Monday, May 16, 2011

Republicans get Catholic Social Justice Right

Congressman Boehner was roundly criticized by Catholic professors at Catholic University for not caring about the poor. Why?Mostly because he is a Republican and they have bought the lie that only Democrats and their big government programs can help the poor.
Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings. From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of 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.
Listen to the video clip below of Senator Rick Santorum at 9:25 in this Town Hall Meeting in New Hampshire and you will hear a Catholic articulate how to help poor children out of poverty effectively while respecting their emotional and spiritual needs to grow up in two parent families. Support traditional marriage and you support the welfare of children. Support big government programs and you help break up families. Statistics bear this out time after time, and I saw it in my career as a social worker. The families who were once middle class, after a divorce, the dad takes off to hide his income from the court,  while the wife is stuck renting someone's basement with her children and trying to get the education she put off to help the man further his career. Or the generations of welfare families where marriage was never part of the equation. Studies show that having children out of wedlock is THE surest way to live in poverty, yet when President Bush tried to encourage marriage the ACLU was in full cry to stop him from trampling on civil rights. What about the right of child to a mommy and a daddy who love him? If Catholics don't stand up for that who will?
 I read Rick Santorum's book "It Takes a Family" (by the way its enormously popular at the bookstore at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, on Catholic University campus, but I'd bet none of the 72 liberal professors have taken the time to read it) This book is packed with practical, tested solutions to social problems like poverty within true Catholic social teaching. Santorum undertands what these professors don't, the concept of subsidiarity, which means that the lowest possible level of government should govern us. For example a local school board is more in touch with its community and should make most of the decisions for the schools in a given town, not some bureaucrat in DC at the NEA.
 The Catholic Church is the world's largest Social Service agency yet it has always worked on the local level. I was a social worker at Catholic Charities, when they decided to move from the diocesan social service offices to Parish Outreach, a local social service office located in each parish. It was a great idea, and enables the Church to better help the poor. Republicans have backed poverty solutions like the enormously successful welfare reform bill reluctantly signed into law by Bill Clinton. Now Clinton brags about it. Why? Because it was the single biggest catalyst to get single moms off the rolls and into the workforce in American history.

Republicans also support tax credits and opportunity scholarships that help poor children attend the same private schools that President Obama's children attend. Why doesn't Obama send his daughters to DC public schools? Because he knows better. Then why did he dismantle the DC Opportunity Scholarship program, closing the door to the  same opportunity to poor blacks that his girls have? Thank God Boehner fought to reinstate that program, amid loud protests from DC's black mayor Vincent Gray who, like Obama cares more about the teacher's union than their students. His protests were apalling, he was willing to go to jail over revoking scholarships and reinstating abortion subsidies of poor women. He like many Democrats, has his priorities backwards. We should strengthen traditional families, let them keep their babies and send their children to the best schools. This will eliminate many of the problems of their drug, gang, crime infested neighborhoods by giving young children proper role models who teach them what goals are and how to achieve them.
We need to question Democrats who call themselves Catholic on these issues, and discern with whom their loyalties lie. I would bet they support teacher's unions and federal employees unions over the very poor they serve, but they must be educated to realize this. And the poor are educated to think of Democrats as their friends and Republicans as selfish, racist, and materialistic.Rick Santorum is way ahead of the pack on this issue and seems to be resonating with the grassroots as well, wining the South Carolina Republican primary voters straw poll. No Republican candidate has won the nomination without winning South Carolina.

Conversation With Rick Santorum: Web Extra - Video - WMUR Manchester

1 comment:

Pro-Life Democrat said...

Well, just came across this post. Offering vouchers to cover tuitions that are routinely double or triple the value of the vouchers is nothing more than a scheme to shift resources to the "haves" and away from the "have nothings."

On economic policy, the Republican positions hardly reflect Catholic values or the Church's well-documented positions on social justice.

Apart from accepting the drivel offered by the Republicans, I doubt many so-called conservative Catholics have even bothered to skim any of the Church's encyclicals - Deus Caritas Est, Laborem Exercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, or Centesimus Annus, to name a few.

Lastly, I received degrees from two of the country's prominent Catholic universities - but not Catholic University - and calling the faculty at Catholic U. "liberal" is amusing, if not misguided.