And now, back to the rest of the agenda…
I’m writing this before we know the final outcome of the House health care vote today (Sunday) but the news reports as of 4 pm indicate the bill will pass.
Meanwhile, just across the Capitol lawn, 100,000 protesters have gathered to remind Congress that immigration reform used to be a very important issue on The Hill, and it remains an essential issue of life and human dignity for millions of human beings. Sadly, the dismal state of legislative affairs in this country ensures yet more delay and obfuscation on immigration reform.
Unfortunately, because so much political capital has rinsed through the system on health care reform, few voices of clear moral authority can speak to our society right now about the fundamental principle of justice at stake in immigration reform. Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles had a column in the Washington Post today spelling out the Church’s position on immigration reform. Also, see Congressman Gutierrez’ remarks on immigration reform.
Reforming immigration laws to uphold the rights and dignity of workers and families is a classic issue within the rubric of the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church. But the current state of political discourse is so toxic that the words “social justice” themselves have now been held up for ridicule by no less a moral authority than Glenn Beck, the Fox news commentator who, last week, told people to leave — nay, “run away from” — any church that preaches the gospel of social justice, which, according to His Exaltedness Beck, is a “code word” for either communism or nazism. Hmmm. For this he gets paid millions.
Religious leaders are the ones who should be running away — away from the likes of Beck and hatemongers like him. Unfortunately, because religion has become so deeply enmeshed in political issues, the moral voice of religious leaders is muffled, or worse, hijacked by demagogues who have no religion save their own fame and fortune.
Beck and his ilk would be a mere sideshow except for the fact that people actually believe him and act on his rants. How else to explain the outrageous and uncivilized taunts of “Tea Party” protesters hurling racial and other epithets at members of Congress this past weekend, or the disgraceful rants that pass as comments on many online news stories and blogs today.
Beyond health care, this nation has an immense agenda in need of serious, thoughtful attention. Anybody remember that two wars are raging? How about that economy, folks? Education reform is somewhere in the mix.
More than a year ago, millions of people gathered peacefully on a cold January day to witness the idea of change in our political culture. Is this what we meant? I think not. We need to find our way back to that large sense of consensus for the kind of change that works for the common good.
See discussion of Glenn Beck in “On Success”
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