Catholic leaders ask Gingrich, Santorum to stop their racist rants

WiG

More than 40 Catholic leaders and theologians have called on fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to stop their racist rants on the campaign trail, according to Faith in Public Life.

An open letter to the candidates says:

“As Catholic leaders who recognize that the moral scandals of racism and poverty remain a blemish on the American soul, we challenge our fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail.

“Labeling our nation’s first African-American president with a title that evokes the past myth of ‘welfare queens’ and inflaming other racist caricatures is irresponsible, immoral and unworthy of political leaders.

“Some presidential candidates now courting ‘values voters’ seem to have forgotten that defending human life and dignity does not stop with protecting the unborn. We remind Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum that Catholic bishops describe racism as an ‘intrinsic evil’ and consistently defend vital government programs such as food stamps and unemployment benefits that help struggling Americans.”

Gingrich recently said Obama should go to the NAACP and tell African Americans to “demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”

In Iowa, Santorum said, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better” through government aid. Only 9 percent of Iowans on food stamps are black. After facing criticism for his remarks, he denied making them.  

Thirty-nine percent of Americans on welfare are white. An increasing number of food stamp beneficiaries have jobs and receive paychecks that are the primary source of their income but still fall below the poverty line.