Friday, February 03, 2006

These bishops should resign in disgrace

In this instance I'm not talking about Francis George of Chicago and Joseph Imesch of Joliet, Illinois, both suffering from their incompetent handling of sex-abuse cases. Nope, I'm talking about people like Raymond Burke of St. Louis and Charles Chaput of Denver who did everything in their power to make sure Catholics felt morally obliged to vote for George Bush. How did they do this? By making abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research, and gay marriage the only issues Catholics should vote on--not welfare, not war and peace, not a just system of taxation, not health care.

Why am I bringing this up now? Because today Bush asked for another $70 billion in funds for his unjust war in Iraq--you know, the one predicated on bad intelligence and scare tactics. That brings the total to $390 billion on Iraq alone (despite the fact the administration fired Lawrence Lindsay for suggesting the Iraq adventure would cost $200 billion). That's $390 billion not going to the 46 million Americans without health insurance, $390 billion not going to education, $390 billion not going to drug abuse and crime prevention, $390 billion not going to securing ports and high-risk targets from terrorism, $390 billion not going to protecting the environment--the adverse effects of which fall most heavily on poor children, who have asthma and childhood cancer at alarming rates. In the end, it's $390 billion worth of screwing the poor. And don't forget, the most recent budget cut $40 billion from Medicare, Medicaid, and student loans--while Halliburton and Exxon executives got stinking rich. Yeah, yeah, it's just market forces. Nope, it's gross injustice.

On top of it all, the abortion rate has not declined one iota since Bush has been in office, despite him beating the "culture of life" drum; even if Roe v. Wade gets overturned by the Roberts-Alito-Scalia-Thomas axis, the abortion rate won't go down. The issue will simply return to the states. But I guarantee you that if pre- and post-natal care were guaranteed every pregnant woman and every child, and if nutrition, housing, childcare and education assistance for single pregnant women were priorities, the abortion rate would go down. But no one, not even Bush-voting Catholics evidently, is willing to pay a red cent in higher taxes to save unborn children. We'd rather make abortion illegal, blame women for having sex and getting pregnant out of wedlock, and doom their children to poverty than accept that we have moral responsibility for every single child of God born, no matter how or to whom or in what circumstances. That's what it means to be pro-life, pro-child, and pro-family as far as I'm concerned.

I know, I know, this is supposed to be about Catholicism not politics, and it is. We Catholics from right to left should be able to agree, based on Catholic social teaching, that domestic policy should be directed first to the needs of the poor and vulnerable (not to trickle-down economic nonsense), that health care is a human right, that war, if ever undertaken, should only be engaged in as an absolute last resort. And single-issue bishops like Chaput and Burke share at least part of the blame for acting like it was a sin to vote for John Kerry.


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