Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) accused the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) of politically weaponizing religion by voting to draft a document that could result in a rebuke of pro-abortion Catholic politicians and suggested punishing them by stripping the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status.
“If they’re going to politically weaponize religion by ‘rebuking’ Democrats who support women’s reproductive choice, then a ‘rebuke’ of their tax-exempt status may be in order,” Huffman tweeted.
If they're going to politically weaponize religion by "rebuking" Democrats who support women's reproductive choice, then a "rebuke" of their tax-exempt status may be in order. https://t.co/P6TGVCOMYp
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@JaredHuffman) June 18, 2021
Huffman’s tweet was in response to a statement last week from 60 Catholic House Democrats warning the USCCB against what they described as “weaponizing” the Eucharist. The USCCB on Friday overwhelmingly voted in favor of drafting a document that could lead to a rebuke of publicly pro-abortion Catholic politicians such as President Joe Biden. The document, which will be made public at a later date, will advise bishops how to best to enforce the guidelines regarding the reception of Holy Communion.
According to the Code of Canon Law, those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
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“We seek the Church’s guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience,” the statement from the House Democrats reads in part. “In recognizing the Church’s role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas.”
“We recognize that no political party is perfectly in accord with all aspects of Church doctrine,” the statement continues. “This fact speaks to the secular nature of American democracy, not the devotion of our democratically elected leaders. Yet we believe we can speak to the fundamental issues that unite us as Catholics and lend our voices to changing the political debate — a debate that often fails to reflect and encompass the depth and complexity of these issues.”
“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory,” the statement adds.
Huffman, who co-chairs of the Congressional Freethought Caucus with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), has been an outspoken opponent of religious influence in government. In December, he and Raskin presented the Biden administration with a 28-page document drafted by the Secular Democrats of America PAC (SDA), which urged for the repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Among other things, the document also recommended opposing “religious displays on government property,” and also called for a “crackdown on nonprofits operating as businesses, including megachurches.”