Now, The Catholic Association has just released its own “voter guide” as part of the group’s effort to make “religious freedom” a 2012 campaign issue.
The Catholic Association’s voter guide gives Republican Mitt Romney an over-all grade of “A+” and gives Democrat Barack Obama an “F”.
The group is critical of the Obama Administration’s push to require Catholic institutions to cover contraceptives in employee health insurance plans.
The Romney campaign hopes to capitalize with Catholics in Iowa who may be Democrats or independents. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan — a Catholic — went to Dubuque this past week to speak at Loras College, which was founded by Catholic priests. Father William Joensen — the dean of spiritual life at Loras — delivered an opening prayer for the event.
“You call us to honor and defend the lives of all persons whether we number their age by milliseconds after conception or by scores of years,” Johnson prayed. “We are also a prophetic people and demanding of our leaders that they speak directly to us, that they focus our attention during this political season on their respective visions and plans for our own future.”
In his prayer, Joensen said God had asked the faithful to be “stewards of freedom.”
“We know that your law is inscribed upon our minds and hearts, so that the limits of man-made laws must touch on where your justice and mercy meet, above all, in the person of Jesus Christ and what he has revealed to us,” Joensen said.
Ryan spoke about the issue of religious freedom during his remarks on Monday night, and got a rousing reception.
The Catholic Association has printed a million copies of its voter guide, for distribution at parishes throughout the country.
The Catholic Health Association — a separate group representing more than 600 U.S. hospitals and nursing homes — had been a key supporter of President Obama’s health care reform plan, now called ObamaCare, but that group broke with Obama over rules that would force religious institutions — like hospitals and colleges — to provide employee health care plans that cover birth control.
A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign issued a written statement. “Under Obamacare, if a woman works for a religious institution that objects to providing coverage, her insurance company, not her employer can provide contraception,” said Liz Purchia, Iowa press secretary for the Obama-Biden campaign. “Iowa and 28 other states already have this mandate in place, so it’s isn’t new and it hasn’t infringed upon anyone’s or any institution’s religious liberty.”