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Is Obama losing the Catholic vote?


E MARRAPODI

Source:
CNN
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/1/2012

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ABSTRACTIs Obama losing the Catholic vote? – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs Home | Video | NewsPulse | U.S. | World | Politics | Justice | Entertainment | Tech | Health | Living | Travel | Opinion | iReport | Money | Sports NYC wants to ban ‘dinosaur’ from tests My Take: ‘Stand your ground’ laws invite killing 4 big myths of Book of Revelation The 7 reasons Catholics leave church WWJD on health care reform? Religion as justification for slavery My Faith: Writers on what they’ve learned Richard Dawkins: Come out, atheist lawmakers Opinion: Mitt, embrace America’s faith Why Jimmy Carter wrote a study Bible Why Jewish dead are flown to Israel Facing death, pastor rethinks Christianity Colbert’s chaplain: Jesus was funny What people talk about before they die The nation’s ‘it’ Mormon girl What’s in Jefferson’s secret Bible? Explain it to me: John 3:16 Santorum: Reversing JFK on faith and politics Mitt Romney’s faith journey My Take: 3 biggest Biblical misconceptions The risks of speaking 'Christianese' The atheist way through Alcoholics Anonymous 10 things Belief Blog has learned Actually, that's not in the Bible Onetime priest crusades for church’s victims Learning to stop 'praying away the gay' Click to watch video February 1st, 2012 09:23 PM ET Share this on: Facebook Twitter Digg del.icio.us reddit MySpace StumbleUpon Share Comments ( 2,728 comments ) Permalink Tweet 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. ".......