The Telegraph

The President uses his Hibernian heritage to burnish his image, but seemingly knows little about Ireland or the Church’s teachings

Published: 14 March 2023

President Joe Biden’s self-delusion seems to be boundless. When he looks in the mirror, he apparently sees an upright Irish Catholic true to the historic values of his deeply rooted religious identity. He is, in fact, an appalling Catholic who publicly flouts the church’s most cherished teachings and is about as authentically Irish as a leprechaun hat in a St Patrick’s Day parade.

Let’s be clear: Biden is perfectly entitled to believe whatever he wants. Many Americans – including many Catholics – will agree with his views, for example, on the issue of abortion, which once saw him denied Holy Communion on the campaign trail in South Carolina. What sticks in the craw is his willingness to use his Irish Catholic identity to burnish his image while seemingly knowing nothing about either.

Not for Joe Biden the moral wrestling of serious Catholics. His schtick is “compassion”. And now he is a warrior for the rights of parents to approve “gender-affirming transitional medical care” for their children.

It’s been several years since Pope Francis first denounced radical gender ideology. He has rejected the idea of teaching children that “everyone can choose their own sex”, while the American bishop Thomas Paprocki has reminded his flock that the church “teaches that the removal or destruction of healthy sexual and reproductive organs is a type of mutilation and intrinsically evil”.

Yet Biden has shown no interest in addressing Catholic teaching. He’s focused on placating Democratic progressives by confronting Republican politicians like Texas governor Greg Abbott, whose administration says medical treatment aimed at transitioning children can be a form of child abuse.

Also in the President’s sights is Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, who is set to compete for the Republican presidential nomination. DeSantis banned lessons on gender identity in kindergarten to howls of outrage from progressives, and since then has acted to restrict puberty blockers, hormones and surgical interventions for minors.

Biden has denounced such measures as “dangerous”, “un-American” even “sinful” acts that “corrode our nation’s values”. The President believes his job is to stand up “against all these hateful bills”. You won’t hear him listening to women who’ve seen their sports destroyed by the introduction of physically male competitors, or to the young adults whose lives were ruined through surgical procedures they later regretted.

Instead, his administration is “committed to advancing transgender equality in the classroom, on the playing field, at work, in our military, in our housing and healthcare care systems – everywhere”. He has introduced policies allowing people to mark their gender as X on their passport applications, and released online resources for transgender children and their parents. At least on this topic Biden is in touch with his distant Irish roots. In 2015, Ireland passed a Gender Recognition Act almost as extreme as the one that just brought down Nicola Sturgeon.

When the President visits the Republic and Northern Ireland for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, he will celebrate a peace deal he did much to undermine with his enthusiasm for the Northern Ireland Protocol. It’s part of a pattern: he is all talk, and no walk.

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