On the December 15 edition of the "Axe Files" podcast, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told David Axelrod the following about President Barack Obama. "I think this is the—our most Catholic of presidents. And I mean that by capital C Catholic, in what I see and what he does every day. It's not to say that he's—does everything entirely consistent with Catholic teaching. That's not the idea."
We'll, yes that is the idea. When someone says that Obama is "our most Catholic of presidents," surely the record should speak for itself. Here are some of Obama's views and policies that McDonough needs to explain.
--In 2003, when Obama was an Illinois state senator, he led the fight to oppose a bill that would have mandated health care for a baby who survived an abortion, and he did so even after the bill explicitly said it would not imperil Roe v. Wade. The Catholic Church does not support infanticide.
--Before he was elected in 2008, he said he would sign a bill, the Freedom of Choice Act, that would have forced Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.
--One of the first executive orders Obama signed after being sworn in on January 20, 2009 was to overturn the Mexico City Policy that denied federal funding of private organizations that perform and promote abortions abroad.
--On January 29, 2009, Obama said he looked forward to restoring U.S. aid to the U.N. Population Fund that pays for abortion.
--Obama supports partial-birth abortion, the procedure where a baby who is 80 percent born has his head pierced with a scissors.
--In 2008, Obama said the biggest mistake he ever made was to side with the parents of Terry Schiavo: they petitioned a federal court to allow their daughter food and medicine needed to live. Obama reversed himself, thus siding with those who said, just "let her die."
--Obama sent his two daughters to private schools but opposed every school choice initiative that would allow poor parents to escape the public schools by enrolling in a private or parochial school.
--Obama opposed the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton that allowed the states to determine what defines marriage, thus undercutting the traditional definition.
--Obama supports same-sex marriage.
--Obama opposes a display of the Ten Commandments on public property.
--Obama supports the intentional killing of embryos.
--Obama sought to appoint Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel. She cut her teeth as a lawyer working with the ACLU in the late 1980s trying to take away the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church.
--Obama appointed Harry Knox to his Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership program. He has a record of hate speech against the pope.
--Obama was the first president to welcome atheist leaders to the White House, some of whom are Catholic bashers.
--When Obama spoke at Georgetown University in April 2009, his staff insisted that all religious symbols in the room where he was to speak had to be covered with a drape.
--Obama's Heath and Human Services mandate, still pushed by the administration, says that Catholic institutions that hire and serve non-Catholics are no longer Catholic, and are therefore subject to government oversight. This includes the Little Sisters of the Poor.
--Obama fought U.S. bishops for years—and is doing so now—trying to force Catholic non-profits to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization in their healthcare plans.
--Obama made sure that no grants went to Catholic programs that provide relief to the victims of human trafficking—even though the grant proposals received high scores from independent reviewers—simply because the Church's opposes abortion.
I could go on, but the point is clear: If Obama is the "most Catholic of presidents," then why has he spent the last eight years sticking it to Catholics and the Catholic Church?
Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.