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Monday, August 13, 2012

Social justice missing from Ryan's record

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 6:06 AM

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Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as running mate sharpens the debate on the differences between the political parties.

Ryan, a Catholic, couldn't be clearer on women's rights. When it comes to medical decisions, he doesn't think they should have any, including use of contraceptive pills and IUDs that might prevent implantation of a fertile egg. He certainly doesn't want private insurance companies to be forced to pay for women's preventive health care should it include little pills to avoid pregnancy.

But the rich social justice tradition of the Catholic church? Not so high on Ryan's list. From Catholics United:

Mitt Romney’s newly announced vice presidential candidate, Catholic Congressman Paul Ryan, has a long-standing standing relationship with the teachings of atheist philosopher Ayn Rand. Because of their stern pronouncements against serving the weak, poor and marginalized, the teachings of Ayn Rand are antithetical to Catholic social teaching.

On April 16, the Catholic bishops condemned Paul Ryan’s budget proposal as failing a “basic moral test” in that it slashes food assistance to the poor and radically redefines safety net programs such as Medicare.

Despite the formative influence of Ayn Rand on his involvement in public life, on April 26, Congressman Ryan publicly claimed to have renounced the teachings of Ayn Rand, yet has failed to explain how any of his policies have changed.

Lots available on this subject. Here, a conservative writer defends Ryan, but concedes a "Catholic problem." And here, the Washington Post, suggests he could be a "cafeteria Catholic" of another sort — strong on birth control, not so strong on helping those in need.

He does love guns and hates any restrictions on them. Protections for gay people? Not so much, though in a remarkable break from current Republican orthodoxy, he did support legislation to prohibit employment discrimination against gay people.

Other than that rare sign of fairness, Ryan is a perfect Republican pick. He reflects extremist Republicanism, which seems to be the only kind left, particularly in Arkansas.

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