Paul Ryan Claims Jesus Supported Small Government; Catholic Bishops DisagreePosted: April 17, 2012
Yesterday, NPR’s Morning Edition reported on a “debate among Christians” about whether Jesus believed in helping the poor.
After the House passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the Republican plan, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus’ command to care for the poor.
Not so, says Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee. He told Christian Broadcasting Network last week that it was his Catholic faith that helped shape the budget plan. In his view, the Catholic principle of subsidiarity suggests the government should have little role in helping the poor.
“Through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities — through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community — that’s how we advance the common good,” Ryan said.
The best thing that government can do, he said, is get out of the way.
Can you believe NPR’s religion reporter actually pretended there is a legitimate “debate” about this?
Today the Catholic Bishops indicated they think Jesus believed in helping actual living people–not just zygotes, embryos, and fetuses.
The Hill reports that the Bishops have so far sent letters to the House Agriculture and Ways and Means Committees and they also plan to send letters to other House committees as well, because they believe the budget “disproportionately cut[s] programs that ‘serve poor and vulnerable people.'”
The Bishops are particularly concerned about the budget’s draconian cuts in food stamps and child tax credits for immigrants–programs that help needy families stave off starvation. According to The Hill, the letters appear to be in response to recent comments made by Paul Ryan, who claims to be a Catholic.
“A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private,” Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, told the Christian Broadcasting Network.
“So to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person,” Ryan said.
Ryan made a moral case for his budget, saying that the government shouldn’t be responsible for lifting its citizens out of poverty — rather, that it’s the obligation of the citizens themselves to be society’s caretakers.
“Those principles are very, very important,” Ryan said. “And the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life, help people get out of poverty, out into a life of independence.”
Maybe Ryan should try reading the New Testament instead of Atlas Shrugged. Here’s one quote from Jesus:
Luke 6:20-21 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
I couldn’t find any quotes from Jesus about small government and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. Anyone know any of those?