House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan
Is the Ryan Budget Immoral Social Darwinism?
The right-wing Republicans, who are mostly Evangelical Protestants, rushed to join forces with the Catholic hierarchy when they needed ecclesiastical sanction for their attack on women’s reproductive freedom. Twisting themselves in knots with spurious Constitutional arguments that the requirement for employers to provide health insurance which offers contraceptives to female employees as a benefit represented a “war on religion.”
In a kind of Orwellian New Speak, the Republicans introduced a spate of medieval laws that stopped just short of re-introducing chastity belts, and enthusiastically sought the blessings of the Catholic Church for their nefarious activities. But after they heard the statement from the American Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Ryan Budget, which the Republicans just passed in the House, John Boehner and Paul Ryan are now wishing someone would rid them of these troublesome priests!
After thoroughly vetting the document, the Bishops publicly announced yesterday that the Ryan/Romney Budget is so immoral it would “make Jesus Christ Cry!” Needless to say, Paul Ryan, the author of this budget and a self-proclaimed devout Catholic who just recently claimed that his budgetary decisions were guided by Catholic teachings, is in deep doo doo.
While I am unwilling to take sexual advice from pious eunuchs in black gowns, a saving grace of the Catholic Church is concern for the poor all over the world and it’s denunciation of avarice as a mortal sin. According to Congressman Ryan, who is prepared to give the rich trillions of dollars in tax cuts, reducing benefits to the desperately poor, for which they are a life line, is the best way to “”help people get out of poverty out onto life of independence.”
The Bishops disagree. They say the Ryan /Romney budget contains “unacceptable cuts to hunger and nutrition,” and that for “moral and human reasons” Congress’ proper role is to “protect essential programs that serve poor and hungry people over subsidies that assist large and relatively well-off agricultural enterprises;” which is to say agri-business.
The Bishops pulled no punches their condemnation of the Ryan/Romney budget’s reduction of food aid to citizens who desperately need it. “Cuts to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment. These cuts are unjustified and wrong.”
Echoing the Bishops on MSNBC a Catholic priest Scholar of church doctrine, echoed his Bishops when he called the Ryan / Romney Budget “Immoral Social Darwinism,” and denounced Congressman Ryan’s intellectual hero Ayn Rand, the author of Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as an “amoral atheist philosopher and social Darwinist” who believes compassion is folly and the powerful should crush the rich . To put it accurately if indelicately, the Catholic leadership has pooped on the Republican parade.
By their lights Newt Gingrich, who has made much of his conversion to Catholicism, has honored President Obama by proclaiming him “The Food Stamp President.” And they have declared President Obama’s position to me more in accord with Catholic teaching than the avowedly Catholic Paul Ryan, who has the unmitigated gall to say on the record that he disagrees with the Bishop’s interpretation of Catholic teaching. Politics makes strange bedfellows.
Harlem, New York
April 22, 2012