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Casey Schoeneberger
Casey Schoeneberger, Faith in Public Life’s Press Secretary, came to FPL from NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby’s Associate Program after studying economics at Saint Joseph’s University. She blogs about tax and budget issues on Bold Faith Type.

Immoral Budget Cuts: The Circle of Protection Vs. The Dependency Critique

October 28, 2011, 10:38 am | By Casey Schoeneberger

As the Super Committee gets closer to its deadline, the Circle of Protection is still watching for immoral cuts to programs that serve the most vulnerable. Reverend Michael Livingston, Director of the National Council of Churches Poverty Initiative, went on public radio to talk about the coalition and why it is important for people of faith to be involved in the budget debate:

“I think the people of faith have been lacking in their response and a vigorous public engagement on issues of advocacy for people who are in need. I think we’ve been much too busy maintaining our houses of worship and being concerned with our own internal affairs–important as they are–and not paying enough attention to the common wealth, to the common good, to the family of people, all of whom were created in God’s image.”

The Circle of Protection rightly contends that the federal government has a responsibility to prevent families from falling further into the depths of poverty. Astonishingly enough, Livingston’s co-interviewee, Acton Institute Fellow Michael Miller, contends that safety-nets designed to prevent increased hardship is actually the cause of out-of-wedlock birthrates:

“…if you look, for example, at the African-American family, you look at the policies from the 1960s onward, you see out-of-wedlock birthrates were in, you know, low-20 percent, mid-20 percent, before the war on poverty. Now, they’re at about 75 percent, and that means three out of every four African-American child is born out of wedlock. Well, there’s no better indicator of poverty than to be born out of wedlock, and I think the state has actually created the incentive for this type of behavior.”

Miller’s “concern” for those born out-of-wedlock is yet another tired conservative talking point designed to simply shrink the federal budget and decrease taxes for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans.

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FPL News Reel: October 27, 2011

October 27, 2011, 11:34 am | By Casey Schoeneberger

The FPL News Reel is a daily round-up of the top faith and politics stories in the news. You can sign up for the email version of the News Reel here and follow it on twitter at @FPLNewsreel

Clergy petition Village Voice to drop ads linked to sex trafficking

By Adelle Banks — Religion News Service

Three dozen religious leaders have signed an ad calling on Village Voice Media to remove an adult section of its BackPage.com that they and others claim is a conduit for child sex trafficking.

The Vatican meets the Wall Street occupiers

By E.J. Dionne Jr. — Washington Post, Opinion

Will we soon see a distinguished-looking older man in long, white robes walking among the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York’s Zuccotti Park? Is Pope Benedict XVI joining the protest movement?

Faith Groups Target Super Committee

By Joseph Kuhn — Religion News Service

The Faithful Budget Campaign is also targeting the home districts of members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, as the Super Committee is officially known.

Democrats’ First Offer: Up to $3 Trillion for Debt

By Robert Pear and Jennifer Steinhauer — New York Times

The Democratic plan would trim much more, a total of $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion, through cuts in the growth of federal entitlement programs, including Medicare, and more than $1 trillion in new tax revenues.

Rep. Ryan hits back at Catholic class warfare question

By Eric Marrapodi — CNN, Belief Blog

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, waded into a bit of economic theology Wednesday. The staunch Catholic…was asked about the collision of his faith in finance and his faith in the church.

So Much for the Nativists

By New York Times, Editorial

Here’s a Capitol riddle for you: Representative Lamar Smith, one of the most reflexively anti-immigrant hard-liners in Congress, is sponsoring a bill to flood the agriculture sector with up to half-a-million visas for guest workers.

Moment of Conception

By Pema Levy — American Prospect

On November 8…Mississippi voters are expected to approve Amendment 26. The measure would establish the personhood of the fetus from the beginning of biological life and outlaw all abortions without exception.

Crony Capitalism Comes Home

By Nicholas D. Kristof — New York Times, Opinion

…yes, we face a threat to our capitalist system. But it’s not coming from…Occupy Wall Street protests. Rather, it comes from pinstriped apologists for a financial system that glides along without enough of the discipline of failure…

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FPL News Reel: October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011, 12:43 pm | By Casey Schoeneberger

The FPL News Reel is a daily round-up of the top faith and politics stories in the news. You can sign up for the email version of the News Reel here and follow it on twitter at @FPLNewsreel

Vatican urges major economic reform

By Victor L. Simpson — Associated Press

The Vatican called Monday for radical reform of the world’s financial systems, including the creation of a global political authority to manage the economy.

Religion claims its place in Occupy Wall Street

By Jay Lindsay — Associated Press

Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid…believes religious groups have already amplified the movement’s power. He sees his involvement as a duty, because so many in his congregation are affected by the nation’s economic woes.

The GOP’s latest tax gimmickry: Soak the poor

By E.J. Dionne Jr. — Washington Post, Opinion

Voters are shrewd in figuring out whether tax proposals really benefit them. That’s why raising taxes on millionaires — the exact opposite of what Cain and Perry want to do — wins support from a broad majority.

No Holiday

By New York Times, Editorial

While Washington debates how to create jobs and cut the budget deficit, major corporations — read major campaign contributors — are pushing Congress for an enormous tax cut on corporate profits. Lawmakers seem all too eager to grant their wish.

Evangelical conference preaches support of immigrants

By Meredith Heagney — Columbus Dispatch

Evangelicals are gathering at Cedarville University to talk about the importance of showing compassion to immigrants, whether they are documented or not.

Anti-illegal immigration bill stokes backlash in Alabama fields

By Mark Guarino — Christian Science Monitor

[Farmers] say US workers are unwilling to endure the rigorous conditions of farm work and that state legislators need to come up with solutions to prevent local agribusiness from going under.

Why the GOP Demonizes ‘Illegals’

By Peter Beinart — Daily Beast, Opinion

The use of ‘illegals’ as a noun by Romney and other Republicans is just the latest example of politicians using euphemisms to signal antipathy to an ethnic group–in this case, Latinos.

6 GOP candidates woo Iowa social conservatives

By Jennifer Jacobs, Jason Noble and Josh Hafner — Des Moines Register

In an audition before conservative Iowans, six GOP presidential candidates worked Saturday night to outdo one another on the authenticity of their Christian faith and the strength of their opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Meet Mitt Romney’s Radical, Right-wing, Sharia-phobe Foreign Policy Advisor

By Jarad Vary — New Republic

…the Phares selection may be a dog-whistle to a particular group of conservatives that Romney has, until now, hardly attempted to court: anti-Sharia zealots, who happen to enjoy a strong base of support in Iowa.

Congress: Don’t squander America’s big investment opportunity

By Rachel Black — Christian Science Monitor, Opinion

Earning a college education benefits families and the economy for generations. Unfortunately, students from low-income homes are earning degrees at the lowest rate in three decades. Washington needs to cash in their economic potential by helping them save for college.

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Poll of the Week: Americans Support #Occupy Wall Street

October 24, 2011, 11:00 am | By Casey Schoeneberger

Occupy Wall Street protesters are accomplishing the seemingly impossible. Not only are the protests changing the coverage of the jobs crisis in the media, but American’s are taking notice. A new United Technologies/National Journal Connection Poll reveals that “…59 percent of adults either completely agree or mostly agree with the protesters…” while only 31 percent of adults disagree.

The poll also reveals that when it comes to policy solutions, members of Congress looking to address the growing inequality and jobs crisis in America should look no further than the proposed 5 percent surtax on millionaires.

“…a whopping 68 percent of adults support the Democratic surtax to pay for the cost of their jobs plan. Only 27 percent opposed the tax, while 5 percent didn’t know.”

OWS graph.jpg

As the chart shows, this populist streak crosses party lines too:

“Remarkably, nearly one-third of Republicans–31 percent–completely or mostly agree with their aims. The sour economy has sparked some class resentments in unexpected places, it seems. Those stirrings are unlikely to come to fruition in this divided Congress, but there’s no indication they’re going away anytime soon.”

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Media Hit of the Week

October 21, 2011, 5:14 pm | By Casey Schoeneberger

Rev. Derrick Harkins, a Faith in Public Life board member, has been selected by the Democratic National Committee as their Director of Faith Outreach. Harkins is also Senior Pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington D.C.

Harkin’s involvement with Faith in Public Life and his new role with the DNC is highlighted today in the Washington Post:

“Harkins is the first member of the faith outreach staff that the party has announced for the 2012 election. In 2008, the campaign made strides in attracting religious voters long considered GOP property, particularly white evangelicals. Recent polls show weakened support for Obama among such groups, and some experts on faith outreach say Harkins’ work with progressive and conservative evangelicals in particular could help

Harkins works with some of the country’s most visible Christian groups on both the right and the left. He sits on the board of the center-right National Association of Evangelicals, the country’s biggest evangelical organization, as well as of the progressive advocacy group Faith in Public Life.”

Read the whole piece here.

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