The Pope, the U.S. and the Golden Calf

September 24, 2015
Pope Francis is in the United States this week as the most dynamic — even transformational — pope in modern history. But the pontiff, whose words and actions have reinvigorated the church’s teachings on poverty and ending human suffering, is touching down in a nation whose Congress and laws are in many ways at odds with his teachings and beliefs. On issues like fighting poverty, creating economic opportunity, world peace and even addressing global warming, Francis has not minced words about the consequences of our actions. The fact is, the U.S. serves as a case in point of many of the papal arguments. Inequality and social unrest in American society today are not inevitabilities — they are the consequences of the choices we make as a society.
Over the past 35 years, those societal choices have allowed the haves to far outpace the have-nots. We embraced policies like trickle-down economics, welcomed — even encouraged — the advent of financial institutions that are too big to fail, and turned  a blind eye to corporate interests that bilked our system and outsourced our jobs. As  a result of these policies, we lag behind other nations in the developed world in terms of income and economic mobility. The jobs that provide access to the middle class are increasingly out of reach for hardworking Americans, and the programs the poor rely on to make ends meet in our society are increasingly under attack. As the pope said earlier this summer on a trip through Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, the poor are being sacrificed at the “altar of money,” while the rich worship a “golden calf.”
Read Rep. Grijalva's full op-ed in The Hill here.