Dolan has received “stacks of mail protesting the invitation to President Obama,” he wrote in an Tuesday (Aug. 14) blog post. At issue are Obama’s new health care regulations, which require employers to provide insurance plans that cover contraceptive services for women.
N.Y. Cardinal Timothy Dolan defends Obama invitation to Al Smith Dinner
Conservatives and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — of which Dolan is president — have criticized the regulations, which they say abridge the religious freedom and conscience rights of faith-based employers.
But the nonpartisan charity dinner is a time for civility, engagement, and dialogue, Dolan wrote.
“Those who started the dinner 67 years ago believed that you can accomplish a lot more by inviting folks of different political loyalties to an uplifting evening, rather than in closing the door to them,” Dolan wrote.
The Al Smith Dinner is a lighthearted ritual of American politics held late in the campaign. The white-tie affair offers a rare glimpse of candidates exchanging jokes instead of barbs. [more]