Joe Biden is touting his Catholic faith as groups are hitting him on issues held near and dear to the faithful and opposed by the church, including religious freedom for nuns and abortion.
In an op-ed for the Christian Post, Biden wrote that his Catholic faith guides his policies, including wearing masks to defeat the coronavirus pandemic, rooting out systemic racism, ending the "evil of poverty," welcoming immigrants, and doing "everything in our power to ensure that all God’s children have the hope and future they so rightfully deserve."
In the vice-presidential debate, Kamala Harris said Biden would be the second practicing Roman Catholic president since JFK, as both campaigns seek to reach the key voting bloc in swing states.
Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, told Fox News Biden's candidacy has been confusing to Catholic voters "who believe that being Catholic is more than just another label."
“Joe Biden has campaigned on his Catholic faith while promising policies that contradict Catholic teaching and even threatening the Little Sisters of the Poor," McGuire said. "The Bishops Conference has warned of the devastating consequences of the Equality Act for religious liberty and for girls and women but Joe Biden supports it."
On the issue of abortion, which Biden didn't mention Thursday discussing his devout faith, Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, an anti-abortion organization, tweeted a clear-cut message to the Democratic nominee.
"You cannot claim to be a practicing Catholic and support the slaughter of children in the womb. To do so is heinous and despicable. And you cannot claim you 'didn’t know' when your faith, and basic moral law, is telling you loud and clear: You shall not kill," Rose wrote.
Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, a conservative political advocacy group, said Biden "has put himself on a collision course with the Catholic Church by promising to pass the Equality Act in the first 100 days of his presidency."
"Biden's aggressive support of the Act, together with his extreme abortion position, opposition to school choice, and pledge to restart the war on the Little Sisters makes clear his Catholic faith will be readily sacrificed at the altar of political expediency," Burch added. "Come Tuesday, Catholics must understand the existential threat posed by a Biden-Harris ticket. Donald Trump remains the best – and only – choice for Catholic voters this election.”
The Catholic vote has been almost evenly split between the two parties. According to Fox News' 2016 exit polls, 50% of Catholics who voted supported Trump and 46% cast their ballots for then-candidate Hillary Clinton.