The U.S. Capitol (Pic by jcolman)
The U.S. Capitol (Pic by jcolman)

Before Senate vote, national religious leaders call GOP budget cuts ‘immoral’

By | 05.25.11 | 4:38 pm

As the U.S. Senate gets ready to vote today on the recently approved House GOP budget, a handful of religious leaders from various denominations have spoken out against the budget because it “contains immoral cuts that would harm the most vulnerable.”

Catholic leaders, two dozen bishops of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church as well as members of the 100,000-plus online community Faithful America have issued letters and petitions stating that the budget lacks compassion and is an affront to Christian values.

The Protestant Bishops’ letter (pdf.) urges senators voting on the House budget proposal “to consider the human costs of massive cuts to social programs and come together across partisan lines to shape a budget that defends human dignity and basic economic security for all Americans.”

The letter questions the cuts to nutrition programs for mothers and infants (Women, Infants and Children) and cuts to Medicaid that “will hurt sick children, struggling families and seniors in nursing homes. Proposed changes to Medicare will break the promise that all American seniors get the healthcare they need by forcing them to buy private insurance without assuring that it is affordable.”

In a press release issued Tuesday by the Faith in Public Life, Christian leaders and religious groups denounced Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s federal budget plan as an affront to Christian values and theological teachings about caring for the poor and the vulnerable.

The release adds that “the Ryan/Boehner budget fails any Catholic measure of social justice by carving out trillions in new tax cuts for the wealthy while achieving the bulk of its savings through cuts to programs for the poor and the middle class,” according to Vincent J. Miller, the Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton.

The release also quotes Francis X. Doyle, former Associate General Secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who calls Rep. Ryan’s claims that his budget proposal lives up to the high bar of Catholic social teaching outrageous.

A Faithful America online petition states:

Paul Ryan, the author of the Republican budget, says he’s been inspired by [Ayn Rand] the right-wing radical who called altruism “evil” and said the “weak” don’t deserve love – and now he’s claiming his budget that slashes funding for struggling families upholds his faith values!

If Ryan is going to use his faith to boost his policies, he needs to be held accountable to its standards: so we’re sending him a reminder.

Faithful America is an online community that seeks to end poverty, promote economic security and peace, restore America’s commitment to human rights and diplomacy, counter hate speech and misinformation in the media pertaining to people of faith, and work for welcoming communities where immigrants and people of all faiths are welcome.

Faithful America members also joined Catholic scholars who recently criticized Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s record on care for the poor before his commencement address at Catholic University of America.

Follow Marcos Restrepo on Twitter


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