Acton Institute Powerblog

Nuns, 60 Minutes, Go After Rep. Paul Ryan

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Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul Ryan
Last week’s spike in gasoline prices hasn’t slowed Nuns on the Bus a whit. The nuns and Network, their parent organization, are squeezing every drop of mileage out of their new-found fame, which has more to do with supporting liberal causes than reflecting church principles of caring for the poor and limiting government’s role in the private sector.

Over the weekend, the CBS program 60 Minutes had a sympathetic overview of the supposed Vatican crackdown of the sisters’ activities – censorship! Inquisition! – that was presented fast on the heels of the group’s March 13 press release registering its displeasure with Rep. Paul Ryan’s FY14 budget proposal.

The CBS profile failed to cover the nuns’ weighing in on such topics as averting climate change and the Affordable Care Act via proxy shareholder resolutions while focusing on social topics regarding the ordination of female priests and same-sex marriages. While sensitive to the very real works of compassion performed by the nuns, the network depicted the Vatican as hard-hearted and unyielding in its enforcement of church doctrine.

Network, which bills itself as “A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby,” garnered major huzzahs from leftist magazine The Nation for its staunch opposition to Rep. Ryan’s proposed budget. Network’s press release cites such objective sources as The New York Times and The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein in its rebuke of Ryan’s plan.

It should be mentioned here that Rep. Ryan’s plan would scuttle the Affordable Care Act.

Stated nowhere in the release is religious grounding for Network’s opposition to Ryan’s proposal other than a vague mention of “those struggling to survive economically.”

The Nation, on the other hand, makes much of Network as “the Catholic social justice lobby” and its decision “to focus attention on moral objections to Ryan’s budget schemes. They did so with the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ tour, which brought NETWORK executive director Sister Simone Campbell and other Catholic Sisters to the congressman’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.”

Even though Network makes no mention its position on Rep. Ryan’s budget plan is completely independent of the church they ostensibly serve, The Nation goes to great lengths in conflating Network’s status as religious with moral authority on the ACA. However, both Network and The Nation are culpable in misleading the public at large in believing the Catholic Church supports the growth of government programs at the expense of unsustainable long-term debt.

This last will certainly present negative impacts on “those struggling to survive economically” now and well into the future. But that makes no never mind to the liberal agenda of The Nation who is only too happy to exploit Network’s religious status, or Network who seemingly enjoy being used as willing dupes for a big-government, liberal agenda.

Bruce Edward Walker Bruce Edward Walker has more than 20 years’ writing and editing experience in a variety of publishing areas, including reference books, newspapers, magazines, media relations and corporate speeches. Much of this material involved research on water rights, land use, alternative-technology vehicles and other environmental issues, but Walker has also written extensively on nonscientific subjects, having produced six titles in Wiley Publishing’s CliffsNotes series, including study guides for "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest." Most recently, he was manager of communications for the Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network. Prior to assuming that role, he served from 2006-2007 as editor of Michigan Science, a quarterly Mackinac Center publication. Walker has served as an adjunct professor of literature and academic writing at University of Detroit Mercy. He is also a member of the marketing advisory committee of Tomorrow’s Child, a Lansing, Mich.-based research and education organization dealing with infant mortality issues. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University. He is the father of two daughters and currently lives in Midland, Mich.

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