The House budget chairman challenges the religious left.

The following excerpts come from an op-ed by William McGurn from the April 30 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

Paul Ryan shocked the gentle souls at Georgetown University when he traveled up to their campus last Thursday and said: “We believe that Social Security legislation, now billed as a great victory for the poor and for the worker, is a great defeat for Christianity.

“It is an acceptance of the idea of force and compulsion.” The Wisconsin Republican went on to lament that “we in our generation have more and more come to consider the state as bountiful Uncle Sam,” and that citizens justify what they get from the state by saying, “We got it coming to us.” 
Sure sounds like Mr. Ryan was channeling Ayn Rand.

Except for one thing. The words are not Mr. Ryan’s. They come from a 1945 column by Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, in which she complained about how state intervention limits personal freedom and responsibility. Day’s skepticism about government was reflected in her nickname for it: “Holy Mother State.”

How far we have traveled since then. As the protests surrounding Mr. Ryan’s appearance confirm, the Catholic left long ago jettisoned any worries about the size or scope of government (except for national defense). So the Sermon on the Mount now becomes a call for a single-payer system of universal health insurance.

In this worldview, those who believe otherwise—i.e., those who argue that you best help the poor by breaking down barriers to ownership and opportunity—are not simply mistaken. They are selfish and uncaring. It’s the same meme President Obama played to when he recently characterized the GOP’s approach as “you’re on your own economics.”

Mr. Ryan believes otherwise. At Georgetown he delivered a spirited defense of his budget. He did so notwithstanding attacks by various Catholic bishops and a letter from 90 Georgetown professors decrying his “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.”

Now, even a Georgetown professor ought to understand that, for the most part, we’re not talking about “cuts” at all; we’re talking about the rate of increase in spending. Under Mr. Obama, the increased spending would go to 4.5% a year. Mr. Ryan’s “radical” reform proposes to keep it to 3%.

Of course, what drives Mr. Ryan’s religious critics bonkers is not his numbers. It’s his claim that his policies reflect Catholic principles. At Georgetown he summarized one of the differences he has with the protesting professors this way: “I do not believe that the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government.”

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Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 5:43 AM By MIKE
No one should become dependent on the Government, and many social programs have made people dependent. There are many on Social Security who have never paid into the program. Regarding PREFERENTIAL treatment and SUBSIDIARITY, Congressman Ryan is correct. Jesus commanded each of us to help the poor, not governments – so open your wallet for your favorite Catholic charity, and clean out your closets and homes for items that the needy can use. As individuals we each have a required responsibility.

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 5:46 AM By Ted
The naive belief that government should be considered the first place for the disadvantaged to go for assistance is discredited by History. Congressman Ryan is 100% correct. When did the Democratic Party last pass a budget in the Senate ? Does anyone recall ? They won’t do it because they’re afraid to show their hand. Ryan has a full house, and they have, at best, a pair of deuces. Even Ryan’s budget proposal does NOT cut spending, it only reduces the increase in spending by 1.5%.

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 6:34 AM By JMJ
If there were any chance of Mr. Ryan winning in Nov. I would vote for him, as Romney and Obama are both against us, with Romney not as bad as Obama, but, if he has misguided team members around him as he had when he was our Gov. or as Carter had when he was ‘President’, we will be in serious trouble. Right now a vote for Ryan could put Obama in the driver’s seat once again. As one that is receiving S.S., I never did think that this program, along with all of the other socialist programs that FDR put into effect were right. With the so-called poverty level and the tax-brackets, the Gov. is KEEPING people in poverty and under their (Gov.) controls, which is just where they want them to be. Give us a flat-rate tax, no deductibles, etc. and have everybody pay the same. I know, you have ‘experts’ that say this will hurt the poor, not so, as it will make them want to climb the ladder. It is blatantly discrimination giving low-income students free education, while those of us just over the limits can’t send our children to college. Those ‘professors’ should all be fired and then they can get some of those freebies. +JMJ+

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 7:11 AM By Sandra
When we hear the Truth, we will know it. Thank you Paul Ryan for being a defender of the Truth.

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:25 AM By Patrick
I agree with the Congressman. True charity where money is donated by persons at the church to help others has turned into an unholy exercise in trying to get money from the government to dispense to the supposed poor, while having high paying positions for the dispensers.

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:27 AM By Anne T.
My! My! Dorothy Day who is being considered for Sainthood said something similar to Ayn Rand. Is the left now going to “rake her over the coals”, too, as they have been Paul Ryan? Although Senator Ryan has said a few things that have disappointed me recently, at least he has voted pro-life most of the time and is not throwing my tax dollars into ripping apart and burning to death by saline children in abortions.

Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:32 AM By Bud 
So 90 professors from Salamanca called a consistory to put Ryan down. Just like the rest of the left, the poor just mysteriously self replicates every time a broader “entitlement” gets piously enacted. Some of the bishops agreeing with them should dig into their own coffers. Ryan does tell it like it actually is and will be! Nobody wants to hear it is the problem.