National Catholic Reporter Blasts the Bush Budget
by Scott Shields, Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 08:11:38 AM EST
National Catholic Reporter is not exactly a mouthpiece rag of the religious right. Despite recent flirtation with conservative politics, Catholicism is still largely a progressive religion, at least in so much as it openly values nonviolence, as well as social and economic justice. This latest editorial from NCR on the Bush budget highlights said commitment to the latter.
Even more devastating than the mounting burden for our children and grandchildren, is what the budget proposal will mean for children right now, especially the disadvantaged. Again, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, cuts in child care funding for children from low and moderate income families will total $1 billion over the next five years, and "at the proposed funding levels, the number of children receiving child care assistance in 2011 would drop by more than 400,000 as compared to the number who received assistance in 2005." And that would occur as more stringent work requirements are placed on single mothers receiving welfare.
The cuts would also include significant drops in funding for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as a cut of $500 million, or 30 percent, in 2007 to the Social Services Block Grant program, which provides funding to states for social services for low-income and other vulnerable populations.
Sr. Simone Campbell, national coordinator for Network, the Catholic social justice lobby, describes the budget proposal as a sign of the "ultimate market impact on government."
"This is not at all about giving a hand up to those at the bottom. It is not about care in any of the ways any religion thinks about it. They've made government a market available for selling and buying," she said. "If you can pay for the cost of campaigns, access, vacations, you get the benefits of tax breaks or government contracts."
The point has been made again and again, but it's one worth repeating. There is nothing "Christian" about the rightist assault on those in need. To be blunt, if Christ hadn't already risen from the dead, the Republicans would have him turning over in it. And yet, again and again, the media narrative is that Republicans are friends of faith and Democrats are its enemy. It's a lie that's been drilled into the heads of Beltway pundits for the better part of the last three decades, if not more.
The answer to this isn't bending to fit the mold of conservative Megachurchism. There is nothing Democrats have to do policy-wise to convince churchgoers that their political ideology is more in line with Christian teachings than that of the GOP. I would suggest, as I have on matters of foreign policy, to simply address the issue, and act naturally when you're doing it. I hate to say it, but there's nothing more obvious than hearing certain Democrats call out specific passages of the Bible to support their views. Some -- Bill Clinton, John Edwards -- can get away with it and sound authentic. Others sound forced, contrived and insincere. However, there's no reason every Democrat shouldn't constantly be pointing out that, no matter what your religion, the economic policies of the Republican Party are absolutely immoral.