US News Accuses Bishop of Denying 1st Amdt in Biden Abortion Communion Flap

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

US News Accuses Bishop of Denying 1st Amdt in Biden Abortion Communion Flap

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 24
, 2008

Dover, DE (LifeNews.com) — In another example of media bias, a writer for US News and World Report is accusing a Catholic bishop of violating the First Amendment by denying communion to pro-abortion vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden. The Delaware senator has come under fire for violating the pro-life teachings of the Church.

US News writer John Mashek takes issue with the bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who has forbidden Biden from receiving communion there, which happens to be the senator’s birthplace.

According to a column he wrote Tuesday, Mashek contends the bishop is violating Biden’s First Amendment rights.

"[Biden] and many other Catholics—including this writer—do not necessarily favor abortion, but we do not feel our religious views should be foisted on others in a nation where church and state are divided," he writes. "That division of church and state has application here."

Mark Finkelstein, a columnist for the Newsbusters blog of the Media Research Center, says Mashek is off base with his contentions.

"Let’s make this as simple as possible for Mr. Mashek: the First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing a state religion. It does not prohibit people, including bishops, from practicing theirs," he says.

"To the contrary, it forbids the government from passing laws that would prohibit that bishop from the free exercise of his religion," he explains.

"The bishop has every right under the Constitution to deny communion to anyone he pleases. For that matter, like any other citizen, he has every right to encourage others to vote in a certain manner," Finkelstein adds.

"As a matter of the freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion, a bishop is free to express his political opinion to his parishioners," he says.

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