Hecklers in Delaware Gather Outside of Joe Biden's Church, Call Him a Disgrace to Catholicism: 'Repent Your Soul'

Hecklers positioned themselves near the entrance to St. Joseph on the Brandywine, the Catholic church in Greenville, Delaware, where Joe Biden and his family are congregants, to protest the Democratic presidential nominee's position on abortion rights Sunday morning.

A photo shared to Twitter by Jennifer Epstein, a politics reporter at Bloomberg News, showed at least three individuals who participated in the affair holding signs with phrases such as "No Catholic can vote for Joe Biden" and "No Devout Catholic Supports Abortion."

Epstein posted the initial photo to social media around 10:45 a.m. ET. As Biden entered the church, presumably to attend Sunday mass, hecklers chanted, "Repent for your soul," according to the reporter's Twitter caption.

Those chanting reportedly called out, "Repent for Beau's soul," in addition, seeming to acknowledge that Biden's late son Beau is buried in the nearby church cemetery.

Beau Biden, a Democrat who served as Delaware Attorney General for two consecutive terms following his 2006 election, passed away in May of 2015 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 46.

Slightly less than one hour later, at 11:30 a.m., Epstein added a video to the same Twitter thread. As Biden left the church grounds, two of the individuals still gathered outside of St. Joseph chanted, "Joe! You're a disgrace to the Catholic faith!"

Two waited for Biden to leave church and chanted “Joe, you’re a disgrace to the Catholic faith.” pic.twitter.com/6foOU3RjVu

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) November 1, 2020

Although Biden is a practicing Catholic, his position regarding Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that established a woman's right to choose to have an abortion, has prompted fierce opposition from some public figures affiliated with the church. President Donald Trump claimed on multiple occasions that a Biden-Harris administration would somehow threaten religious expression.

On Thursday, Lila Rose, the founder of anti-abortion organization Live Action, insisted that Biden could not simultaneously identify as a Catholic and support reproductive freedom in a statement shared to Twitter. She suggested doing so "is heinous and despicable," in light of biblical text that has given rise to the church's pro-life ideology. Rose's statement was similar to others released by various Catholic and conservative advocacy group leaders last week.

You cannot claim to be a practicing Catholic and support the slaughter of children in the womb. To do so is heinous and despicable. And you cannot claim you “didn’t know” when your faith, and basic moral law, is telling you loud and clear: You shall not kill.@JoeBiden

— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) October 29, 2020

The recent spell of criticisms came shortly after the Christian Post published a personal essay written by Biden, in which he discussed Catholicism's influence over his personal decisions and professional approach to policy. The essay focused on hate, prejudice and COVID-19 mitigation strategies, discussing each through the lens of Catholic teachings and specifically referencing those that call for unity, in multiple respects.

"It has become too easy in recent years to define our neighbors as 'others' rather than children of God and fellow Americans. It has to stop. We have to strive harder to come together, and to love our neighbors as ourselves," Biden wrote. "That is the work we are all called to by God."

Newsweek reached out to Biden's election campaign for comment, but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

Joe Biden
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is pictured leaving the grounds of St. Joseph on the Brandywine church in Greenville, Delaware, on Sunday morning. Hecklers gathered outside of the Catholic church with signs opposing Biden's stance on reproductive rights. Drew Angerer/Getty