Our guest blogger is Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Now that Mitt Romney has picked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate, Ryan’s radical budget constitutes Romney’s economic platform. The Ryan-Romney budget is based on a number of false and dangerous notions: that an unfettered free market can provide all that society needs, that slashing critical programs for struggling families while cutting taxes for the rich will make the nation stronger, and that ruthless individualism and selfishness trump community.
Not surprisingly, faith leaders condemned the Ryan budget — and the philosophy behind it — when it was first introduced in the House of Representatives last year. They intensified their criticism when the House passed the Ryan budget this spring. Here’s some of what them said:
— Catholic nuns, priests, and friars have called the Ryan budget “immoral,” a “severe failure,” and the “height of hypocrisy.” Sister Simone Campbell led a 17-city “Nuns on the Bus” tour this summer to visit faith-based social service programs that would be hurt by cuts proposed in the Ryan budget. Last week her organization, NETWORK, and the Franciscan Action Network invited Mitt Romney to spend a day with them visiting the poor in order to meet the people who’d be affected by their budget cuts. NETWORK issued a statement after the Ryan-VP announcement saying, “We agree with Catholic Bishops that Paul Ryan’s budget fails the test of Catholic Social Teaching since it deliberately harms people at the economic margins.”
— Catholic bishops have called the Ryan budget “unjustified and wrong” and failing a moral test. In April the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a public letter to the House of Representatives saying that the federal budget must “protect poor, vulnerable people.”
Diverse other faith leaders have condemned the Ryan budget as “immoral” and “irresponsible” for cutting safety net programs while protecting the richest from shared sacrifice. Here is what they’ve said:
— Lisa Sharon Harper from Sojourners: “It is simply unconscionable to balance the budget on the backs of struggling Americans while protecting tax breaks for millionaires. Churches and faith-based nonprofits are already fighting an uphill battle to meet the needs of their communities. They don’t need politicians making their work even harder because Congress is dead set on politicizing a simple duty of common sense governance.”
— Rabbi Jack Moline of the Rabbinical Assembly: “The poor are not statistics….it is unimaginable to look in the face of a child who would go hungry without government assistance and say, ‘Sorry — we need to reduce the deficit.’”
— Rev. Gabriele Salguero of the National Latino Evangelical coalition: “Budgets reflect our deepest moral commitments. Politicians ought to remember that protecting vulnerable families and children is at the center of the biblical command to care for the poor.”