Joe Biden said at October's vice-presidential debate that he would never "impose" his Catholic faith on fellow Americans, describing it as "personally" important to him but publicly irrelevant. This stance hasn't stopped him in the finals days of the campaign from imposing his self-serving version of the Catholic faith on voters. In a recent campaign ad, complete with images of the crucifix, a solemn Joe Biden presents himself as a "practicing Catholic" who serves an administration that advances the "values" of "Catholic social doctrine."
"Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me," says Biden in the ad, quoting Jesus Christ in a summary of those values. This would seem an ill-advised adage for an administration that subsidizes the killing of the unborn. A politician who stretches the category of the "least of these" to include Sandra Fluke but not unborn babies might want to avoid scriptural quotations.
According to Biden, religion doesn't belong in politics, but it is okay to insert politics into religion. Equating the platform of the Democratic Party with "Catholic social doctrine" and then imposing that phony equation on Americans is fine by him. This arrogant attitude comports perfectly with the Obama administration's view of the subordinate relationship between religion and the state: the religious exist to serve the interests of the state, but the moment they stop serving those interests the state can eliminate them from public life.
Under the HHS mandate, a priest who objects to free contraceptives can't descend from his pulpit to participate in public life; but a pro-abortion pol can ascend that same pulpit to preach liberalism and pander for votes. In a speech delivered from a pulpit at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee last June, Michelle Obama said that liberal political issues belong at church: "To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better, no place better." Translation: liberals reserve the right to harness the power of religion for their own purposes.
The German sociologist Max Weber used the term "caesaropapism" to describe the "complete subordination of priests to secular power." Liberalism advances a kind of Obamaopapism, a system in which religious organizations can only enter public life if they first agree to serve as conduits for state fiats. Under Obamaopapism, Biden can simultaneously reject Church teaching on abortion and gay marriage while identifying Obamacare, food stamps, and amnesty as the perfect expression of "Catholic social doctrine."
In the final stretch of the campaign, the Obama administration is scrambling for the pious and impious vote. It is at once the champion of supposed Catholic social doctrine and a loud proponent of a comically entitled hook-up culture. One day it rolls out a Joe Biden ad collaring Catholics; the next it airs an ad from Lena Dunham crassly appealing to college students. Dunham is the star of the HBO show "Girls," which is Obama's chief constituency it would seem. Dunham likens her first-time voting for Obama to a pre-marital deflowering, an analogy that she considers very flattering: "Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy. It should be with a guy with beautiful — someone who really cares about and understands women." This is as judgmental and discriminating as the hook-up culture gets: a suitable hook-up partner is not "just anybody" but a man who stands ready to pay for the used woman's contraceptives and abortions. Obama is that "great guy."
From the suffragettes to Lena Dunham is an inglorious ascent, culminating in a party that boasts Bill Clinton as its most popular figure and abortion as its most defining issue. The Life of Julia and the Life of Lena leave feminism in very sad shape. Yet Obama is counting on these degraded and reductive visions of women's issues to propel him to victory and to propel America "forward."
He still wouldn't want his daughters "punished with a baby" and apparently considers Sandra Fluke and Lena Dunham fitting role models for them. The Democrats don't even talk about "soccer moms" anymore. Only the "reproductive issues" of "girls" matter now. While Biden invokes the Golden Rule, Obama hails all the "progress" that has come from violating it.