I am not surprised that Brian Burch, president of Catholic Vote, would write an article opposing California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s nomination by President Biden as secretary of Health and Human Services. Catholic Vote leans more right politically than left. I am a bit surprised that Newsweek would publish Burch’s article and that Microsoft News would include it on its website.
Burch makes good points on why Becerra is a horrible choice for HHS secretary. First and foremost, Becerra has no education or background in healthcare. He’s a lawyer, not a doctor. What makes him qualified to head HHS? Well, he’s an ideologue, and the HHS office has recently found its direction more in ideology than health or human services. Specifically, Becerra is a fierce opponent of religious liberty, though he has a horrible record defending his ideology before the Supreme Court. He tends to lose.
When the Obama administration attempted to force Christian businesses and organizations, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, a community of women religious who care for elderly cancer patients, to provide abortion and contraception “services” to their employees, the Little Sisters and others sued based on their well-established opposition to abortion and contraception and their religious freedom. The Supreme Court sided with the Little Sisters in 2016 and, in 2017, President Trump granted the Little Sisters, and others, full conscience protections against having to provide such “services.” Becerra didn’t like the notion that nuns could get away without having to pay for abortions, so he sued the Trump administration. He lost. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters again in 2020. At the time, then Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling and vowed to remove the Little Sisters’ religious exemption. As far as I know, he’s not acted on that promise yet. We’ll see where that goes.
Becerra also supported a California law that required that pro-life crisis-pregnancy centers post notices informing those who come to them for assistance of state-funded abortion and birth control “services.” The law essentially required pro-life workers to advertise for abortion. Of course they sued, correctly insisting that the law was a violation of their First Amendment rights because it mandated speech that they opposed. The Supreme Court agreed. Becerra lost again.
Finally, Burch describes Becerra as the “legal architect” for the COVID restrictions adopted by California, restrictions that placed an unequal burden on churches and other places of worship over against businesses that the state deemed “essential.” What this came down to was that tattoo parlors and strip clubs in California could remain open, while churches, synagogues and mosques remained effectively closed. California was sued and the Supreme Court declared the regulations unconstitutional. Becerra lost again.
Biden wears his brand of Catholicism on his sleeve, and the media love to report on what a devout Catholic he is. But, not surprisingly, considering his abandonment of many central articles of Catholic moral teaching, Biden’s Catholicism is the brand that embraces Xavier Becerra, a man who is perhaps an even more fierce opponent of the Church’s moral teaching than Biden and a enemy of religious liberty. Happily, Becerra usually loses his religious liberty battles. Even still, that he wages these battles in the first place requires the faithful to direct resources toward defending themselves rather than toward their ministries. It’s not lost on me, either, that Becerra may start winning if the Democrat’s plan to pack the Supreme Court gains traction and becomes a reality.
Contact your senators. Becerra has no business leading HHS or any other government body.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.