Christopher Hale came to FPL after interning at the White House and on Capitol Hill. He is a 2011 graduate of Xavier University, where he studied in the Philosophy, Politics and the Public (PPP) Honors program.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan—a consistent supporter of living wage policies in the Empire State—has again urged the state legislature to raise the minimum wage.
In a letter released Thursday, Cardinal Dolan and New York State’s bishops express concern that “it is becoming increasingly difficult for the working poor of our state to make ends meet.”
Our sustained recession and painfully slow recovery have left many [full time, minimum wage] workers — often people of color and frequently the newest immigrants to our shores who therefore have the fewest support systems — on the brink of homelessness, with not enough in their paychecks to pay for the most basic of necessities, like food, medicine or clothing for their children.
The debate over minimum wage has intensified over the past few weeks, with the Republican-controlled Senate refusing to even consider the bill. The bishops, however, have made their position clear:
It is our hope and our prayer that the two sides could come together for some sort of action to address the grave problems facing the lowest-wage earners in our state. We believe an increase in the minimum wage is a matter of fairness and justice, and we hope it can be addressed soon.
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As state level bans of the death penalty gain steam across the United States, an old advocate has re-emerged as a prominent voice against capital punishment: Jimmy Carter.
Last Friday, the former President again called for an end to the death penalty in an editorial for the Associated Baptist Press.
Deploring the United States’ “fascination with the death penalty,” Carter listed out what he called “the overwhelming ethical, financial, and religious reasons to abolish the death penalty.” Carter noted that the death penalty has been unsuccessful in deterring violent crime, decimated states’ budgets and been applied unjustly across racial lines.
Chief among Carter’s concerns, however, is how the death penalty violates the teachings of Jesus Christ. He wrote:
Some devout Christians are among the most fervent advocates of the death penalty, contradicting Jesus Christ and misinterpreting Holy Scriptures and numerous examples of mercy. We remember God’s forgiveness of Cain, who killed Abel, and the adulterer King David, who had Bathsheba’s husband killed. Jesus forgave an adulterous woman sentenced to be stoned to death and explained away the “eye for an eye” scripture.
Sadly, Carter stands in a league of his own. He is the only American President in modern history to advocate for the repeal of the death penalty.
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America Magazine’s Father James Martin, SJ has gone to Twitter to support religious sisters as they deal with the fallout from last week’s harsh Vatican critique.
Martin’s Twitter campaign began last week with the hashtag #WhatSistersMeanToMe and quickly grew.
It even garnered a response from former Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello, who tweeted: “In my darkest hours of doubt, it was the sisters that brought me the light.”
Martin, who credits a great deal of his formation as a Catholic priest to religious sisters, has written about “the enormous sacrifices, the uncountable contributions and the still-vibrant witness of women religious—and the ridiculous contradiction between popular notions of women religious and reality.”
Throughout the United States–in classrooms and on Capitol Hill, at soup kitchens and in boardrooms–religious sisters are on the front lines in the fight for justice. Now more than ever it’s urgent that people express the importance of their contributions.
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Amid the intense debate about the Paul Ryan budget and competing visions for the future, the future has finally gotten the chance to speak.
In a millennial values survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center and the Public Religion Research Institute, the data is clear: young people are frustrated with economic policies that promote injustice.
Nearly three-quarters of Millennials (73%) think the economic system in the United States favors the wealthy. This belief is consistent across all divides of race, gender, educational attainment or religious affiliation. Even 6-in-10 Milllennial Republicans (58%) agree with this sentiment.
Equal opportunity is also of great concern to Milllennials. More than 6-in-10 think that one of the major issues in the United States is that we don’t give all the same opportunity in life.
As all eyes turn to the race for the White House this election year, pundits will be obsessed with the latest poll numbers, NASCAR dads and soccer moms. But perhaps they will pay a bit more attention to the concerns affecting young people, namely fair economic opportunity for all.
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Aboard Shepherd One last Thursday en route to Mexico, Pope Benedict was asked to comment on the growing economic inequality in the Americas and the Church’s response to it.
In reply, Benedict offered a stunning critique of politicians who refuse to stand up for Catholic social teaching on economic justice.
He remarked that such politicians are practicing a certain “schizophrenia between individual and public morality.” Some Catholic politicians, Benedict notes, may claim to practice their religion in the private sphere, but “in public life they follow other paths that don’t correspond to the great values of the Gospel which are necessary for the foundation of a just society.”
Benedict argued that the Church must liberate politics “from false interests and the obscurity imposed by those interests” and work to create a “social doctrine [that] overcome[es] this social division [between rich and poor]—which is truly anti-social.”
National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen explains how Benedict’s response shows that he is using faith to advance the many facets of social justice:
“Benedict took a staple of Western pro-life rhetoric, which is the need for coherence between a Catholic’s private beliefs and public positions, and gave it a far broader spin. The need for coherence, the pope suggested, doesn’t end with the culture wars, but also applies to other questions of social justice – including, in the first instance, solidarity with the poor and efforts to overcome glaring inequalities.”
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