While an amazingly diverse array of faith groups have condemned Glenn Beck’s smears on churches who follow the call to social justice, conservative Catholic Bill Donahue has jumped in to defend him:
Beck didn’t say Christians should abandon their religion. He recommended shopping around to find a more conservative parish if one is dissatisfied with hearing left-wing sermons. Nothing new about that. In the Catholic Church, there are priests who are stridently left-wing and stridently right-wing; many parishioners shop accordingly. Protestants shop by leaving one denomination for another. And so on.
Some of those who have criticized Beck have done so in a sincere way. Others are just phonies.
Donahue goes on to downplay Beck’s remark as “flip” even though Beck’s made similar accusations several times before.
Donahue’s defense is rather perplexing. First, Beck did not say “shop around.” He said to “run as fast as you can” if you find the words “social justice” on your church’s website.
As Matthew Yglesias points out, this would require all Catholics to leave their churches since “social justice” is all over the Vatican and USCCB websites.
Furthermore, contrary to what Donahue implies, “social justice” is not just some “left wing” concept Catholics are supposed to take or leave as it fits their political sensibilities — it is a core tenet of the faith:
- The Catechism says social justice (in particular the principle of solidarity) is a “direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.”
- Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical Caritas in Veritante was all about social and economic justice. It even included a healthy critique (gasp!) of unchecked capitalism.
Donahue is generally quick to chime in when a conservative Catholic, fairly or unfairly, is criticized in the press.
But does Donahue, the self-anointed defender of the Catholic Church against “defamation” “whenever and wherever” it occurs speak up and quote the Catechism or the Pope when a tenet of his Church is attacked by a conservative?
No. Instead he makes excuses for his ideological compatriot.
I’m not sure Donahue is in a position to call anybody else a “phony.”
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In a must-read column at Politics Daily, David Gibson summarizes the debate about the Senate health care reform bill’s provisions related to abortion funding and methodically knocks down false claims about abortion funding provisions in the Senate health care reform legislation made by opponents of the bill:
So far, pro-life forces have largely carried the day, arguing with conviction that the Senate bill — which will be the version of health care reform that will be adopted if the reconciliation process works — amounts to a huge, multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy for abortion. The House version, they say, would be preferable, though that bill cannot get past a promised Republican filibuster in the Senate and so has been rendered moot.
A close reading of the two bills, however, informed by analyses from a range of experts, reveals that the pro-life claims about the Senate bill and its abortion financing provisions are, in fact, mistaken. Indeed, the Senate bill is in some respects arguably stronger in barring abortion financing and in promoting abortion reduction.
After thoroughly deconstructing numerous inaccurate attacks, David goes on to conclude:
So the final verdict is that the Senate health care reform bill does not pay for or promote abortion, and it will arguably reduce abortions as well as providing good, affordable health care to millions of women and children who now go without — and suffer for it.
As anti-abortion groups circulate misinformation, it’s crucial for the debate about abortion and health care to be grounded in the facts. The final votes are approaching fast, and pro-life House Members’ support is crucial to passing reform. They need to know that voting for reform will not result in federal funding of abortion.
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When former Bush administration staffer Marc Thiessen appeared on EWTN (a Catholic television network) last week and cloaked torture under the euphemistic guise of “enhanced interrogation” and made a theological case for waterboarding, many people of faith took exception and refuted Thiessen’s preposterous claims.
Now Faithful America is launching the taking the “Don’t Spin Our Faith” campaign, flooding EWTN with email petitions calling for a correction of Thiessen’s misinformation — which they made no effort to do while he was on the air or afterward — and reminding them that they have a moral and journalistic responsibility to tell the truth about torture.
EWTN is certainly not the first outlet to let torture defenders spin and deceive (recall that the Washington Post hired Thiessen as a columnist), but religious media have a special obligation to the millions of people of faith rely on religious media to stay informed on the pressing issues of the day in a manner consistent with their values. Click here to join Faithful America’s campaign to make sure that religious media is a “No Spin Zone” when it comes to torture.
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On the eve of the Bipartisan Health Care Summit, religious advocates for health care reform are keeping up the pressure on our elected officials, urging passage of reform legislation that delivers quality, affordable coverage for all American families. While all the political uncertainty about reform legislation here in Washington, DC, faith leaders are reminding our political leaders that real lives are at stake.
Our friends at Faithful Reform in Health Care and the Washington Interreligious Staff Community (WISC) Health Care Working Group ran an ad in The Hill today and delivered a letter to Congress and the White House urging leaders to “complete the task at hand on behalf of the millions who are left out and left behind in our current health care system.” The letter was signed by more than 4000 people of faith, 58 national religious organizations, more than 80 regional and state faith organizations, and 26 national faith leaders.
Congregation-based community organizers are mobilizing too. Clergy and community leaders affiliated with PICO National Network are organizing Health Care Summit “watch parties” from coast to coast, and using the events to craft plans for continuing the push for meaningful reform.
Meanwhile, Catholics United has launched an online campaign encouraging the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to stand up for comprehensive health reform. CU member Patricia Pignatiello, whose brother has cancer but can’t afford treatment for it, is urging Catholics to email their bishops and ask them to support reform that will provide people like Patricia’s brother with needed care.
People of faith won’t give up, and they’re going to keep galvanizing around the urgent need for reform that makes quality healthcare accessible and affordable for all American families.There’s too much at stake to let this opportunity slip away.
UPDATE: Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is taking action too, mobilizing its members to call their Representatives and Senators and tell them to pass reform as soon as possible.
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Today, the faith community officially launched a massive new mobilization around immigration reform. The nationwide effort, “Together, not Torn: Families Can’t Wait for Immigration Reform,” includes delivering hundreds of thousands of pro-reform postcards from people of faith to Members of Congress and one hundred local events across the country, from Maine to Texas to Washington state.
Evangelical, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders, along with Members of Congress, kicked off the new initiative this morning on a telephone press conference with journalists.
Check out the full press release here and an audio recording of the call here.
The testimony was moving, from National Association of Evangelicals’ Galen Carey’s heartwrenching story about the mother in Arizona whose immigration status bars her from seeking justice for her son’s death by a drunk driver, to Rev. Jen Kottler’s powerful invocation of Scripture, to Rabbi Abie Ingber’s impassioned remarks:
“Let us commit today, that this tragedy of injustice in immigration will end; that families will no longer be separated; that fathers and mothers will not cower in darkness fearful of a raid; that men and women of every color in the world will have the opportunity to earn a wage openly, to pay their taxes, to study the English language, to go to school and to pursue citizenship in this great land.”
Especially coming on the heels of the report from America’s Voice about the importance of immigration reform to politically critical Latino voters, we’re hoping that leaders on Capitol Hill are paying close attention to the growing call for reform this year. America’s families simply cannot wait.
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