ThinkProgress caught up with recent Moyers & Company guest Sister Simone Campbell earlier this week and asked her what she thought about Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video. Sister Simone’s Nuns on the Bus tour brought attention to the impact that vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s budget plan would have on the nation’s poor. She told ThinkProgress that Romney’s comments showed that he is “out of touch” and “has no idea how hard it is at the margins of our society.”
After two weeks, nine states and 2,700 miles on the road, the Nuns on the Bus tour concluded its trip Monday with a final stop in Washington, D.C. The nuns visited soup kitchens, homeless shelters and congressional offices, highlighting the social service work of other nuns and protesting the House Republican budget, which they consider immoral. As an alternative, the nuns support the Faithful Budget, which was drafted by an interfaith group of religious leaders, several of whom spoke at the tour’s finale on the steps of the United Methodist building on Capitol Hill.
Dr. Sayyid Sayeed, the national director of the Islamic Society of North America, summed up the sentiments of the gathered religious leaders as he praised the nuns and their work. Watch here: MORE
Earlier this week, the Nuns on the Bus tour stopped by the hunger center at St. Augustine Church in Cleveland, Ohio to highlight the plight of the poor and the important work sisters are doing there. In the video below, hunger center regular Reginald Anderson talks about his vulnerable financial state and how the nuns of St. Augustine make a difference.
Sister Simone Campbell waves as she steps off the bus in Ames, Iowa, June 18, 2012 (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Sister Simone Campbell is the executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby Network and leader of the Nuns on the Bus. Our producer Andrew Fredericks is on the road with the nuns, and managed to squeeze this interview between visits to social service sites and congressional offices.
Andrew Fredericks: How did “Nuns on the Bus” come about?
Sister Simone Campbell: After the Vatican issued the document censuring the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and named their collaboration with Network as a problem organization, we thought, ‘how can we use this attention to be of service to the people that we care about?’ Having this much attention — we’re not used to that as Catholic sisters. It seemed like a great convergence to have this notoriety used for the sake of our mission. MORE
Last week, Nuns on the Bus traveled to Chicago’s South Side to visit Mercy Housing, a home for low-income and homeless people, sponsored by a variety of women’s religious orders. There, Sister Simone met resident Shiesha Smith, a former felon facing a number of personal challenges who says Mercy Housing took her “away from all of that madness.” Meet Smith in the video below, and watch Sister Simone Campbell explain how public-private partnerships create such opportunities.
The concept of disruptive, expressive nuns certainly didn’t start with Nuns on the Bus. If you’ve driven into Boston via the Southeast Expressway, your day was likely brightened by Sister Corita Kent‘s 150-foot “rainbow swash” painted on the side of a liquified natural gas storage tank. Sister Corita (1918-1986) spread her vision of peace and love — core values of both her era and her religion — through riotously colorful prints infused with elements of 1960s pop culture, advertising and the spiritual realm. MORE
A group of nuns led by Sister Simone Campbell is driving from the small towns of the Midwest to the urban centers of the East to protest the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Yesterday, they brought their message to Ryan’s door, visiting the congressman’s office in his home town of Janesville, Wisconsin. There, Sister Simone spoke with members of Ryan’s staff and greeted supporters gathered outside.
Ryan was in Washington at the time, but issued this statement defending his budget plan: “Economic stagnation, and a growing dependency on government assistance, continues to push this country toward a debt crisis, in which those who get hurt the first and the worst are the poor, the sick and the elderly, the people who need government the most.”
To find out where the nuns are heading next and see how the Ryan budget would affect constituents in each state they pass through, check out our interactive map of their trip.
This interactive map shows the route of the Nuns of the Bus tour, which is visiting shelters, food pantries and community centers, as well as local congressional offices to highlight social justice issues and protest the House Republican budget. Click on the bus icons for more information, including how each congressman voted on the so-called Ryan budget, and how cuts to social services proposed in the budget plan would affect each state.
In case you missed it, here’s Sister Simone Campbell discussing the Nuns on the Bus tour on The Colbert Report last week. In the interview, Campbell also responds to recent criticism from the Vatican which singled out her organization, NETWORK, for focusing too much on poverty, while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.
Moyers & Company producer Andy Fredericks and production assistant Jackie Kostek are traveling with the Nuns on the Bus tour. They contributed reporting to this post and will be filing regular text and video updates. Check BillMoyers.com/nuns for more.
Sister Simone Campbell, organizer of the Nuns on the Bus tour, speaking in Ames, Iowa. Photo by Jackie Kostek
They call it Nuns on the Bus. A bus filled with Catholic nuns rolled out of Des Moines, Iowa this morning, beginning a journey from the Midwest to Washington, D.C. to spotlight social justice issues and protest the House Republican budget, which slashes spending on safety-net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps. Along the way, the nuns will visit homeless shelters, food pantries and hospitals to highlight their own work on behalf of the poor, and call attention to services the nuns say will be “decimated” by the so-called Ryan budget. Their bus — of a type usually reserved for rock stars and their roadies (the driver dropped Dolly Parton’s name) — will also be taking the plain-clothed nuns to congressional offices in each state they pass through.
The tour’s first stop was at the office of Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a supporter of the Ryan budget. The nuns had planned to present the congressman with a copy of the Faithful Budget, an economic approach drafted by a group of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other religious organizations as a rebuttal to the House budget. The Faithful Budget calls for increased aid to the poor and cuts in military spending.
Though the nuns say they had an appointment, the congressman’s office was shuttered and dark.
Tomorrow, they’ll be visiting the office of the budget’s namesake, Rep. Paul Ryan himself. MORE