E.J. Dionne: When religion is prophetic – New York News




The votes from Republican Senators Susan Collins, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski to stop their party’s repeal-Obamacare juggernaut were demonstrations of genuine courage.

The appearance of this virtue in a dark time is not necessarily miraculous, but I couldn’t help noticing the striking intervention in this debate by 7,150 American nuns who called the Senate GOP’s core proposal “the most harmful legislation for American families in our lifetimes.”

In a letter organized by the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK, the nuns cited Pope Francis — “health is not a consumer good, but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege” — and noted matter-of-factly: “To cut Medicaid and take health care from millions of people is not a pro-life stance.”

Their plea was a reminder, particularly to more secular liberals, that religious witness in politics is not confined to the political right, that Christianity has long had a lot to say about economic and social inequities, and that pushing prophets inspired by faith out of the public square would be harmful to progressives as well as conservatives.


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In speaking out as they did, the socially minded nuns — who do the work of justice and mercy every day in hospitals, clinics, homeless shelters and schools — made clear that depriving millions of Americans of health coverage truly is a moral outrage. But while the most conservative among the faithful might not appreciate it, the sisters also did a service to believers of all stripes by demolishing stereotypes about what it…

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