Nuns who have been critical of a budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would defund many social programs in favor of tax cuts wrapped up their nine-state tour in Washington, D.C. on Monday with an interfaith event at the United Methodist Building near the Capitol.
“Paul Ryan has claimed to be a faithful Catholic, and I have no reason to suspect that that isn’t accurate, “Sister Mary Ellen Lacy Daughter, a lobbyist at Catholic social justice lobbying group NETWORK, told Raw Story. “What we do know, and what the bishops agree with us on, is that the document, the budget that he wrote, is not a moral document. It is not a faithful budget. It is not consistent with the Catholic social teachings. He may claim one thing, but it is clearly in opposition to what we believe.”
“The reality is we should be voting for people who espouse our values, not necessarily voting for your religion,” Daughter said. “What we can judge is the product of what they put out, and Ryan put out a budget that decimates programs that provide for people’s futures.”
Ryan’s budget has also come under criticism by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to which Ryan responded on Fox News, “These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we just respectfully disagree.”
Daughter said she saw the programs work, remembering especially the “state of the art” Philadelphia Brotherhood Rescue Mission. “That was one program where we saw that over and over again where people would stand and say, ‘It wasn’t a hand out, it was a a hand up, and because I was helped in this way, I was able to help my brother in this way,’” she said. “We sometimes forget that looking at this as welfare programs or programs of safety net, we should look at them as business subsidies. We get people to become better citizens, that helps businesses. The more people we bring up, the better we are as a whole.”
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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