Catholic professors blast Boehner's record over cuts to poor
May 11th, 2011
07:27 PM ET

Catholic professors blast Boehner's record over cuts to poor

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - When House Speaker John Boehner steps up to the podium at the Catholic University of America's commencement on Saturday, he'll be tap dancing around the line between faith and politics.

On Wednesday, a group of 70 professors, priests, nuns and others from the Washington university and other Catholic colleges around the country fired off a letter calling Boehner on the carpet for what they say is his lack of support of legislation for the poor.

"Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it," the letter reads.

Boehner, Catholic by faith and Republican by party, was able to garner enough votes in the House for the passage of HR 1, the House budget proposal that has drawn the ire of many religious leaders.

The group of professors said the proposed cuts in the budget to Medicare, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program and food stamps "guts long-established protections for the most vulnerable members of society."

Along with their letter they sent the speaker the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, a Vatican document on the teachings of the Catholic prepared in 2004 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The compendium cites specific guidance for lawmakers: "Those who exercise political authority must see to it that the energies of all citizens are directed towards the common good; and they are to do so not in an authoritarian style but by making use of moral power sustained in freedom."

Stephen F. Schneck is a professor at the Catholic University of America and director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. He is one of the signers of the letter and said the impetuous for it took root early in the budget debate.

"It was probably the contrast between what the bishops were telling us about paying attention to the needs of the poor and the actual budget that passed through the House of Representatives," Schneck said.

"One of the most ancient teachings of Christianity is preferential treatment of the poor, and it seemed that in the way in which the ... budget tried to address the deficit and the debt, it was particularly targeting programs that serve the poor," Schneck said.

"We thought that was an inappropriate balancing of the various interests of society. It seems to us these examples that we gave were illustrations of what were really egregious targeting of really valuable programs to the poorest and most vulnerable people in America."

Schneck and the other signatories on the letter are urging Boehner to join with a group of religious leaders who have been calling for a "Circle of Protection" to be formed around federal programs for the poor. That group grew out of what some have said are liberal Christian activist groups but in recent weeks has grown to include a broad scope of Protestant, Catholic and evangelical leaders.

“Lawmakers need to understand what a circle of protection means," Jim Wallis, the head of Sojourners, said on a conference call with reporters last week about the effort. "It means if you come after the poor, you will have to come and go through us first."

The coalition of religious leaders behind the "Circle of Protection" also has drawn the ire of conservative media outlets.

Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program last month, "A favorite tactic of the left, you know, when it suits them they'll talk about Jesus Christ. When they can convince or try to convince everybody Jesus Christ was the patron saint of liberalism, then they will herald Jesus Christ."

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the commencement address won't wade into the political battle over the budget. "The speaker will be delivering a personal, non-political message at the Catholic University of America that he hopes will speak to all members of the graduating class, regardless of their backgrounds or affiliations," he said in a statement to CNN.

"He is deeply honored to have been invited by CUA to address the school's graduating class and is looking forward to receiving an honorary degree from the only Catholic college in our country that is chartered by Catholic bishops,” the statement continued.

Steel also noted that an editorial in the student newspaper heralded the school's choice of commencement speaker.

Boehner is not the first Catholic politician to face criticism over how his politics and prayers mesh. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, was denied communion over his support for abortion rights, which some bishops said was in direct violation of the church's teachings.  Then-Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, found himself in a similar row with his bishop in 2009 over abortion and was barred from receiving communion.

Schneck said any notion of whether Boehner's support for budget cuts would merit a withholding of communion is an "issue above my pay grade" and better left for a pastor, not a professor, to decide.

"I think the issue of a violation is one between him and God, but it seems the budget that has gone through the House of Representatives seems to be at odds with what should be the approach congruent with Catholic social teachings," Schneck said.

He also said the professors will not be disrupting the speech in any way and that their efforts were merely educational.

"Our efforts are to reach out to the speaker and hope to persuade him to think about endorsing the circle of protection."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Mass • Politics • Vatican

soundoff (1,057 Responses)
  1. John

    It amazes me that Catholics are quick to rally against a Catholic conservative that advocates financial responsibilty, but turn a blind eye or even worse rally to support a liberal that advocates the killing of the unborn. How fortunate for the Kennedy's, Kerry's and Pelosi's and how hypocritical of us Catholics.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • BADGUY

      It's one thing to say a women has a legal right to an abortion (especially since the Supreme Court affirmed that right) and quite another to say one "advocates the killing of the unborn". Let's face it, there are many women in the USA that feel it's their right to do with their b

      May 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm |

    Sorry Rush. Jesus Christ IS the patron on the left. "It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven". Sounds pretty much like a "lefty" to me.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Tony

      Says the "BADGUY" (oh how lefty of you) who doesn't even know what the Eye of the Needle is.

      And seeing how as Jesus said nothing of collective salvation and stealing from people to keep the poor comfortable in their condition, claiming Jesus was "leftist" is laughable.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • john

      what does eye of the need mean?

      May 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • az mary

      Tony, "the eye of the needle" is a small door in a walled city. If caravans came to the city after the main gates were closed for the night, the camels had to be unloaded of their cargo, then convinced to crawl on their knees through the small opening to go inside. Cargo had to be dragged inside, or hand carried after the camels got through the gate. In other words Jesus was saying if you have a lot of "cargo", or are a "big critter", you have to unload your stuff and humble yourself to get into heaven.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Publius

      The eye of a needle is wide enough for the camel, yet not for the rich man who will not give himself. Jesus did not command that rich man to place taxes on himself and other rich men. No, Jesus asked that rich to give away his riches – himself! Jesus never asked the government to do what each individual man should do on his own. Jesus was neither a "lefty" or a "righty" and He was definitely not a "moderate." Jesus was not about man-made governments. He was about His Kingdom.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • BADGUY

      "Eye of a needle" is just that...the eye of a needle. In other words, a greedy, rich man (aka Republican) doesn't stand a chance to enter the kingdom of heaven. The "creative" re-interpretations above, I'm sure, came out of "rich parishes".

      May 12, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • BADGUY

      Could it be you folks don't know what the "Eye of a needle" is? It's the little, very narrow, slot at the end of the needle through which one

      May 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  3. Chasemel

    What's that quote again?

    "Take from the needy, give to the greedy."

    This article goes along SWELL with the other article today about how big oil still needs tax breaks. The president of Shell says, "It may be tempting to assume there's something to be gained by taking more from the few..." My world is spinning.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  4. Tim

    he said "pay cash for alcohol"

    May 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  5. Tony

    How dares these people presume to speak for all Catholics, and how dare CNN try to portray it that way!

    I'm a Catholic and I think government programs targeted at the poor are un-Christian and only HURT the poor by keeping them down and robbing them of their dignity while at the same time STEALING from people in order to do it. Compassion, charity, and support have absolutely nothing to do with government welfare programs and they're a disgrace.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • tonys dumb

      u sound rather selfish, yes our govt should only help the poor to a certain extent, but to not help at all is downright wrong.....you my friend probably believe the prosperity gospel and live rather luxuriously while driving by homeless people everyday

      May 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Tony

      And you sound bigoted, "tonys dumb". And your punctuation sucks.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • tonys dumb

      thanks bc i was clearly trying to punctuate and make perfect coherent sentences....or im at work and thew something together real quick....and the fact that u didnt deny anything i said proves my point....hope u love that mercedes u drive

      May 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Tony

      *LOL* You actually expect me to believe that you work for a living? HA!

      May 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • NonZionist

      Actually, I agree, Tony. We don't need divisive government programs that "TARGET the poor" (leading to a culture of dependency), anymore than we need government bailouts for the rich banks and transnational corporations.

      We need to fix the economy for EVERYBODY.

      The fire department, for example, does not ask whether you're poor or rich before coming to your house. Another example: Use of the roads is not means-tested. In both cases, the government creates an INFRASTRUCTURE for prosperity, then steps out of the way.

      Upwards redistribution of wealth is choking our economy. The economy is functioning like a tornado, sucking wealth upwards, destroying everything in its path. How can we counteract this tornado? We need a countervailing flow. I recommend a major change to the tax system: Replace the intrusive loophole-ridden income tax with the combination of a universal fixed-rate sales tax and a universal fixed-amount rebate. We could make the rebate large enough to balance the upwards redistribution.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • BADGUY

      And I think the current tax policies that favor the Rich are also immoral. The Rich use more of our countries assets. They

      May 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  6. vl

    I would like to remind my fellow Catholics that when it is taken from us and given to someone else, it isn't charity.
    We, not our government, are expected to take care of the needs of the poor.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Lush Rimbaugh Sux

      Furthrmore, if you don't want it "taken" from you, then leave. There is a libertarian paradise in Africa, Somalia, that sounds like a perfect place for you. Weak central govt and lawlessness, a true Tea Party Shangri-la.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • AlGaN

      Lush Rimbaugh Sux- I suggest you move to China. Strong central goverment to take care of all your needs.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Lush Rimbaugh Sux

      "Lush Rimbaugh Sux- I suggest you move to China. Strong central goverment to take care of all your needs."

      Dictatorship does not equal democracy. Thanks but no thanks. BTW, I don't need to be taken care of. Unlike you however, I understand the sun does not rise and set in my a$$, and that I have a responsibility to the society in which I live and benefit greatly from.
      I love how stupid people will vote against their own interests time after time and think it has anything to do with freedom or capitalism or whatever flavor of the month false idol they worhsip at that moment.
      Conservatism is a disease rotting the core of this once-great nation. The Greatest Generation in this country started SS and Medicare and believed govt jobs were good jobs. Today, America's Worst Generation (Baby Boomers) wants to turn back the clock to America circa 1780. Conservatism = regression.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • NonZionist

      Hello AlGaN. There's a third possibility: AUTOMATIC government.

      When a flood occurs, we build a dam: We create an ENVIRONMENT where people can live and prosper. Once we have created a healthy economic environment, there is no further need for government intervention. Things take care of themselves.

      Note that this does NOT happen under Darwinian capitalism. The big fish simply devour the little fish, till there are no fish left to devour. So we need to fix capitalism. We need government to do that - but the government doesn't have to be INTRUSIVE or even massive.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • AlGaN

      NonZionist – I agree.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  7. Publius

    The Catholic professors, priests, and nuns should not be blaming any congressman for lack of legislation to the poor. Jesus commanded us as individuals to care for the poor. Jesus did not command the government at the time to do what we should be doing ourselves. Have these Catholics lost their faith? Do they no longer follow the teachings of Christ? If people cared to do something themselves, we would not need governmental programs to do what we ought to be doing. I will retain my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I will follow His commands. I render onto Caesar what is his, but I will attempt to the work God commands myself. The shame is how many people have forgotten this. Professors, priests, and nuns should be teaching and reminding us of our obligations, not lecturing a politician and tax collector. Read the Bible.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • NonZionist

      Nothing Christ said prevents individuals from banding together and acting collectively to help other individuals. The government is just as much a collective as a church is. If your claim were true, then Christ would have banned churches.

      My quarrel is with government programs that favor one group at the expense of others. I'd prefer a simple non-intrusive universal economic MECHANISM. Upwards redistribution of wealth is killing us. We need to create a countervailing force.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Publius

      Nothing Christ said prevents you from willing joining with others to do good in His name. I agree. Churches have been doing that for 2000 years, and they need to continue to do so. Government is not a collection of people willingly doing the same thing. 51% control the other 49%. If one of the 49% objects, the government uses their guns and might to seize the property of that individual. Jesus did not force anyone to follow Him or His teachings. Jesus did not tell his twelve Disciples to out vote eleven rich men on sharing their wealth. Jesus taught to make those rich men want to give freely without coercion.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Lush Rimbaugh Sux

      Publius, you contend that Christ would not coerce the rich to give to the poor. Okay, but I don't believe in Christ and think religion is a way to comfort humans about their own mortality. Clearly, money grubbing SOBs are not religious either (something about a camel passing through the eye of a needle). So society needs other ways to make sure that wealth concentration does not collapse the economy.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • CM

      I'm dying to know if you apply this same logic to gay marriage and abortion. You know, you are supposed to follow Christ in your personal life, not force people to be Christ-like through the power of the government. You can't have it both ways. If outlawing abortion and preventing gays from marrying are fair game for public legislation, so is the moral imperative to care for the poor.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  8. Joe

    The federal programs for the poor are indeed something worthwhile and to be protected if possible. With that said, these programs also need to be closely monitored and revised. All of us have had the experience of seeing someone use food stamps at the checkout and then pay cash for booze and dressed fit to kill and then drive away in a nice car while those out of work can't get food stamps. There is also the question of how many illegals can get into these programs. Boehner and the rest of congress have the unenviable task of trying to bring the ungodly deficits and debt under control. If these aren't brought under control, there will be zero programs for the poor.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • ???

      That would be an unusual sight since it is illegal for businesses to accept food stamps to pay for alcohol.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Sally

      @??? – please take a look again at this comment – he is not saying that any business is accepting food stamps for alcohol.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Scrumpy

      Could not agree more.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • NonZionist

      We don't need "government programs". These programs simply empower a government that is already corrupt.

      What we need is a simple universal mechanism that benefits everyone equally - for example, a universal fixed-rate sales tax combined with a universal fixed-amount rebate. Everyone would receive the same rebate, but the rebate would mean more to the poor than to the rich. The money would then flow upwards through the economy, creating jobs.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Publius

      It is a small minority, but sizable enough to be seen daily. Some food stamps recipients will sell some of their food stamps for a fraction of the face value to get cash. It happens every day outside the grocery store in poor neighborhoods across America. That cash is then used for alcohol, drugs, or just about any other non-food item the poor person feels they "need." Amazingly, either the seller of the stamps nor the buyer think they are doing anything wrong. Simple sting operations could clear this up. Police pose as sellers one week and then pose as buyers the next. Problem is the local officials do not want to stop the practice of selling food stamps. It is business bringing in Federal dollars to their communities.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  9. Sally

    As someone else mentioned, the Republican way is tax cuts for the rich, while the poor continue to suffer and get poorer. Someone else suggested that the poor need to "get their axx's to work". Well, the trouble there is that the rich want those tax cuts so they can get richer...not so they can hire some of those poor folks. I think most (I know not all) want to get off of public assistance and make their own money, but if they can't get a job, or can only get a minimum wage position, they can't make any improvements to their living conditions. I absolutely believe in personal responsibility, however there are times that through no fault of their own, people loose their jobs or become disabled. We are seeing companies making huge profits and CEOs and other executives taking home millions in bonuses, but those same companies won't add any jobs or raise the wages for their current employees. Those who want to work should have that opportunity. Those who are disabled should be given the dignity of enough public assistance that they can at least put a decent roof over their heads and put food on their tables. I am sickened that there are some who would put the disabled on the streets because they can no longer work to earn money for themselves. I don't want to live in that sort of society!

    May 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Publius

      The rich will get richer. It has been that way for thousands of years, and it will remain that way for thousands more years. Why? Simple arithmetic. The poor spend all their money to live, and the rich spend a portion and save the rest. Do not air trite phrases of the rich getting richer without at least acknowledging the simple fact that it must be that way. You appear foolish otherwise. Take any CEO's salary, and divide it amongst his workers. What have you accomplished? Each worker can now super size their Happy Meal each paycheck? Please learn a little math before throwing around trite phrases you've heard others use. Please!

      May 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • NonZionist

      Well said! The economy is like a tornado, sucking wealth upwards into the coffers of transnational corporations and banks - upwards redistribution. The Republican's advise us to blame the victims and just "keep our feet on the ground".

      The problem is not laziness. The problem is a dysfunctional economic system. We need a tax system that CIRCULATES the wealth. Allowing all of the wealth to collect and stagnate at the top is economic suicide.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • ronjon

      Then move. Ride Sally ride. If you believe any political group hates poor people you are a moron.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Lush Rimbaugh Sux

      Nonzionist, you are absolutely spot on. It amazes me how few Americans actually understand macroeconomic theory. Wealth concentration leads to recession and depression. Wealth concentration is at levels not seen since pre-Great Depression era. People don't understand that $1 in the hands of a middle class American is FAR more stimulative than $1 in the hands of the already-wealthy. People do not understand that buying stocks or dumping money into trust funds promotes ZERO economic growth, whereas consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP.
      In my mind, understanding economics and being a conservative shoud be mutually exclusive, since the trickle-down supply-side economic schemes devised by the right wing in this country are not founded in capitalist theory.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • az mary

      Here's a thought. Let the execs have smaller salaries, let the workers have a bit larger wage, and give the investors larger dividends for their shares. Everyone benefits, and the company policy will attract more investors which will allow to allow them to expand and create more jobs.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Lush Rimbaugh Sux

      "Then move. Ride Sally ride. If you believe any political group hates poor people you are a moron."

      No, morons are the ones who think wealth "trickles down". The poor and middle classes in this country are being trickled on, while wealth concentration explodes.
      Do yourself a favor, stick to topics you understand. Clearly, you lack any here.
      It wasn't Reagan propagating the welfare queen myth? GOPBaggers aren't trying to cure our debt/deficit issues by CUTTING FUNDS TO PROGRAMS FOR THE POOR, all while CUTTING TAXES FOR THE RICH?
      What the f#$k other conclusion could one draw, other than these pukes are scapegoating our financial mess of the lower clases while kowtowing to the mega wealthy?

      May 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • CM

      Publius is a great example of the utter lack of understanding of economics on the right. Nobody is talking about taking the CEO bonus and spreading it out over a company. Even so, a company of 10,000 workers... all it takes is $1mil less in exec bonuses to basically match the tax rebate stimulus Dubya so loved. But the point is that when companies pay fewer taxes, they do not hire more workers.
      That same $1mil could provide 40 or 50 full time jobs... now instead of one guy sitting on $1mil in a trust fund or buying one boat, you have 40 people renting, buying groceries, cars, gas, homes, clothes for their kids, etc. The economic impact isn't even close.
      The point isn't that CEO's should share, it's that any breaks they get go into their trust funds and help the economy not at all. If they want the breaks, they need to use the $ for hiring and they don't, never have, and never will. That's why trickle down doesn't work.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Sally

      @AZ Mary and @CM – thank you, that is exactly what I was trying to say. As for @Publius – I think it is you who is spouting trite messages without understanding. If the working poor could make a couple more $$ an hour, they would spend much more and pay more taxes. How sad that your only commentary is that if someone earned more money, they'd super size their meal. Do you not have any idea of what more money means to a poor person? I am in no way rich, but I make a decent living. We go out to dinner once or twice a week, go on vacations, pay a gardener, etc. The extra money I earn that takes me out of the "poor" category and bumps me up to "middle class" makes a huge difference to how much I put back into the economy. If my rich boss paid me $15,000 a year less and kept that money himself, it would go to his savings and not out into the economy. The "rich getting richer" motto might be the way it is, but it is not the way it has to be and I'd be foolish to even think that. And finally @ronjon – do you really want to live in a society that puts its weakest out on the street? If so, I'm sorry for your soul. Instead of moving, I'll work to improve conditions of the disabled in this country.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Publius

      @CM, you would run a failing business and cause all to lose their jobs with notions such as yours. Taking the CEO's pay and hiring new employees to make products in surplus numbers? How is that sustainable? You would be better off debating the price of the product would be less. Then a 100 million consumers would have an extra penny. 40-50 jobs? Really? you want people to work at $20-25,000 year? Well, they cannot get that much. First, the company has to pay taxes for each employee (unemployment and SocSecurity). Second, the company pays insurance health and also liability. Next, the company has to pay for a place for the worker to work. Buildings. Extra electricity. Additional restrooms. Breakrooms. Parking spaces. More people in human resources. your 40-50 people will be making less than $12K per year. Congratulations on finding them employment so they can starve.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • BADGUY

      I'm sure that's how all the CEO's got rich. I guess I had better start saving so MY fortune will grow to billions. Yah....riiiiiiiight

      May 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  10. Mike

    You folks did not really think Boehner and his cohorts willing give a flying turd about middle, lower income or poor people. It took his group to put this contry into its present shape. Their idea is to convience those goobers out there this was the current President's fault. I am not a supporter of the Catholic Church but they have the right idea.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Publius

      Let's not forget all the Democratic congresses for decades that established programs that have bankrupted us and placed a huge debt burden on America. The GOP are not saints, but the Democrats have plenty of sins to repent as well.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • NonZionist

      Hello Publius. All of the staggering growth in the national debt has occurred under the reign of Republicans. Look it up. Google "National Debt by president". Wikipedia has a shocking chart showing debt/GDP growth:

      * Carter: -3.3%
      * Reagan: +11.3%, +9.3%
      * Bush I: +15.0%
      * Clinton: -0.7%, -9.0%
      * Bush II: +7.1%, +20.0%

      Under the R's, the debt/GDP ratio grew +11.3%, +9.3%, +15.0%, +7.1%, and +20.0%.

      Under the D's, it "grew": -3.3%, -0.7%, and -9.0%.

      No wonder the R's depend so heavily on fomenting racial and religious divisions. They need to keep us Americans from seeing the astronomical extent of their malfeasance, so they blind us with fear and hatred and sideshows. It's a con game, and we're the gullible marks.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • BADGUY

      Publius – don't forget the latest War, designed to make the Texas Oil Billionaires even richer. Republican..all the way!

      May 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  11. wcb2009

    You mean to say the republicans hate poor people? Now that's a shocker

    May 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • AlGaN

      You're rediculous.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • BADGUY

      Republicans hate the minimum wage. They want everyone to work for free (like they did in the middle ages). When

      May 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  12. Mike

    The Churches actual position is to put a mechanism in place that creates the freedom for all people to be able to work hard and support themselves not that all people need to be taken care of only that those that can't take care of themselves. This is essentially the Republican position toward leghislation as opposed to one of making people dependent on someone else which is the Democrats approach.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • BADGUY

      You can't "work hard" if you don't have a job. When we had enough jobs to bring unemployment down to 4% we didn't need the "nanny state" programs to keep people in food. Bring back the jobs and our problems will be over. How to do that? THAT is the question!

      May 12, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  13. nevers

    i love how legitimate intellectual comments on here rarely get any responses but as soon as some1 says something dumb the people comment to no end.

    case in point:

    i commented about obama not being born in the US (which is obvi not true) clearly to test this hypothesis. Result: multiple responses.

    i also commented about hypocrisy on both sides and how we absolutely should have programs to help the poor, but not overdue it to create a nanny state. Result : 0 responses

    i bet nobody will comment on this either.....good riddance

    May 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • mercfan

      Nevers – that's because people are more likely to pass by a comment they agree with without saying anything, but have to point out the inaccuracies of a comment they disagree with. There are other blogs that have a thumbs up or thumbs down icon so you can let someone know you agree with what they are saying without duplicating the comment. And nothing brings out those conflicting comments more than a story about religion.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • BADGUY

      Hitler said he couldn't make his speeches too logical. No one in the audiance would understand. He had to make "short" statements which COULD be absorbed even if they were not very logical.

      May 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  14. Tim

    I think Jesus would want Exxon millionaires cruising on their yachts, while my dad, who retired after working for Exxon for over 30 years. My dad still works (mowing lawns, building decks) to support my mother and himself. People that don't have a lot of money CANNOT always be called lazy. How many 65 year old men you know build decks in 105 degree heat (lazy???) And then my dad gets KILLED on the taxes he has to pay this year. Meanwhile, the Exxon millionaires don't have to pay any taxes and they have a life of luxury, and don't help pay for any roads, schools, etc.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • THE Reality Tsar


      You are naïvely believing the class warfare propaganda of Obama and the left.

      Exxon Corporation is owned by its shareholders, its shareholders are pension funds individuals, and yes some wealthy people. The income that Exxon makes is passed along to the shareholders and they pay taxes on it.

      The top 10% of earners in this country pay approximately 69% of all federal income taxes collected. The lower 50% of earners in this country pay roughly 3% income taxes. The "wealthy" already pay more than their fair share of taxes.

      Whether one is wealthy/comfortable in one's retirement is not necessarily a function of how hard what works it is actually a function of how smart one invests. That said after the crash of 2008 my retirement plan is to die at my desk at the age of 63.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • BADGUY

      "Class Warfare" began with the Republicans. Reagan started it by allowing corporations to move off shore so they could fire union workers. Class warfare, Rich against the poor, has been raging ever since. The poor just didn't realize it! Now, they do!

      May 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  15. ferret out the B.S.

    This country has always been about helping those less fortunate whether it through education and providing the tools that help people make their lives better or giving to charity. Unfortunatly charitable organizations don't have the reach that government has even though they their reach is huge. Perhaps those sitting on their wallets might try to understand the dire straights that many are in and volunteer their time and energy to help rather than just denigrate those that believe in a helping hand and put their money and ideology to good use. Republicans have taken their lack of compassion to the level of being a life style and it is sickening. Try to be part of the solution instead of always being part of the problem.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  16. Darla

    Why do we still expect government to take care of the poor and needy? Shouldn't donations or funds come from these fine religious people and other because charity is in their heart? If it is not in their heart to suport women, elderly, sick, homeless, etc shold we be asking why? I donate to various charities that I choose. There are some I don't agree with either because of their message they send or mishandling of funds, but I give because I want to; it's the right thing for me to do and I don't force others to do the same. When you expect government to pay for these programs then you are forcing people to support what they do not want to. Why can't we take care of our own and not expect governement-Republican or Democrat to force us.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Robert

      At times it is good policy for government to take care of the poor as the cost of doing so is less than the cost of not doing so.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • CM

      Diffusion of responsibility. Even good people will do nothing when they are anonymous enough. Unless you've got millions to throw around, a nice trinket to shut your kid up for a few days will always win over feeding a poor person you don't know. Charitable organizations don't and never will have the resources to deal with the US poverty problem.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  17. Bluedobee

    The hypocrisy lies in the fact that the Catholic church promotes the philosophy of "go forth and multiply". Never taking in to consideration that if people can't afford children, they shouldn't have them. They oppose abortion and birth control.
    So it's no wonder that there are so many poor out there dependent on government handouts.

    Here's an idea, why don't you strip down the vatican and all those churches that are filled with gold items, artwork, marble, and other precious metals and sell the items to feed the poor if you are that concerned about them. And tell the pope that he doesn't need to purchase and wear a $12,000 cassock.....put your money where your mouth is...or shut up!

    May 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • AlGaN

      Sorry but they don't oppose birth control. They oppose artificial birth control. Natural Family Planning teaches birth control methods. Also, catholic charities help millions of poor people around the globe so they do put their money where their mouth is..

      May 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • BADGUY

      So Catholic doctrine is not so much about pushing people to have kids but demanding they use a "hit and miss" technique rather than a "sure fire" technique, when the people DON'T wanna have kids?

      May 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  18. rt

    well, it seems we have a religous left, too. just as lame and stupid as the religous right.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  19. fofo

    Wow, even the church is a finally admitting that the Republicans conducts, the “conservatives“and the crusader of “faith, moral and family values”, are un-Christian. It certainly took a lot to finally “shock the conscience” of the Churches.

    May 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  20. CM

    Love that communion is denied over abortion but Boehner's war on the poor is met with nothing more than a strongly-worded letter. If he's not fulfilling Catholic values, he deserves the same consequences used against Kerry. Make him think long and hard about how he practices his faith in his life. Maybe then he'll have to admit he's only Catholic for campaign purposes and the only God he believes in is green on paper. Typical Catholic Church response... token words towards standing up for their morality (care for the poor, molesting boys is wrong) while their actions speak much louder (yeah the poor need help but we're not really going to do anything about it once they're out of the womb, and molesting boys isn't wrong enough to remove priests for doing it).

    May 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • AlGaN

      Catholic charities help millions of poor people around the globe.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • THE Reality Tsar

      Just what is Prof. Schneck a professor of at Catholic University? He, and all the signers of this letter, clearly don't understand that Christ was teaching us to each individually, voluntarily, take care of the poor. The idea of the people being compelled, essentially the point of a gun by the government, to surrender their property so it can be redistributed to people the government has deemed more deserving is socialist/communist not Christian.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Lush Rimbaugh Sux

      "Just what is Prof. Schneck a professor of at Catholic University? He, and all the signers of this letter, clearly don't understand that Christ was teaching us to each individually, voluntarily, take care of the poor."

      I am sure you know more about the Bible than 70 Catholic university professors.
      Conservative "logic". You people are such frauds.

      May 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • BADGUY

      It would be one thing if we had a mountain of "nar-do-wells", sitting around, avoiding work and living "on the dole". BUT WE DON'T! The unemployed ARE unemployed because Republicans like Reagan and Bush allowed manufacturing jobs to be moved overseas to 1) kill the unions and 2) make money for big corporations by allowing them to use low cost labor and re-import, once American made goods, for a fat profit. Well guess what? An economy designed to run on consumer demand now has NO CONSUMERS! Surprise, Surprise! Now the Republicans what to put the lower and middle classes EVEN FURTHER down the economic ladder be driving Social Security and Medicare "off the road". If THAT doesn't warrant a refusal to grant communion, I don't know what does?

      May 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • BADGUY

      I live in a city with massive unemployment. I've never seen Catholic Charities do ANYTHING for the poor. The money goes into new churches, land, payroll and what's left is shipped to Rome! How in the world, is Catholic Charities going to make even a dent in the misery of millions of unemployed Americans, let alone the poor in other countries????

      May 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.