Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
In the the bizarro Veep debate last night, the candidates were asked how their mutual Catholic faith informs their views on abortion.
Rep. Ryan answered that his view that one cannot reasonably separate their privately held belief from their public view. He then said he is pro-life not only because of his Catholic faith, but also because of reason and science. I cannot tell you how much I like that part of his answer.
He then went on to say that the Romney administration would oppose abortion except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. He clarified later that his principle is that all life begins at conception, but the the policy position of the Romney administration would support the exceptions.
Ryan clearly understands that the policy does not match the principle, but obviously Governor Romney believes that a policy without exceptions is not achievable at this time. That is a debate for another time, but Ryan fairly defends the reason, science, and the Church's teaching on when life begins.
Vice President Joe Biden, on the other hand, attempts the Mario Cuomo two-step (personally opposed publicly pro in a simple 4/4 rhythm.) Quoting in full.
My religion defines who I am, and I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who -- who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to -- with regard to abortion, I accept my church's position on abortion as a -- what we call a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life.
But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the -- the congressman. I -- I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women they can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I'm not going to interfere with that.
So Joe Biden accepts as a "de fide" tenet of the faith that life begins at conception, but that it is perfectly ok to take that innocent life. Yet Biden would take myriad other positions that do not rise to the level of 'de fide' pronouncements and happily impose them on everybody.
Joe Biden's position is as disingenuous as his smile.
You cannot possibly really believe that life, innocent human life begins at conception and support abortion on demand. It is not possible. Paul Ryan tried to undercut this ridiculous duplicity before Biden even answered but it skittered right off his teflon intellect and bounced right off his kevlar conscience. It is the worst of lies, but the once pro-life Biden does not care, after all he is the same man who danced for joy when his support for Justice Souter resulted in the Supreme Court upholding abortion in Casey. You do not dance for joy if your personal belief is that life begins at conception.
One thing is true, however. Joe Biden does not want to impose the tenets of Catholicism on anyone, especially himself.