Is the US Conference of Catholic Bishops willing to take on the “Tea Party?” On Wednesday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Speaker Boehner informing him of its opposition to his deficit reduction proposal and arguing that “future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons.” On Thursday, religious organizations went from polite protest to full-scale mobilization on the Hill.
Seventy priests, nuns, and social justice workers from Boehner’s home state of Ohio sent
the Catholic Speaker a sharp rebuke: “You can heed the consistent moral calls from Catholic leaders who have urged lawmakers to decrease our debt fairly and protect the most vulnerable, or you can yield to growing political pressure from Tea Party Republicans willing to accept catastrophic default for the first time in our nation’s history,” they wrote. Professors from Xavier University, Boehner’s alma mater, also signed the letter.
Sojourners, a Christian social justice organization, ran a full-page ad in Politico on Thursday morning, warning politicians that “God is Watching” their actions. Sojourners’ supporters have sent nearly 100,000 emails to Congress on budget morality in the past two weeks. “Scriptures teach that God is especially concerned with how the decisions of the politically powerful effect the poor and vulnerable (Isaiah10),” Tim King, a spokesman for Sojourners, told TIME. “The politically easy thing is to cut programs for those in need because poor people don’t have much for lobbyists in Washington D.C. The morally right thing is to defend those whom Jesus called, ‘the least of these.’”
The question now becomes will Archbishop Chaput recently appointed Archbishop of Phildelphia threaten to deny Speaker Boehner if he shows up in his Archdiocese for Communion. Don’t hold your breath, it would not surprise me to find out that these two were golfing buddies.
Or will those Bishops who spoke out so loudly against President Obama’s visit to Notre Dame University show as much passion when it comes to the poor. It is time for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to remove the political bishops from all areas of USCCB leadership positions.
“As this politically manufactured default crisis approaches the point of no return, we can’t allow intransigent Congressional leaders to ignore us,” said Kristin Ford, spokeswoman for Faith in Public Life, a group whose Executive Director, Rev. Jennifer Butler, was among those arrested on Thursday. “We’ll hold Congress and the President accountable if they fail to protect struggling families and the most vulnerable.”
Rainbow Sash Movement