House Speaker John Boehner probably fancies himself a good Catholic, what with his mass-going and his hardcore views on abortion and gay rights. So he can’t have enjoyed getting this letter, from 75 professors at Catholic colleges, calling his record “at variance with the church’s most ancient moral teachings.”
Which teachings would those be? “Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress,” the letter reads. “This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”
The letter writers especially fault Boehner for pushing a budget that cut Medicare, Medicaid, and a nutrition program for the poor, while handing tax cuts to the wealthy – policies they call “anti-life,” a charge usually reserved for contemptible pro-choice types.
The letter’s timing isn’t accidental. Boehner is scheduled to give the commencement address on Saturday at the prestigious Catholic University of America in Washington. As the New York Times notes, the choice of graduation speakers at Catholic universities has become a touchy subject in recent years, but usually because lots of Catholic professors, bishops, and students object to liberal-leaning speakers who favor access to abortion or gay rights. (An Obama visit to Notre Dame in 2009, for instance, drew protests and picketers.)
The professors point out that the powerful U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also recently criticized budget cuts to programs that help the poor.
When conservative Republicans lose the bishops, you know they’ve really gone too far.