Policies set in place by the Bush administration in the next years will not only hurt people but will also firmly enshrine a culture of mean-spiritedness
Friends and Colleagues: It is now confirmed that George W. Bush has won the election and will continue as US president for the next four years. For those of us committed to social justice and peace and for the world's poor and marginalized, this will be a period of desperation and loss. There is no doubt that the ability to preserve and protect a world vision and public policy that supports democracy and freedom will be difficult. I sincerely believe this was the most important
election of my lifetime, and the policies that will be set in place by the Bush administration in the next four years will not only hurt people but will also firmly enshrine a culture of mean-spiritedness, the likes of which we have not seen in the US for generations.
For the women of the world, this means Bush's War on Women proceeds unchecked.
There will surely be an all out effort by the president's socially conservative Christian (and Catholic) base to consolidate the gains made in restricting women's, sexual and reproductive rights. You are all aware of the elements of this agenda: from legislative and regulatory bans on all kinds of services, to
the denial of government funds to agencies that really help women, to the shifting of both funding and access to conservative religious service providers.
As Catholics, the most troubling aspect of all this is the extent to which Bush's victory will further empower an incredibly arrogant, intolerant, anti-woman and anti religious freedom faction in my church. The alliance between the administration, the Vatican and that ultra conservative segment of the American church that both Rome and Bush have used to keep women - and dissenters - in their place.
At the same time we are especially challenged by the extent to which the
movements for a progressive church and just world have seriously declined in numbers in the last decade. Truly, Pope John Paul's enduring legacy is the extent to which he has succeeded in building a right wing movement among laity and destroyed resistance among progressives. The way in which these conservative religious forces have used gender, sexuality and reproduction as a way of weakening and dividing the resistance movement in the church needs careful analysis.
At CFFC, we firmly believe that unless we are part of a culture of generosity that affirms personal freedom and diversity, we will not be effective in eradicating poverty, creating peace and promoting justice for the world's
marginalized and powerless.
Today, we are a bit sad, frightened and even demoralized, but our commitment to that struggle is deep and enduring. We will roll up our sleeves, work harder, and reach out more wisely and broadly to build and lead a conscious movement of resistance to injustice. There is so much this election can teach us about where we have failed to adequately express our vision and values in terms that can be well understood by people who are not convinced that our interests and
theirs are the same. We, with your help, will do that work. We have been grateful for your company on the journey, and we hope to strengthen our bonds over the next four years - all in the service of humanity and especially of
November 3, 2004
President, Catholics for a Free Choice
Catholics for a Free Choice