Saturday, August 11, 2012

Definitive Response

It looks like they got their answer.   Echoing the 40+ year old sentiment of Joe South (video at end), The nuns from the Nuns on the Bus tour Thursday asked Mitt Romney

to spend a day with them so he could understand the plight of the poor and what his policies would do to them. Sister Simone Campbell, President ofNETWORK, a national social justice lobby,sent the invitation to Romney to “spend a day with Catholic Sisters who work every day to meet the needs of struggling families in their communities,..."

Sister Campbell's organization isn't the only Roman Catholic group which finds the GOP's concern for the comfortable and distaste for the poor and the hungry not quite Christ-like.   Yesterday

a group of Franciscan asked Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the author of the House GOP budget that bears his name, to join them in Milwaukee to “spend time with the poor.” Like NETWORK, the Franciscan Action Network took issue with the misleading ad about welfare reform the Romney campaign released this week.

“FAN is disturbed by the demeaning campaign ad and conversation about welfare by the Romney campaign,” it said in a release.

The group also criticized Romney for endorsing the House GOP budget, which cuts programs that benefit the poor and middle class. Romney’s ad is hypocritical, the group says, because it talks about “ensuring that low-income people are working” even as the Romney-endorsed GOP budget cuts job training programs for the poor.

Rhett Engelking, OFS, a lay Franciscan in Milwaukee, WI, who works with the poor in hunger relief and mental health, said “Wisconsin is getting a lot of attention as a swing state, and political leaders talking about the poor in demeaning ways while proposing to cut job training programs should spend time with the people they are affecting.”

The Ryan budget has been attacked by religious groups since its release in the spring. Religious leaders called it an “immoral disaster” that “robs the poor” when it was first released, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops circulated letters through Congress calling the budget’s cuts to food assistance programs “unjustified and wrong.”

Catholic nuns targeted the budget during a nine-state bus tour this summer despite suggestions by the Vatican that they were spending too much time on the poor and not enough time on contraception and gay marriage.

Today, NETWORK and FAN got its response from presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and it wasn't pretty.     Ezra Klein explains (with table, below) that under the budget of Mitt Romney's V.P. selection, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan

everything the federal government does that is not Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security will be cut to less than 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050. That means defense, infrastructure, education, food safety, energy research, national parks, civil service, the FBI — all of it. Right now, that category of spending is 12.5 percent of GDP.

In Luke 14, Jesus, invited to a feast with others at the home of a Pharisee,  admonished his host 

When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not ask your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.   But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you.   For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

If there were doubts about former governor Romney, there no longer can be.   He intends to kick to the door the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind, as well as the elderly.   His designee, Paul Ryan, now is not only a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, the chairman of the Budget Committee, or even a presumptive vice-presidential nominee.   He is a guy who in January may become next in line to be President of the United States or (if the ticket is defeated) will be the favorite to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.    There is nothing that should more energize Sister Campbell and her fellow warriors for social justice.

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