Bishops to Supercommittee: Don’t Think About Touching Programs for the Poor

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Oh, those religious people–always droning on and on about the poor. It’s like they have nothing else to do. (Other than getting arrested by the hundreds at the White House for protesting a proposed Canadian oil pipeline.) And it’s like the Bible told them to or something. If they love the poor so much, why don’t they marry them?

Catholic BishopsToday’s religious reminder about the stock portfolio-challenged comes from the U.S.  via a letter sent to the members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the Supercommittee.) While the Hoover Institution’s Richard Epstein recently went after the Pope for denouncing those who “put profits before people,” the bishops were apparently not cowed, taking up the same cry.

Among the moral criteria they lay out to guide the members of the Supercommittee: “A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects ‘the least of these’ (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the bishops have made this same case over and over this year–first during budget negotiations in the spring, and then again when Congress and the Administration negotiated the debt ceiling compromise. Then as now, they warn against “cuts to programs that serve families working to make ends meet and escape poverty”, “undermining poverty-focused international assistance”, and “cuts to funding for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs.”

There they go again. The poor, the poor, the poor. What happened to “Blessed are the top two percent”?