Weeks after making access to contraception into a "War on Religion" the Catholic Church has again decided to weigh in on policy. In a letter to the House this week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized the budget put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan, saying that it failed to meet certain "moral criteria" by cutting back on programs that serve the hungry, poor, and unemployed.
In particular, the Bishops found Ryan's targeting of programs like the Federal Food Stamp Program unacceptable. "These cuts are unjustified and wrong," they wrote. "Government has a responsibility to promote the common good of all."
Ryan and Speaker of the House Boehner -- both Catholics -- defended their handiwork. Boehner said he was simply making necessary "hard decisions," while Ryan used the popular, if twisted, republican logic to explain that by cutting assistance programs, he was preventing the needy from becoming "dependent on the government."
This, from the party that has made a loud and specific argument regarding the importance of faith as a guiding principle in public life -- and criticized the separation of church and state.
One can only ask: Why don't religious principles regarding the most vulnerable have a place in republican policy?Conservative leaders enjoy insulting President Obama by calling him the "food stamp president."
But if that means protecting programs that are, according to the Church itself, morally incumbent upon us to support, and ones that reaffirm our commitment to each other as human beings -- well then, it's a title President Obama should wear with pride.