Nuns on the Bus meet Tea Party protests in Ohio
The “Nuns on the Bus” have been a consistently popular and effective faith-based tool for religious progressives this campaign season, but on Monday a group of demonstrators apparently organized by a local Tea Party affiliate met the nuns at a stop in Marietta, Ohio, and provided a far different welcome than the sisters usually receive.
Holding placards with slogans like “Bums on the Bus” and “Romney-Ryan Yes, Fake Nuns No,” the protesters focused their fire on the abortion issue, accusing the sisters of not being sufficiently anti-abortion.
Someone claiming to be a member of the local “We the People” chapter — that is the name used by some Tea Party affiliates in the region — posted a YouTube video of the counter-demonstrators taken before the half dozen nuns and some 100 supporters arrived. It says there were more than 175 marchers opposing the nuns and it shows the demonstrators praying the rosary and singing hymns before challenging the sisters.
“What could be more innocuous, unless of course the nuns happen to be a group of radical, feminist ideologues whose previous political actions have been so out of step with the teaching of the Catholic Church that they have been condemned by the Vatican,” the YouTube poster wrote in text accompanying the footage.
Sister Simone Campbell, who leads the Washington-based NETWORK, a left-leaning Catholic social justice group, has spearheaded the Nuns on the Bus tours and spoke against the budget drafted by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The Nuns on the Bus have stressed social justice causes in their tours of areas hard-hit by the recession, and many conservative critics and political activists say their message shortchanges the abortion issue.
The sisters reject that criticism, and one of the nuns on the bus, Sister Monica McGloin, on Monday told the protesters in Marietta that “we are 100 percent pro-life.”
“As many of your signs are showing, we believe life begins at conception and ends with natural death,” McGloin said in remarks that were transcribed by Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group that has provided media support for the sisters. [More]