National Catholic Reporter Blasts the Bush Budget

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.

Tags: budget, Democrats, Ideology, Priorities, religion, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

DON'T CONFUSE CATHOLICS WITH NUTS

INTERESTING. AS A CATHOLIC, I FIGURED THIS GIVES ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAY A FEW THINGS:

MOST CATHOLICS, AS REPRESENTED BY THIS PUBLICATION, ARE SANE, MODERATE AND CARING INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE NO DESIRE FOR STARVING THE POOR INTO THEIR GRAVES AND BUILDING A GLOBAL EMPIRE OVER THE THROATS OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN OTHER GODS.

WE SHOULD IN NO WAY BE JUDGED BY THE ACTIONS OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE.

THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE IS A CRAZY, RIGHT-WING ORGANIZATION CLAIMING TO REPRESENT CATHOLICS, BUT IS IN NO WAY CONNECTED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE GIVES CATHOLICS A BAD NAME AND A RIGHT-WING SMELL BECAUSE ITS PRESIDENT, WILLIAM A. DONOHUE, SHOWS UP ON FOX NEWS RIPPING ON DEMOCRATS ALL THE TIME.

IN FACT, HE IS A FREAK WHO DOESN'T REPRESENT THE VAST MAJORITY OF CATHOLICS.

LIKEWISE, HIS RIGHT-WING ORGANIZATION--WITH SUCH STELLAR BOARD OF ADVISORY MEMBERS AS ALAN KEYES--HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE REAL CONCERNS OF CATHOLICS.

THANK YOU.

by Bush Bites 2006-02-16 09:00AM | 0 recs
Please Don't Shout!

Shouting (all caps) that you're not nuts creates an unnecessary medium/message disconnnect.  And believe me, I'm sympathetic to what you have to say.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-02-16 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: DON'T CONFUSE CATHOLICS WITH NUTS

ARGH!!!!  STOP YELLING AT ME!!!!  : )

For the record, I'm a Catholic as well.

by Scott Shields 2006-02-16 10:31AM | 0 recs
Don't Worry About Sounding Forced

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.
IMHO, folks shouldn't worry about "sounding forced, contrived and insincere."  In fact, they should take advantage of it.  They should say something like, "I'm not the sort of person who feels comfortable mixing religion, which is a very personal thing for me, with public policy that is supposed to serve people of all different faiths and philosophies.  But there are some issues on which all of us should be able to agree, and the Bible provides eloquent testimony, which I know many of you have taken to heart."

Frankly, I must say that, as an atheist, I have a great deal of sympathy with Jefferson's view of Jesus as a moral philosopher.  I see no reason at all to devalue what he said just because of the myriad travesties committed in his name.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-02-16 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: National Catholic Reporter Blasts the Bush Bud

"Preferential Option for the Poor", baby!

It's part of the Magisterium. All the Michael Novaks and Tom Monaghans in this world can't make it go away.

The nuns I know, who to a woman work in the human services trenches -- battered women's shelter, foster care, hospice -- vote, to a woman, Democratic. And so long as the Bishop is out of earshot, vocally so.

by Davis X Machina 2006-02-16 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: NCR Blasts the Bush Budget

NCR is often a whipping boy for blogging conservative Catholics of the sort who are disappointed that Pope Benedict has not been the hammer they strongly desire and scornful of the Vatican for releasing a statement on the Danish cartoon controversy that criticized the violence and the initial disrespect toward faith.  (The Jesuit magazine America is another favorite target of criticism.)

That being said, even some conservatives admit to the high quality of reporting by the likes of John Allen.

I've often characterized the Catholic tradition, one that condemns equally unbridled market capitalism and Marxist collectivism as progressive but not liberal.  If you can come up with a nuanced worldview that can define those terms as overlapping, but synonymous, you just might get my point.

by Anthony de Jesus 2006-02-16 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: National Catholic Reporter Blasts the Bush Bud

hear, hear!

How un-timely of me to blog about Bono at the Nat'l Prayer Breakfast w/o scanning the frontpage to find that you are already talking about religion here.

I didn't so much actually even blog so much as just link Bono's speech, which is good.  I don't think there's anything wrong with being aggressive with religious talk to achieve anti-poverty, progressive goals.

by KevinH 2006-02-16 12:12PM | 0 recs

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