Joe Towalski, Catholic Spirit editor, reminds lawmakers God favors the poor and vulnerable

Joe Towalski, the editor of the the Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, says the state's lawmakers "need to tread carefully" when they start invoking God -- which they've been doing a lot, lately.

"Too often, such God talk is rooted in political expediency instead of a real desire to do what is good and right," he says in an essay written for Minnesota Public Radio.

The God talk began with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a conservative evangelical Christian who lately has been telling like-minded folks around the country at Republican gatherings that "God's in charge."

When T-Paw recently vetoed a spending bill aimed at keeping the General Assistance Medical Care program for the poor afloat, despite the urgings of clergy from various denominations, he drew the ire of Grant Stevensen, pastor at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in St. Paul:

And please stop lecturing us about God. It's offensive. The only God we're aware of is the one who says 'If you want to follow me, you'll look our for the widows, and the orphans, for the fatherless, for the poorest in the land.' Please stop talking to us about God. It's offensive. We can't take it.

A few days later, DFLer Tom Rukavina drew some attention in the Legislature when he told his Republican colleagues concerned about raising taxes on the rich that, "Jesus was a socialist, and you like him."

Towalski says no elected official or political party has a direct pipeline to God, and that the Bible is clear about whose side God is on:

God is on the side of the poor and vulnerable. He's on the side of policies that embody a clear respect for human life and human dignity. He's on the side of those who are focused on the common good, not the next election. And he leaves it to us to enact public policies that meet these principles.

Lawmakers and the governor have reached an agreement to keep the health care program afloat. Towalksi says the Minnesota Catholic Conference has yet to support the plan.

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