Like he does in his new memoir Promises to Keep, Biden dishes to The Christian Science Monitor about how his Catholic upbringing shaped his worldview and politics, in contrast to the religious reticence shown by a certain Catholic Democratic nominee for president in 2004. Also unlike Kerry, Biden challenges the notion that his liberal record on social issues like abortion rights casts doubt on his Catholic credentials, even as he avoids antagonizing the Roman Catholic Church: “My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine. There are elements within the church who say that if you are at odds with any of the teachings of the church, you are at odds with the church. I think the church is bigger than that.”
Biden even frames his differences with some church positions as a result of the Vatican II era in which he came of age: “I was raised at a time when the Catholic Church was fertile with new ideas and open discussion…. Questioning was not criticized; it was encouraged.”
God-o-Meter doesn’t want to make too much if it, but this lone CS Monitor profile reads like a corrective to so much that Kerry bungled religion-wise in 2004, which helped explain why the former altar boy lost the Catholic vote, traditionally a reliably Democratic bloc. One Kerry problem was that he had no overtly Catholic surrogates to stick up for him when a handful of Roman Catholic bishops denounced his liberal social positions. Biden, for his part, has Monsignor William Kerr of the Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University at his back: “”Joe Biden is one of the most sincere Catholics I’ve known in my 40 years as a priest.”
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This blog is no longer updated and is closed for comments. We welcome your comments about politics in our Politics forums.The God-o-Meter (pronounced Gah-DOM-meter) scientifically measures factors such as rate of God-talk, effectiveness—saying God wants a capital gains tax cut doesn't guarantee a high rating—and other top-secret criteria (Actually, the adjustment criteria are here). Click a candidate's head to get his or her latest God-o-Meter reading and blog post. And check back often. With so much happening on the campaign trail, God-o-Meter is constantly recalibrating!
God-o-Meter blogger Dan Gilgoff is Beliefnet's Politics Editor. A former political correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, he is author of The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America are Winning the Culture War.
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