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.


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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