The Rainbow Sash Movement Calls for Equality for the Poor

Poverty Calls for a Solution

The Rainbow Sash Movement must raise its voice to speak out for the poor of our country when they are being marginalized and dismissed within the national debate about raising the National Debt Ceiling. Unfortunately the national moral compass has turned to right so that any resolution is going to impact the poor.

President Obama has understood that politics is the art of compromise. He has even gone as far as to offer to cut social programs the Democrats champion. This includes an offer to reform social security both of these ideas will only affect the poor of the nation, and this is wrong. Now is not the time to be cutting social programs during a recession. They were to be the safety net for those who have become disenfranchised by this economic disaster.

Cutting government programs when they are most needed will only harm the poor because they depend upon them for housing, education and nutrition assistance. Care for the poor should have a higher priority. Preferences for the poor, solidarity, subsidiarity, the common good and human dignity are disregarded in this debate.

The fact that these potential cuts will come while the nation is still funding two wars which accounts for  $680 billion in government expenditures is morally incomprehensible. Catholic social teaching does indicate that we, individually and collectively have obligations to the poor and that we owe this to them, not just in charity but also in justice. The poor do have some legitimate claim to our excess wealth.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops to their credit have been clear in pointing out that the draconian cuts being promoted are not merely budget abstractions. They will have real impact on real lives. Cutting college loans means students will have their dreams deferred, their earning potential curtailed, and they will be forced into an already anemic employment market. That isn’t an intelligent way to deal with the deficit. Cutting environmental funding and putting long-term health at risk for short-term financial gain is shortsighted. Decreasing nutrition assistance to poor women by cutting WIC (Women, Infants and Children) places lives at risk, and that is not only an affront to social justice, it is a betrayal of the pro-life cause so many of the budget-cutters claim to champion.

“Some current proposals call for substantial reductions, particularly in those programs that serve the poorest and most vulnerable people in our nation,” Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., wrote to members of Congress last month. “In a time of economic crisis, poor and vulnerable people are in greater need of assistance, not less.”

Blaire, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, explained the moral framework that should guide Congress: “Meeting essential human needs is a compelling ethical and fiscal priority. A moral measure of the budget is how it treats ‘the least of these’ at all stages of life.”

The Rainbow Sash Movement is calling on the larger LGBT political community to use their influence and speak out about this unjust situation. Help us give voice to voiceless in our society. On this issue we stand completely behind our Bishops, and thank them for their leadership in this matter. We ask our Community to stand with us on this issue.

Bill O’Connor
Rainbow Sash Movement.

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