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Late Justice Scalia's son blasts Harris for insinuating Catholic charity a hate group

Scalia also hinted at possible tangles between a Biden administration and the Catholic Church over birth control coverage mandates imposed under Obamacare but repealed by the Trump administration.

Updated: November 23, 2020 - 3:32pm

The Rev. Paul Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and a Catholic priest at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, Va., said Sunday he was wary of Sen. Kamala Harris, technology giants and other forces that he sees as encroaching on freedom of religion. 

Scalia also hinted at possible tangles between a Biden administration and the Catholic Church over birth control coverage mandates imposed under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act but repealed by the Trump administration.

In his Sunday sermon for the feast known as "Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe," Scalia said he was worried that in American society today "we find now a hint of the Marxist mentality, maybe more than a hint, in the politicization of everything."

Specifically mentioning Harris by name, Scalia said he was upset because Harris, while sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2018, questioned the candidacy of now-Judge Brian C. Buescher, an attorney nominated by President Trump to sit on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

"Not long ago, a federal nominee was criticized for his membership in the Knights of Columbus," Scalia said. "Senator Harris had the not-so-subtle implication that the Knights of Columbus were somehow, some kind of a hate group or something like that. The Knights of Columbus." 

The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic men's charity that offers care for the sick, poor and disabled, disaster relief and employment agency services. It also has opposed gay marriage and promoted pro-life causes, leading Harris to ask Buescher: "Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman's right to choose when you joined the organization?"

Harris' office did not respond to a request for comment from Just the News.

Scalia said he was also concerned about the possible repeal of an executive order by Trump that gave "regulatory relief" to organizations such as the Catholic nuns with the Little Sisters of the Poor order who have religious objections to contraceptive mandates in the Affordable Care Act.

"And the Little Sisters of the Poor unfortunately might have to go back to court to, again, carve out some freedom for them to minister to those who are poor," Scalia said. "It's not something that we should have to fight for the freedom to have. That should be granted to us as our right. And as the right of Christ the King to have his church work in that manner." 

The Catholic News Agency reported in July that Biden pledged "to reinstate Obama-era policies that would require the Little Sisters of the Poor to ensure access to birth control and abortifacients for employees in violation of their religious beliefs."

Biden, whom many news organizations have declared the winner of the disputed Nov. 3 presidential election, made the promise July 8, following the Supreme Court decision in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor in the case Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania. That ruling upheld an exemption for the sisters from the Obamacare "contraception mandate," which obliges employers to provide for contraceptive coverage for employees through their health care plans.

"If I am elected, I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the [Supreme Court's 2014] Hobby Lobby ruling: providing an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions," said Biden in a July 8 campaign statement. "This accommodation will allow women at these organizations to access contraceptive coverage, not through their employer-provided plan, but instead through their insurance company or a third-party administrator." 

Scalia took what appeared to be a veiled shot at Biden himself, a Catholic who supports access to abortion, though the Catholic Church formally opposes abortion.

"Increasingly, the only Catholics celebrated in politics are those who will toe the party line by acting actually against Church teaching on essential issues, who are willing to be Catholic privately — to have Christ as King privately — but not publicly," Scalia said. "And in the face of all of this, we proclaim Christ as King. This is one of the most politically-charged things we can do, is to worship, to come here and to say, 'There is a greater reality than the state, there's a greater reality than politics, and here we proclaim Christ as King." 

The Biden transition team's press office did not respond to request for comment from Just the News.  

Scalia also attacked technology giants, which many conservatives have accused of bias and censorship of pro-life and other conservative ideas.

"Your word choice, your shopping choices, whether or not you post the right thing or post the wrong thing on social media — everything is politically charged," Scalia said. "And the enforcement arm of this — it's not the state, yet, but it is really the social media giants who have an extraordinary capability to intimidate and to silence. As [Pope] Pius the 11th saw, the politicization of everything threatens our religious freedom."