Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Church State Issues

Guy Mikkelsen would love to turn Arizona into a Catholic Theocracy????

Mar 21, 2015

Arizona Republic

Guy Mikkelsen would love to turn Arizona into a Catholic Theocracy????

I suspect that Guy Mikkelsen could care less that both the Arizona Constitution and the US Constitution forbid mixing of religion and govenrment.


The moral case against Arizona's budget

Guy Mikkelsen, Paul Martodam and Timothy Schmaltz, AZ We See It 6:14 p.m. MST March 20, 2015

An open letter to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey:

As retired former Catholic Charities directors and concerned Arizona citizens we write to share our very grave moral and economic concerns about the budget passed by the Arizona Legislature.

Budgets are moral documents. They reflect our most basic values. As people of faith, we believe the recently passed state budget does not meet the basic moral tests of Catholic social teaching as we understand it. This budget does not appear to be in the spirit and teaching of Pope Francis with his focus on people and families who are poor and vulnerable and the basic equity required of economic and governmental systems.

Catholic social teaching clearly challenges us to put people first in all economic and moral decision making. Economic systems exist for people as their primary purpose. Government budgets must respect human life, family life and human dignity as their most fundamental priority. Government must put the needs of people, particularly those most vulnerable, as the highest priority.

Governments must act for the common good with special priority to assuring the necessities of life like food, water, shelter, good work, safety from violence, education, and health care for its citizens, especially those most vulnerable. Governments must also provide for active and full civic participation of its citizens.

All these teachings are clearly outlined in many Vatican documents and in documents like the United States Bishops pastoral letter "Economic Justice for All" and most recently by Pope Francis in his papal statement "Evangelii Gaudium."

The state budget passed on March 7 does not reflect these basic Catholic moral principles. The budget fails by cutting basic poverty programs like TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), not fully funding the demands on the newly formed Department of Child Safety and doing nothing to restore critical safety net efforts devastated during the recession.

The budget funds more prisons, but cuts education at all levels for Arizona's children — a proven way to prevent poverty. Health care and behavioral health access will be compromised by the AHCCCS cuts.

The budget does not address the waiting list of elder-care services for home and community services and vocational rehabilitation. The provider community relied upon to implement many health and human services program will continue to suffer from high demand and stress struggling to do more with even less. The litany of neglect in this budget for children, families and vulnerable adults is long and disturbing.

This budget will increase poverty and homelessness among many individuals and groups. Many people will remain unemployed and trapped in low-wage jobs with limited economic growth and opportunity. The state's prison populations will continue to grow. The short term budget solution is not worth the long term costs.

We are also concerned that this budget was developed and enacted behind closed doors and crammed through the legislative process in the middle of night with only token public input and without a transparent democratic process. This process did not provide for authentic citizen participation violating the fundamental principles of Catholic moral teaching.

As brothers in our shared faith, we urge you to reconsider this budget and refocus its priorities on the needs of people and the common good, particularly the most vulnerable people.

We urge you to begin a dialogue with people of faith and diverse economic advisors about alternative economic approaches that will authentically include opportunity for all, provide for economic opportunities and jobs with living wages, for educational opportunities for all, and for an adequate safety net for those in need.

The most fundamental moral test of a society is how it treats the most vulnerable in our communities. From Isaiah to the Beatitudes, our moral responsibility toward one another is the most basic obligation of our faith.

We urge your consideration of our observations.

Guy Mikkelsen was director of Catholic Charities, Foundation for Senior Living, at the Diocese of Phoenix from 1985 to 2015. Paul Martodam was director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Phoenix from 1992 to 2009 and in the Diocese of St. Paul - Minneapolis from 2010 to 2012. Timothy Schmaltz was director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Crookston, Minn. from 1979 to 1986 and for the Foundation for Senior Living in the Diocese of Phoenix from 1992 to 2001.