This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
(here is a key excerpt)
BILL MOYERS: In the Bible, as you say, when Jesus speaks of helping the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, taking in the sick, he says, "You do it." He doesn't say, "Go and ask Caesar or go and get the senate to pass taxes." And when Jesus looked at the rich man, whom the Bible tells us he loved, he said, "Go, sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven." It was to be a personal act of sacrifice. Do you see that point in what Robert is saying?
SR. SIMONE CAMPBELL: I think absolutely. And what we saw on the bus trip were personal acts of sacrifice. The problem is that we've got now, is that the problem is so huge, it is so far beyond individual charity. Additionally, we have the teaching within our church that Pope Benedict the XVI makes very clear that until we have justice, we can't have charity. And the idea that largesse alone, on the part of the extremely wealthy, will fix this problem is really wrong.
It has not happened over the last ten years, when the wealth gap in our nation has grown so dramatically. We also know from Catholic social teaching that the role of government is to positively balance out the excesses of any culture. Our current excess is this huge individualistic, "I've got mine, nobody else can have it" approach. And so we, in Catholic social teaching, Pope Benedict teaches in “Charity and Truth” that the role of government—
BILL MOYERS: “Charity and Truth” was the—
SR. SIMONE CAMPBELL: --is the encyclical, an encyclical. Is that the role of government then becomes to balance out excess. I would agree if people would generously give, if we didn't have the huge wealth gap. If we hadn't had years of millions of people in our country being without health care. If we hadn't have had all of this experience of the poor becoming poorer, that the minimum wage doesn't even get people out of poverty now. I would think, "Okay, just let the free market do it." It's failed. It's time we say it.
Catholic Nuns vs. The Constitution
US Constitution, Amendment 1
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
“We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” (Representative David Crockett, on the floor of the US House)
"We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money." (Representative David Crockett)
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” (George Washington)
We the People:
Congress is not granted the authority to fund charity in the enumerated powers (US Constitution, Article I, Section 8). It is not listed there because the founders did not trust this barely-controllable fire to administer it.
Sister Simone-Campbell is advancing the dangerous mix of church and state that the founders feared. Charity is voluntary actions directly from the people. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” Such were the words of Jesus of Nazareth. He did not direct them to give to Caesar so government officials could act like gods with it. His faith was in the people and the church. So when Sister Simone-Campbell states that this problem is too huge for private charity, she is (perhaps) unwittingly admitting more faith in government than in God. Ours is one nation under God. Are the Nuns on the bus advocating a government above God?