Paul Ryan, the soon-to-be-retired Congressman, has a lot to answer for.
Paul Ryan has announced his career in Congress is ending soon. When politicians begin to see the exit door it is essential to look back at the legacy they leave behind. For a devoted Roman Catholic, Ryan also needs to be thinking about the legacy he is leaving for the decision whether he goes to Heaven or Hell.
Based upon what Ryan stood for in government, he may need to atone.
— ROSIE (@Rosie) December 25, 2017
The first piece of evidence is how Ryan treated the poor. It important to note that Ryan totes himself as a “policy wonk.” For those of who think this is a name for the world’s worst new muppet, it means someone who is a serious analyst of legislative issues. He has explained that he knows the complicated intersection of math, politics, and policy that is the budget. So he has to take full responsibility for his actions, he cannot claim that he did not know or was confused.
So what did Ryan do for the poor? Well, when he was running for president, his proposed budget was written in a way that three-fifths of it hurt the poor in some way. After passing a tax plan that would provide no long-term benefits to those making less than $80,000, he then wanted to aim at eviscerating the social safety net. Education? He wanted to cut scholarships for college students by $90 billion dollars and charge interest on students already paying on loans made by the government.
So how what does his religion say about the poor? Like most religions, there is direct scripture for helping the poor: “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Ryan has sponsored policies like pass-through income that does disproportionally help the wealthy, which Jesus was not the biggest fan of: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” While this may be supply-side economics in spirit, I have never heard a speech where Ryan tells rich people to give up all their money and give it to the poor. Because of course, what money would be left over for campaign contributions? He even argued with a nun over the Catholic need to help the poor:
Then there is health. The Bible says “to heal the sick.” Again, Ryan proposed ending Medicare and passing an alternative to Obamacare that would conservatively leave 24 million people without insurance and untold more underinsured. This is a man who has said that he thought about eliminating healthcare programs “while drinking at a keg.” Which is not only one of the stranger conversation topics to have around a keg, but also shows premeditation to cause those that need the most help to receive the least.
Some of the original interpretations of the Bible by church officials stated that “corrupters of families” would go to Hell. That admission in Heaven is for “those who seek immortality by the patient exercise of good works.” Heaven and Hell are destinations that are given based on a true weighing of the soul. There is no spin that you can put on your deeds. Either you vigorously tried to help those that the Bible commanded, or you didn’t; there is no middle ground. The middle ground would be Purgatory, but that was eliminated from religious dogma. Even recently, the Archbishop of Philadelphia said: “that if we ignore the poor, we will go to hell: literally.”
We have a politician in Paul Ryan who opposed the Invasion of Iraq and multiple military interventions but also created budgets that cut financial and medical support for veterans numerous times. A religious man who never spoke out about President Trump’s hedonism or his Access Hollywood tape except to not publicly support him. This seems to be the “liars; their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.”
Look, Paul Ryan seems like an o.k. human. His dealing with personal tragedy and origin story is a study in remarkable determination and strength of character. He likes to workout and run. He is not evil. But he sure seems to support policies that do the opposite of what his faith instructs.
And this is the problem.
We have leaders that spend so much time talking about their faith, instead of living by the principles they discuss. If politicians did not bring their faith into their jobs, this would not seem so selective, but it is. Paul Ryan routinely used his faith to discuss his opposition to LGBTO and abortion rights. He declared it based on his belief. But then seemed to forget it when providing support for the poor. He still has a chance in repent in his church and uses his fame to change it around and help the poor like Jimmy Carter did with Habitat for Humanity. But if he doesn’t then, he may start thinking about what it would be like to be in Hell, where maybe he would be with all those sinners he has criticized over the years.