Fifty years ago this month, the Roman Catholic Church embarked on a period of soul-searching that reverberated far beyond St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope John XXIII called Catholic bishops across the globe to the Second Vatican Council, opening the windows of a monarchical church to the modern world.
The first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, sat in the White House. Clergy infused the civil rights movement with moral transcendence. These were heady days for religious progressives.
They were also fleeting. Just two decades later, Jerry Falwell made the religious right the public face of Christianity. Today, at a time when debates over the role of faith in politics are as prickly as ever, Catholic nuns in the United States are reawakening the spirit of Vatican II and inspiring a new generation of disillusioned Christians as they face harsh rebuke from an increasingly conservative hierarchy.
add a comment »
FPL provided media support for the Ohio “Nuns on the Bus” tour.
After meeting Sister Simone Campbell, the phrase “radical feminist” isn’t the first to come to mind to describe her.
The 66-year-old wears her gray hair short, smiles with her eyes and possesses an easy, quick wit. But “radical feminist” is how some described her after the Vatican told her and other nuns raising their voices about social issues to pipe down.
That just got them fired up.
“We took the notoriety we had, and said ‘How can we use this for mission?” Sr. Simone says. The answer was Nuns on the Bus, a nationwide sister-palooza this summer that included rallies, meetings with Congressional staffers, and visits with college students.
add a comment »
Over 100 Faith Leaders Call on Governors to Fulfill Moral Responsibility to Protect Poor and Vulnerable
Today a diverse coalition of national and state faith leaders held a press teleconference and released a statement from over 100 faith leaders calling on governors to put the well-being of their constituents ahead of political ideology and ensure millions of Americans receive the coverage they deserve through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion plan. The full audio recording of the call is available here.
Governors across the country have announced their intentions to obstruct the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion plan, potentially leaving millions of vulnerable Americans without vital, life-saving healthcare coverage. While the expansion is designed to provide insurance to millions of hardworking Americans who are caught in a coverage gap, governors’ refusal to accept the expansion plan will leave these low-income individuals and families with nowhere to turn for their most basic healthcare needs.
“The faith community is calling on these governors to put the health of their constituents before their immoral political ideology, said Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director of Faith in Public Life. “Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid will save lives and alleviate suffering for poor families without straining state budgets. It’s unconscionable that politicians would even consider refusing to accept it.”
“I call on all governors to expand Medicaid coverage in order to save thousands of lives,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby and organizer of the recent “Nuns on the Bus” tour. “My strong support of Medicaid expansion comes out of my pro-life stance because it is the right and moral thing to do.”
“For decades our faith communities have been at the heart of promoting meaning health care reform, including the Medicaid program which gives access to those who are poor and most vulnerable in our nation,” said Linda Hanna Walling, Executive Director of Faithful Reform in Healthcare. “The Affordable Care Act is the first time our country successfully made a national legislative commitment in support of quality affordable health care for all. By expanding Medicaid in this historic legislation, we are more completely addressing the original intent of Medicaid and fulfilling our moral imperative to assist those who are poor and sick.
“My faith tells me to be a blessing, ‘Blesseth are those that consider the poor’. Our society, yes even our nation, will be judged on how we care for the least of them among us.” said Rev. Rayfield Burns of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist in Kansas City, Missouri, and member of PICO affiliate Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO).
“More than 400,000 Virginians stand to gain health insurance through Medicaid expansion,” said Elder Marco A. Grimaldo, CEO & President of Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. “In the near term, this expansion will be almost completely paid for by the federal government, and in 2017 Virginia will chip in $1 for every $9 the federal government contributes. We spend very little on Medicaid benefits in Virginia, so if we refuse to accept the expansion thousands of Virginians will be unable to access affordable care. Ignoring their unmet needs is immoral.”
“Nine Republican Governors have indicated their intention to reject the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, placing coverage for over 5 million vulnerable people at risk. These people are our neighbors and colleagues,” said Melissa Boteach, Director of Half-in-Ten. “They are often the workers who are cleaning our offices, preparing our food, or caring for our aging parents. States have a responsibility to ensure that all of their citizens are able to access the promise of affordable health coverage. It’s time to put people above politics.”
Co-sponsored by PICO National Network, Half-in-Ten, the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress and Faith in Public Life, leaders on the call unequivocally urged governors to not put political posturing ahead of the needs of America’s most vulnerable people.
Statement and signatories available here. A full recording of today’s press call is also available here.
add a comment »
After a six-year run bringing you the best faith and politics news every day, Faith in Public Life will be ending the daily news reel email today, August 24th. Thanks for your loyal readership. If you want to stay up to date on all things faith and politics, you can follow our Twitter account @BoldFaithType, where we will be posting stories throughout the day.
Activists Push for Repeal of Tax Cut for Wealthy
By The Jewish Daily Forward
The young people are targeting the districts of Congress members who support tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 annually. They group said in a statement that the activists are “standing up to the wealthiest members of Congress who are voting to line their pockets while demanding more of the nation’s most vulnerable to reduce the deficit, balance the budget and protect funding for critical programs and services.”
The Republican Party Cardinal
By Andrew Sullivan — Daily Beast,The Dish
[Dolan's] stature turns a benediction into political act. It may just be a prayer – but it is one offered by one of the most recognizable Catholic leaders in the country, at a party political convention. It just can’t get more partisan than that.
The Real Reason Rick Warren Cancelled His Candidate Forum: His Increasing Irrelevance
By Amy Sullivan — The New Republic
Despite Warren’s efforts to make it seem as if he was selflessly cancelling an appearance with both presidential candidates in order to avoid contributing to a toxic political climate, the evidence strongly suggests that there wasn’t any Saddleback forum this time to cancel.
Romney says his Mormon tithing shouldn’t be public
By Thomas Burr — Salt Lake Tribune
Mitt Romney says in a new interview that one of the reasons he’s distressed about disclosing his tax returns is that everyone sees how much money he and his wife, Ann, have donated to the LDS Church, and that’s a number he wants to keep private.
Todd Akin in Tampa with top social conservatives
By Kate Nocera — Politico
The embattled Missouri Senate candidate flew to Tampa to meet with members of the Council for National Policy, a secretive coalition of powerful conservative and evangelical leaders, activists, and donors.
Kris Kobach Tells Mitt Romney How It’s Going to be on Immigration
By Adam Serwer — Mother Jones
Since the GOP primary, Romney has tried to moderate his rhetoric, if not his actual positions, refusing to answer specific questions and muddying his own views on what approach he would take on immigration. Now, the Republican platform commits him to a set of specific, hardline policies.
Christians Deliver Petition to Repeal Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s Executive Order
By Beau Underwood — Sojourners, God’s Politics
Today, two Christian leaders in Arizona delivered a petition signed by thousands of Christians to Gov. Jan Brewer calling on her to retract her controversial executive order denying driver’s licenses and other benefits to undocumented young people who qualify for deferred action.
ICE agents sue own agency over deferred deportations
By Alan Gomez — USA Today
A group of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents filed a lawsuit against their own agency Thursday, arguing that the Obama administration is not letting them fully identify and deport illegal immigrants.
Evangelical Colleges Didn’t Figure Out Whether They Covered Contraception Before Suing Over Obamacare Regulation
By Tara Culp-Ressler — Think Progress
In preparation to sue over Obamacare, evangelical colleges are more closely examining their existing student health plans — only to discover that they actually already cover the contraceptive services they object to.
Pluralism and prejudice: How conflicts over religious pluralism reveal America’s new ‘Sacred Ground’
By Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite — Washington Post, On Faith
Patel sees our political process as a mirror of our increasing diversity, especially religious diversity. He writes, “America is among the most religiously diverse countries in human history and by far the most religiously devout nation in the West.”
After Sikh Temple Shootings, New Focus on Combating Hate Crimes
By John Nichols — The Nation
The signal that the White House has not and will not forget what happened at the Sikh Temple is important, as are the condolences the first lady shared. The real significance of the visit was the message—very much welcomed by the Sikh community in Wisconsin and nationally—involved the recognition of the need for a broader dialogue about violence and hate in America.
Blood on the hands of both sides in culture wars
By Tom Krattenmaker — USA Today
Thank you, Family Research Council, for now conceding what conservative groups have been loath to acknowledge in recent years: the truth that incendiary rhetoric indeed does contribute to a climate conducive to politically motivated violence.
add a comment »
After a six-year run bringing you the best faith and politics news every day, Faith in Public Life will be ending the daily news reel email on Friday, August 24th. Thanks for your loyal readership. If you want to stay up to date on all things faith and politics, you can follow our Twitter account @BoldFaithType, where we will be posting stories throughout the day.
Dolan to Give Benediction at Gathering of the G.O.P.
By Sharon Otterman — New York Times
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, will deliver the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., after Mitt Romney accepts the party’s presidential nomination next week.
Cardinal Dolan at the Values Voter Summit?
By Maureen Fiedler — National Catholic Reporter, Opinion
An appearance at this summit is tantamount to an endorsement of Republican candidates. In fact, it’s an endorsement of some of the most right-wing members of that party. Indeed, because of the confirmed appearance of Paul Ryan at the summit, observers might be led to think Dolan endorses the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Christians push for new immigration process as they support deferred status
By Noel Castellanos — Washington Post, On Faith
Unfortunately, within a week, Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman have all made moves to stop these opportunities for young people. This is why Christians are mobilizing again. In just a few days a petition targeted at Brewer, who was the first to take steps to limit the effectiveness of deferred action, has gained over 5,000 signatures from concerned Christians.
Middle class share of America’s income shrinking
By Associated Press
A study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center…describes this mid-tier group as suffering its “worst decade in modern history,” having fallen backward in income for the first time since the end of World War II.
New poll finds majority oppose making changes to Medicare
By Daniel Strauss — The Hill
The Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS poll released Thursday found that in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin, a majority of voters would rather Medicare “continue as it is.” Fewer than a third offered support for Ryan’s budget proposal that recipients get federal subsidies to buy private insurance.
Report: Romney Economic Plan Hurts Red States, Helps Wealthy Urbanites, While Obama Boosts Rural Areas
By Ari Melber — The Nation
Take the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the median price of a home is $1.3 million. There, 73% of residents do better under Romney’s plan than Obama’s…Yet in the heartland, the economic map skews just as strongly towards Obama. It is almost impossible, for example, to find any large areas of Ohio that don’t fare better under Obama’s plan.
Florida’s Menacing Moves to Restrict Voting
By Graciela C. Catasús — The Nation, Voting Rights Watch 2012
Florida’s actions appear to follow similar trends in other swing states, leading many to wonder if this is a tandem effort to suppress voting rights in states with sizeable Latino populations. Colorado and New Mexico are also cracking down on voter fraud—despite the fact that there is no evidence that it actually exists.
GOP embraces anti-Shariah
By Alex Seitz-Wald — Salon
In Tampa this week, GOP leaders adopted a plank to their platform supporting a ban on foreign law and aimed at Shariah, the Islamic religious law that many conservatives insist is secretly insinuating itself in the U.S.
NYPD: Muslims’ Conversations About Anti-Muslim Bias Justify Spying on Muslims
By Adam Serwer — Mother Jones
An improperly redacted court transcript reveals an NYPD official’s dubious rationale for spying on Muslims.
RNC Now Says Anti-Abortion Platform Doesn’t Necessarily Disavow Rape Exemptions
By Pema Levy — Talking Points Memo
Though RNC officials pushed back on the extreme characterization of their platform earlier in the week, the idea they they are not taking a stand one way or the other on rape and incest exceptions is relatively new.
add a comment »