The New York Times recently reported that a majority of Catholics (it did not cite the percentage, either in the article or on the New York Times/CBS Poll website) “are at odds with the [Catholic] church’s official stance [on the Obama mandate].” We found these results a bit puzzling.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that 55 percent of all Catholics, and 63 percent of those who attend church weekly, are opposed to the Obama mandate. A Rasmussen survey found that 77 percent of Catholics oppose the Obama mandate. So what gives?

The Times asked respondents, “Do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female patients?” Notice there was no mention of the religious liberty implications, nor of the issue of exemptions. It’s just about free services for women.

Pew asked whether there should be an exemption for religiously affiliated institutions that object. Similarly, Rasmussen asked whether “individuals should have the right to choose between different types of health insurance plans.”

In short, how the question was framed affected the answer. We will leave it to the reader to decide whether the Times asked about the real issue.

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