Charlotte—The focus at this Democratic National Convention is on speeches, big speeches.
But one of the most remarkable—and well-received—speeches of the convention was delivered by a nun.
According to some right-wing talk radio hosts and Republican strategists, the Democrats are waging a “war on religion” in general and the Catholic church in particular. They raised such a ruckus when the Democratic platform arrived without a mention of the word “God” that the document was quickly amended.
Yet when Sister Simone Campbell walked onto the stage of the DNC Wednesday night, she was greeted with thunderous applause. The executive director of the Roman Catholic social justice organization Network didn’t really have to announce that she was one of the “Nuns on the Bus.”
Everyone seemed to know that she and other nuns traveled the country this summer to call out House Budget Committe chairman Paul Ryan for proposing a budget that the women argued was at odds with Catholic social-justice teaching. Now that Ryan, who claims his proposals to shred the social safety net are inspired by Catholic doctrine, is the Republican nominee for vice president, Sister Simone is turning up the volume:
Paul Ryan claims his budget reflects the principles of our shared Catholic faith. But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the Ryan budget failed a basic moral test, because it would harm families living in poverty.
We agree with our bishops, and that’s why we went on the road: to stand with struggling families and to lift up our Catholic sisters who serve them. Their work to alleviate suffering would be seriously harmed by the Romney-Ryan budget, and that is wrong.
During our journey, I rediscovered a few truths. First, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are correct when they say that each individual should be responsible. But their budget goes astray in not acknowledging that we are responsible not only for ourselves and our immediate families. Rather, our faith strongly affirms that we are all responsible for one another.
I am my sister’s keeper. I am my brother’s keeper.
That last pronouncement earned sustained applause from delegates who had packed the Charlotte convention hall to hear former President Bill Clinton make the case for re-electing current President Barack Obama. And the crowd listened intently as Sister Simone told the stories of Americas who are suffering without access to social services and healthcare: