and choose when to check their values at the door…or subordinate the language of piety to their own personal ambition.

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