Casey Schoeneberger, Faith in Public Life’s Media Relations Assistant, 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.
On Tuesday, the Ohio House of Representatives voted to repeal controversial voting restriction laws that were “supposed to go before voters on Nov. 6 -- the first known case in Ohio history in which legislators repealed a bill up for referendum.”
While any opportunity to reinstate voting rights should come a welcome development, the repeal left in place rules that end in-person voting the weekend before Election Day and prevents Ohioans from acting on their referendum rights.
We Believe Ohio—a group of faith leaders in the Buckeye State—are standing up against these Republican-passed limits to early voting.
A member of the group, Rev. Timothy Ahrens of the First Congregational Church in Columbus, said people of faith have moral obligation to defend voting rights
There seems to be a crisis in this state when lawmakers need to play games and pull tricks instead of restoring the opportunity for voting for all Ohioans. It's a moral issue that we have as a sacred trust in this American democracy an opportunity and a chance to vote. There is a need for early voting and the question before us today is: is early voting going to be Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day? [Editors’ Note: More than 93,000 Ohioans voted during that three-day period in 2008]
As numerous state legislatures work to restrict the voting rights of historically disenfranchised groups of people, people of faith and voters around the country will need to keep standing up for every individual’s right to vote and reject discrimination at the polls.
Christopher Hale contributed to this post.
Photo Credit: Kristin_a. Flickr
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Following a rebuke of Rep. Ryan’s immoral budget priorities by both U.S. Catholic bishops and nearly 60 prominent Catholic social justice leaders, Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK made an appearance on Current TV’s “The War Room” to detail why “Ryan misunderstands Jesus’ call to community in [his] budget plan”.
Watch the video here.
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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, subscribe to the RSS feed here, and follow it on twitter at @FPLNewsreel.
Zimmerman’s arrest in Trayvon Martin case met with relief, anger
By Laura Isensee And Audra D.S. Burch — Miami Herald
Outrage over Trayvon’s death and the lack of an arrest galvanized ordinary citizens, particularly in the black community who saw the case as a symbol of the consequences of racial profiling and the hazards of being a young, black male.
Searching for Justice in Florida
By New York Times, Editorial
That the Police Department in Sanford, Fla., did not bring charges weeks ago shows how this law undermines the justice system and harms public safety. It must be repealed if the Trayvon Martin case is to advance the meaning of justice.
Fla. Megachurch Pastor Joel Hunter: Impossible for Church to Feed Poor in Place of Gov’t
By Michelle A. Vu — Christian Post
…an evangelical pastor who is also one of President Obama’s spiritual advisers said that looking at the numbers, it is not possible for the church to replace the government in feeding the poor, let alone meet other needs.
‘Buffett Rule’ vs. Ryan plan: Who should chip in more?
By David A. Fahrenthold and David Nakamura — Washington Post
Democrats point at millionaires, and Republicans turn to people who use Medicare and Medicaid.
Rep. Ryan goes all social-teaching-ish
By Steve Thorngate — Christian Century, Opinion
In what universe does cutting Pell Grants constitute replacing a culture of dependency with an effort to lift people out of poverty?
Karl Rove and company are losing the argument over inequality
By Greg Sargent — Washington Post, The Plum Line
…they are trying to solve a society wide problem that threatens the future of a country of over 300 million people — one that, in their telling, requires a bit more sacrifice from high earners as a whole class if we are to have any hope of solving it.
The marginalized pay for the church’s ideological battles
By Jamie L Manson — National Catholic Reporter, Opinion
Because, ultimately, it is the poor, the sick and the marginalized who must bear the burden of these ideological battles. All of those whom Jesus mandated we care for and protect are being sacrificed for the sake of political crusades.
Is this the Mormons’ JFK moment? Maybe, maybe not
By David Gibson — Religion News Service
Ostling also argued that the attacks on Romney’s Mormonism, while unseemly, don’t compare with those that Smith or Kennedy endured.
Death Penalty Repeal Goes to Connecticut Governor
By Peter Applebome — New York Times
After more than nine hours of debate, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal the state’s death penalty, following a similar vote in the State Senate last week. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, has said he will sign the bill.
How Santorum boxed in Romney
By E.J. Dionne — Washington Post, Opinion
Yes, it’s still early. Renewed economic jitters in Europe could spoil a fragile U.S. recovery. But for now, Romney finds himself in a political maze with no obvious path out. He’s there partly because of his own mistakes, but he was also led to this point because of the unlikely strength of Rick Santorum’s challenge.
Obama delays ban on discrimination by U.S. contractors, disappointing gay rights advocates
By Peter Wallsten — Washington Post, 44
A surprising new rift opened between the White House and the gay rights movement after White House officials revealed Wednesday that President Obama would not sign an executive order sought by activists to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
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Both lawmakers and clergy members this week weighed in on the proposed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cuts included in Rep. Paul Ryan’s draconian GOP budget proposal. Despite SNAP’s proven ability to prevent hunger and lift families from poverty, the program remains on the chopping block.
While it may be difficult to picture the true effects of a ten-year, $134 billion cut to food assistance programs, it isn’t hard to imagine the dangerous consequences of a family of four losing $90 a month in SNAP benefits.
Writing as both a lawmaker and a Catholic, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) detailed why Congress has a moral obligation to maintain SNAP funding. From The Hill’s Congress Blog:
For one, as a Catholic, I have always believed we have a moral obligation to alleviate suffering and hunger. In the words of Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me food.” In the deeds of Christ, who brought plenty in the midst of want with the miracle of loaves and fishes. Preventing our fellow citizens from starving and suffering the effects of malnutrition is a basic component of what good government does.
Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Abby Leibman of Mazon also weighed in on the effectiveness of SNAP in a Jewish Telegraphic Agency Op-Ed:
Exemplary among government programs, SNAP has a nearly unparalleled record of program integrity and a historically low improper payment rate of just 3.8 percent. This means more than 96 percent of SNAP benefits are accurately and appropriately delivered to those who are eligible to receive them.
For this highly targeted group of people, SNAP is nothing short of a lifesaver that spares them from having to choose between food and other necessities such as rent, utilities and health care.
A program, then, that saves lives so effectively deserves to have its story told with facts, not distorted narrative. Contrary to what some would have you believe, for the vast majority of the 46 million Americans currently on SNAP (over half of whom are children or seniors), the program serves not as a permanent handout from the government but a temporary bridge to get past hard times. On average, SNAP recipients transition off the program in nine months — receiving benefits just long enough to find a new job or get back on their feet.
While Congress continues to argue over whether millionaires should pay their fair share in taxes, vulnerable children and families continue to pay the highest price for these immoral budget priorities.
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Following a deluge of negative publicity on Goldman Sachs and the financial services industry last month, a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research proves that advisors frequently encourage clients to build riskier, higher-fee investment portfolios in the pursuit of higher commissions for themselves.
As Think Progress noted:
The researchers used an array of portfolios with differing strategies and degrees of risk in the study, but found that financial advisers recommended a change in strategy — often toward “active management” that increased their fees or commissions — 85 percent of the time. And when advisers did mention fees, they “downplayed them without lying,” the authors of the study found.
Even worse, those without knowledge of financial advising and their own portfolios aren’t aware of how bad the service can be. Despite the study’s findings, the actors were willing to return to 70 percent of the advisers.
This goes to show a perverse incentive structure that has serious financial, human and moral consequences for our nation. While any sector attracts people with varying degrees of integrity, the financial services sector rewards dishonest and reckless behavior that, as we saw in 2008, can bring severe harm to innocent people who have done nothing wrong. Studies like these continue to build the case that the financial services industry has a long way to go to establishing necessary consumer protections for clients.
Photo Credit: Brian Glanz/ Flickr
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