News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

Church officers in major Christian denominations call Ryan budget morally indefensible

 South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Ben Nesselhuf pointed out this:   

Before the Senate held its vote on the Ryan budget this week,  Bishops from the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist churches sent a letter to senators stating that the budget flies in the face of the most basic Christian values.  

The federal budget debate in Congress raises essential questions about our values and priorities as a nation. As bishops compelled by the Gospel to give voice to those who suffer at the margins of society, we speak not as policy experts or politicians, but as disciples of Jesus and faithful citizens.

If the moral measure of a just society is found in how we treat the most vulnerable, the budget proposal passed by the House of Representatives, which the Senate will vote on this week, fails the basic tests of justice, compassion and a commitment to the common good.

This budget eviscerates vital nutrition programs for mothers and infants (WIC), and makes cuts to Medicaid that will hurt sick children, struggling families and seniors in nursing homes. Proposed changes to Medicare will break the promise that all American seniors get the healthcare they need by forcing them to buy private insurance without assuring that it is affordable. It asks those who need our help the most to fend for themselves in a volatile marketplace where profit, not human dignity, sets the agenda. Unlike the Good Samaritan, who stopped to care for a wounded stranger on the side of the road, the House budget turns its back on the most vulnerable at a time of grave economic uncertainty even as it endorses policies that gives tax breaks for the privileged few. This is morally indefensible.

We urge Senators voting on the House budget proposal this week to consider the human costs of massive cuts to social programs and come together across partisan lines to shape a budget that defends human dignity and basic economic security for all Americans.
The complete letter including the list of signatories is here.  

Catholic Bishops sent similar criticisms of the budget to House Speaker John Boehner on the occasion of  him addressing the graduation ceremony at Catholic University.  A  summary of their letter reads:


The 2012 budget you shepherded to passage in the House of Representatives guts long-established protections for the most vulnerable members of society. It is particularly cruel to pregnant women and children, gutting Maternal and Child Health grants and slashing $500 million from the highly successful Women Infants and Children nutrition program. When they graduate from WIC at age 5, these children will face a 20% cut in food stamps. The House budget radically cuts Medicaid and effectively ends Medicare. It invokes the deficit to justify visiting such hardship upon the vulnerable, while it carves out $3 trillion in new tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. In a letter speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Stephen Blaire and Bishop Howard Hubbard detailed the anti-life implications of this budget in regard to its impact on poor and vulnerable American citizens. They explained the Church’s teachings in this regard clearly, insisting that:

A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. It requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.

Specifically, addressing your budget, the letter expressed grave concern about changes to Medicaid and Medicare that could leave the elderly and poor without adequate health care.
 We also fear the human and social costs of substantial cuts to programs that serve families working to escape poverty, especially food and nutrition, child development and education, and affordable housing.

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