Religious leaders have mixed feelings about Biden’s agenda

Colby McCoy, DCNF

Religious leaders have mixed feelings about President Joe Biden’s agenda over issues such as immigration, abortion, LGBTQ rights and immigration, The Associated Press reported.

Since Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, religious leaders from major faiths have had to grapple with the administration’s stance on a range of issues, often resulting in a blend of hope and dismay, the AP reported.

On issues like abortion, Biden has created angst amongst Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention leaders, as the president has indicated strong support for abortion rights for women, according to the AP.

“It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any president would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas and Chair for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities told The Associated Press when asked about Biden’s abortion views.

While unpopular with Catholics and Southern Baptists, Biden’s pro-choice stance is expected to draw support from mainline Protestant denominations as well as the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism, the AP reported.

Support of Roe v. Wade was an integral component of Biden’s wider agenda in 2020 on the campaign trail. 

“We need judges who will respect Roe v. Wade as the law, and we need a Congress that will protect reproductive rights,” Biden said in a March 2020 tweet.

On issues of LGBTQ rights and religious freedom, Biden’s expansion of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections has united Catholics and Southern Baptists in opposition to the president’s agenda, arguing it could infringe on the rights of religious groups who oppose same-sex marriage and the inclusion of gender identity, the AP reported.

Five prominent Catholic Bishops reportedly issued a statement raising concerns over “the imposition of new attitudes and false theories on human sexuality which can produce social harms,” the AP reported.

Biden’s plan to increase the annual refugee admissions cap and maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has received support from most religious leaders, including leaders of the Catholic bishops’ conference who urged Biden to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients as a “first step” in wider immigration reforms, the AP reported.

Following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, the Biden administration has sought to shore up domestic security measures, which have been popular with faith-based groups such as the Jewish Orthodox Union, who fear anti-Semitic violence, The Associated Press reported.

Biden’s agenda marks a significant departure from the Trump administration which took an opposite stance on an assortment of policies, including abortion, immigration and LGBTQ protections.

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