Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Religious leaders urge Obama to protect the poor in budget efforts

Catholic News Service reports on last week’s meeting of religious leaders and President Obama:
The 40-minute session with the president "was very enlightening and energizing," said Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., a member of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, one of the participants in the White House meeting.

"It was wonderful to see the president so engaged," the bishop told Catholic News Service in a separate interview. "He seems to accept our message."

That message is that political leaders should pay attention to the fundamental moral principle of putting the needs of the poor first in allocating scarce government resources, the bishop said.

He told the president that "as religious leaders, our concern is not which party wins the current political battles," but rather that "if we all don't speak up, who is likely to lose: the families trying to feed their kids, the jobless looking for work, the children who need health care, the hungry and sick and hopeless around the world."

. . .

"The poor have no powerful lobbyists," Bishop Ramirez told Obama. "But they have the most powerful moral claim on this process."

He and the other participants asked the president to "be their voice."

"You are at your best when you echo the Scriptures and remind us we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers," the bishop said he told Obama. "We need more of that from you."

Bishop Ramirez said of his one-day trip to Washington: "It's not every day the U.S. bishops get invited to the White House and get to talk about something as crucial as care for the poor."
The rest of the article is here.