Christians Outraged as Biden Makes Sign of the Cross at Abortion Rally, Calling It a ‘Disgusting Insult’

By: Georgia | Published: Apr 25, 2024

President Biden caused a stir at a rally in Tampa, Florida, when he made the Sign of the Cross while discussing recent abortion legislation changes. 

This event took place as Nikki Fried, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman, was criticizing Governor Ron DeSantis’s move from a 15-week to a six-week abortion ban.

The Significance of the Gesture

During his appearance, Biden touched his forehead, chest, and shoulders to make the Sign of the Cross. 

President Joe Biden, dressed in a suit and tie, making a gesture with his hand while speaking at a podium with an American flag in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This gesture, rooted in Christian tradition since at least the third century, is typically a sign of piety and blessing. Its use at a political rally discussing abortion policies drew immediate backlash from some Christian groups.


Religious and Political Intersection

The response from religious communities was swift and severe. 

black silhouette of a Christian cross stands out against a clear blue sky

Source: Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, said, “Biden’s use of the Sign of the Cross in support of abortion is a disgusting insult towards all Christians, but especially of Catholics whom he claims as his own.” 

Reaction from CatholicVote

Brian Burch further criticized the president’s actions.

President Joe Biden in a suit, gesturing emphatically with his hand, as he delivers a speech at a podium

Source: Wikimedia Commons

He said, “The Sign of the Cross is a sacred gesture used by believers to bless themselves, ask forgiveness, or to protect them from temptation. Instead, Biden has turned this ancient Christian practice into an endorsement of abortion extremism.” 

Biden's Faith and Public Policy

Biden has openly aligned himself with the Catholic faith during his presidential campaigns, declaring his devotion. 

President Joe Biden, smiling while having a conversation with Pope Francis in a room with opulent décor and a painting in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, his public support for policies that contradict the Catholic Church’s teachings has been controversial. This incident at the rally highlights the ongoing conflict between his religious declarations and his political actions.

Bishop’s Commentary

Bishop Robert Gruss of the Diocese of Saginaw shared his thoughts on the matter.

A bishop in liturgical attire holding a carved religious statue, standing in a church with a crucifix and stained glass windows in the background

Source: BishopGruss/X

He said, “I don’t have any anger towards the president. I feel sorry for him. I’m not angry at him, he’s just stupid,” he told reporters. He clarified that his use of “stupid” referred not to intelligence but to a misunderstanding of Catholic doctrines.


Faith Voters and Political Implications

As elections approach, the implications of such actions are significant. 

Two clergymen, one wearing a mitre and holding a crosier, smiling for the camera inside a church with a crucifix and altar candles in the background

Source: BishopGruss/X

Burch emphasized the political stakes involved, stating, “No Catholic, regardless of their position on abortion, can support this grotesque abuse of religious piety. Voters of faith need to wake up and understand what is at stake this November.”


Local Church Leaders Respond

The Diocese of St. Petersburg, under Bishop Gregory Parkes, confirmed their stance on abortion following the rally. 

Inside a church with rows of wooden pews, elegant stained glass windows casting colorful light, and religious artwork on the walls

Source: Karl Fredrickson/Unsplash

A spokesperson stated, “Bishop Gregory Parkes consistently teaches about the Catholic Church’s position on abortion.” This reaffirms the local clergy’s commitment to established church teachings in the face of political controversies.


The Debate Around Amendment Four

In Florida, the debate intensifies with the proposal of Amendment Four, which aims to protect abortion rights until viability. 

The facade of the Supreme Court of Florida with large white columns, steps leading up to the entrance, and palm trees on either side

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This legislative change is supported by pro-choice groups but faces strong opposition from religious leaders who see it as a moral and ethical issue.


Florida Bishops' Collective Statement

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement urging opposition to Amendment Four, emphasizing the protection of “the weakest, most innocent, and defenseless of human life among us.” 

The exterior of a white church with a bell tower and cross, a clear blue sky in the background

Source: Travis Walser/Unsplash

They argue that the amendment would legalize late-term abortions, which they strongly oppose.


Public and Church Reactions

The incident and its aftermath have sparked widespread discussion among the public and church communities. 

Interior of a church showing tall, ornate stained glass windows between arched columns, with hanging light fixtures and rows of pews

Source: Channel 82/Unsplash

Many have taken to social media and other platforms to express their views on Biden’s actions, reflecting a broader discourse on the role of religion in American politics.


Aftermath of the Rally

As the dust settles, the incident remains a topic of heated debate

President Joe Biden waving and smiling to the audience as he stands at the podium during a formal event with attendees in the background

Source: POTUS/X

Biden’s gesture at the rally encapsulates the ongoing struggle between upholding personal beliefs and in the context of the American political landscape.