Thursday, May 5, 2011

There They Go Again

An excellent article from Catholic Culture revealing the newest political advocacy efforts of the USCCB, clothed within a timely focus on the unemployed, but congruent with the decades-long leftist lurch of the Conference that has consistently shown antipathy to capitalists and sympathy for government, where a more balanced approach is more in keeping with Catholic social teaching.

An excerpt.

“I could not help but investigate our news story proclaiming that the USCCB had made a major new commitment to helping the unemployed. Will the American Church extend its charitable activities to provide as never before for those who are unable to find work?

“Actually, no. Instead, what the USCCB is doing is collaborating with an organization called Interfaith Worker Justice to launch a program called Faith Advocates for Jobs. If you go to the website and download the program’s “congregational toolkit”, you will find that the main purpose of this initiative is to create congregational job clubs and support groups which will be trained and mobilized to mount a highly-orchestrated campaign to “regularly contact legislators and other decision makers” to implement policies which will create jobs, including:

• An economic stimulus package to create and retain millions of jobs, including revitalizing the manufacturing sector.

• A public jobs program to create vital and sustainable jobs.

• Support for states and municipalities to maintain and strengthen social safety net programs.

“To be completely fair, the local support groups created and trained in each congregation are also supposed to meet with the unemployed to make sure they understand the benefits currently available to them, such as extended unemployment benefits, continuing insurance under COBRA, COBRA subsidies, food stamps, and other safety net programs. They are also supposed to learn about foreclosures and seek to help the unemployed to avoid them, and to help the unemployed become part of settlements for companies that have declared bankruptcy. The need for constant encouragement is stressed, and these local support groups should certainly provide other kinds of support, including direct material support.

“These aspects of the program are positive and unobjectionable, but the primary focus appears to be on advocacy for government to create jobs or otherwise provide for the unemployed. There seems to be a presumption that a great deal of the current unemployment problem is caused by direct injustice on the part of employers. One of the toolkit’s prayers is for unjust, greedy employers (of which there certainly are some), and the literature describes the free market as “the golden calf that is worshipped in the United States and across much of the world.”