Joe Biden is Catholic. He wears the religion on his sleeve and has no problem talking about it when asked. It’s not a contradiction to point out that he also generally supports church/state separation and holds views on abortion and marriage equality that are more in line with Catholics in the pews rather than Catholics in the Vatican hierarchy. But he is Catholic — the kind of president who attends weekly Mass.
Most Americans know this. A new survey released today by the Pew Research Center finds that 58% of Americans could tell you Biden’s religion with no prodding or help. But the nature of whether he’s a True Catholic ™ depends on who you ask.
Among Democrats for example, 45% of them say Biden is “very religious” while another 43% say he’s “somewhat religious.”
But among Republicans, only 7% say he’s “very religious” while only 29% say he’s “somewhat religious.” 63% of Republicans say Biden is varying degrees of not religious… which is objectively not true.
A similar difference can be found even among Catholics alone. 89% of Catholics who vote for Democrats accept Biden’s Catholicism. Only 43% of Republican-leaning Catholics feel the same way.
Or how about this contentious question: Should Biden, who supports abortion rights, be allowed to receive communion in Church? 87% of Catholic Democrats say yes, presumably because most of them are in the same boat. Only 44% of Catholic Republicans feel the same way.
The bottom line is that a hell of a lot of Republicans refuse to accept Biden’s Catholicism using the same twisted logic they used to deny President Obama‘s Christianity; no amount of facts will convince them otherwise. It all goes toward delegitimizing a Democratic president… even though, this time, they’re discounting Biden’s faith in a way that would also apply to millions of other self-described Catholics.
Things get even worse when you ask Americans about Kamala Harris. They have no idea what religion she is. (She’s Baptist.) Only 12% of Americans correctly said she’s Protestant; 65% said they weren’t sure at all.
It’s not surprising that there’s a lot of religious ignorance when it comes to Biden and Harris; it’s troubling, though, that many of the same Republicans who have spent decades telling us religion matters when it comes to a president are dismissive of a religious president when they don’t like his politics. Even when they acknowledge he’s Catholic, they dismiss how devout he really is. Why do that? Because if a president isn’t the right religion — or any religion at all — it’s much easier to whip the conservative base into a frenzy.
The fact is Biden, by any measure, is more religious than Donald Trump ever claimed to be. But the same kind of people who defended Trump’s Christianity are working even harder to deny Biden’s Catholicism.
(Screenshot via YouTube)