When the U.S. Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act last fall to establish a toll-free number with assistance for those with mental health crises, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops quietly lobbied behind the scenes against the legislation.
Their justification? The legislation contained special funding for LGBTQ support.
A similar path has been taken by the U.S. bishops since March 2013 towards the Violence Against Women Act, bipartisan legislation that established a separate office and additional funding for the prosecution of violent crimes against women.
"All persons must be protected from violence, but codifying the classifications 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' as contained in S. 47 is problematic," the bishops wrote in a statement signed by the heads of four committees and one subcommittee.
Such reasoning is, in part, why the U.S. bishops have opposed the recently passed House legislation known as the Equality Act, which would expand federal civil rights protection against LGBTQ persons, while eliminating religious freedom protections.
On March 21, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas took to the Sunday shows to announce "the border is closed." He rightly noted that the Biden administration inherited a mess from its predecessor. A four-year backlog of humanitarian assistance is no easy thing with which to grapple. He touted the opening of three new facilities for processing unaccompanied minors.
"Still, the overall message was not that the Biden administration was embarking on a bold effort to change the reality on the ground for the thousands of desperate people who are fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America," NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters writes. "His message sounded a lot like Trump Lite."
"We can all be glad that we are not subjected to dehumanizing language about migrants coming from the leader of the nation, but I suspect most migrants wouldn't give a hoot what you say about them so long as you let them enter the country, connect with family members already here, and begin pursuing the American dream like millions and millions of migrants have done in the past," Winters continues. "They need material assistance. They need a government that does not reflexively seek to deport people for whom returning to a refugee camp in Mexico really would constitute a crisis."
- Rebecca Bratten Weiss says student loan debt is not merely a problem for the culture and economy in the United States; it is a genuine crisis.
- ICYMI: Only 3% of Catholic churches in the United States are open and having Mass as they had before the pandemic, according to a new Pew Research Center report issued March 22.
- ICYMI: In a major address on confronting the sin of racism and working for racial justice, Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the nation's first African American cardinal, said a "healing of America's soul" is needed.