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Friday, January 20, 2012

Catholic Leaders Challenge Gingrich and Santorum on Divisive Rhetoric Around Race and Poverty

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are being called out for their bigotry and racism. We don't need such regressive thinkers and believers in our government now, or ever!!!! The nation needs to go forward, not backward.

From Faithinpubliclife.org on 1-19-12


More than 40 national Catholic leaders and prominent theologians at universities across the country released a strongly worded open letter today urging “our fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail.”
In the lead up to Saturday’s primary in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich has frequently blasted President Obama as a “food stamp president” and implied that some African Americans are more content to collect welfare benefits than work. Rick Santorum attracted scrutiny for telling Iowa voters he doesn’t want “to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
The open letter reminds the two presidential candidates, vying for Christian conservative voters, that U.S. Catholic bishops have called racism an “intrinsic evil” and consistently defend vital government programs such as food stamps and unemployment benefits that help struggling Americans.
The full text of the statement and signatories follow.
An Open Letter to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum
As Catholic leaders who recognize that the moral scandals of racism and poverty remain a blemish on the American soul, we challenge our fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail. Mr. Gingrich has frequently attacked President Obama as a “food stamp president” and claimed that African Americans are content to collect welfare benefits rather than pursue employment. Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Santorum remarked: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” Labeling our nation’s first African-American president with a title that evokes the past myth of “welfare queens” and inflaming other racist caricatures is irresponsible, immoral and unworthy of political leaders.
Some presidential candidates now courting “values voters” seem to have forgotten that defending human life and dignity does not stop with protecting the unborn. We remind Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum that Catholic bishops describe racism as an “intrinsic evil” and consistently defend vital government programs such as food stamps and unemployment benefits that help struggling Americans. At a time when nearly 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty, charities and the free market alone can’t address the urgent needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. And while jobseekers outnumber job openings 4-to-1, suggesting that the unemployed would rather collect benefits than work is misleading and insulting.
As the South Carolina primary approaches, we urge Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum and all presidential candidates to reject the politics of racial division, refrain from offensive rhetoric and unite behind an agenda that promotes racial and economic justice.
Francis X. DoyleAssociate General Secretary
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (retired)
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Institute Leadership Team:Sisters Patricia McDermott, RSM (President) Eileen Campbell, RSM Anne Curtis, RSM Mary Pat Gavin, RSM Deborah Troillett, RSM
Sister Pat Farrell, OSFPresident
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Rev. Bryan N. MassingaleAssociate Professor of Theology
Marquette University
Rev. Clete KileyDirector for Immigration Policy
UNITE HERE
Rev. Anthony J. Pogorelc,  M.Div., Ph.D.The Catholic University of America
Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies
Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J.University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice
Boston College
Sr. Patricia J. Chappell, SNDdeNExecutive Director, Pax Christi USA
Marie DennisCo-President, Pax Christi International
Rev. John F. Kavanaugh S.J.Professor of Philosophy
St. Louis University
Rev. Jim Keenan, S.J.Founders Professor in Theology
Boston College
Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center
Georgetown University
Sister Mary Ellen HowardExecutive Director
Cabrini Clinic, Detroit
Rev. James E. Hug, S.J.President
Center of Concern
Sister Simone CampbellExecutive Director
NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Steven SchneckDirector
Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America
Sister Karen M. Donahue, RSMJustice Team
Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community
Sister Mary Ann HinsdaleAssoc. Prof. of Theology
Boston College
Tom AllioCleveland Diocesan Social Action Director (retired)
M. Shawn CopelandAssociate Professor of Theology
Boston College
Sister Maria Riley, OPSenior Advisor
Center of Concern
Todd WhitmoreAssociate Professor
Department of Theology
University of Notre Dame
Terrence W. TilleyAvery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Professor of Catholic Theology
Chair
Theology Department
Fordham University, Bronx, NY
Michael E. LeeAssociate Professor
Theology Department
Fordham University, Bronx, NY
Paul LakelandAloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies
Director, Center for Catholic Studies Fairfield University
Lisa Sowle CahillMonan Professor of Theology
Boston College
Eric LeCompteBoard Member
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Tobias WinrightAssociate Professor of Theological Ethics
Saint Louis University
Christopher PramukAssistant Professor of Theology
Xavier University, Cincinnati
John SniegockiAssociate Professor of Christian Ethics
Xavier University, Cincinnati
Kathleen Maas WeigertCarolyn Farrell, BVM Professor of Women and Leadership
Loyola University, Chicago
Daniel K. FinnProfessor of Theology and Economics
St. John’s University, Minnesota
Gerald J. BeyerAssociate Professor of Christian Social Ethics
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia
Jeannine Hill FletcherAssociate Professor of Theology
Faculty Director
Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice
Fordham University, Bronx, NY
Sister Mary Ann HinsdaleAssoc. Prof. of Theology
Boston College
John InglisProfessor and Chair
Department of Philosophy
University of Dayton
Anthony B. SmithAssociate Professor
Department of Religious Studies
University of Dayton
David O’BrienUniversity Professor of Faith and Culture
University of Dayton
William L. PortierMary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology
University of Dayton
Alex MikulichResearch Fellow
Jesuit Social Research Institute
Loyola University, New Orleans
Susan M. WeisharMigration Specialist
Jesuit Social Research Institute
Loyola University
Kristin HeyerAssociate Professor
Religious Studies
Santa Clara University
James SaltExecutive Director
Catholics United
Vincent MillerProfessor of Religious Studies
University of Dayton
Nancy DallavalleAssociate Professor and Chair
Department of Religious Studies
Fairfield University

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