Hey, Paul Ryan: Even Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's

For the young chairman of the House Budget Committee, it was a timely lesson: However much Ryan may wish it, God does not take sides in politics. Ryan, transparently positioning himself to be Romney’s running mate, may well believe that he is on a mission from God. But in a democracy, such fanaticism makes people such as Ryan unable to make necessary compromises.

The rebuke of Ryan is a credit to the Catholic leaders, because they are displaying their doctrinal consistency even as politicians embrace church teachings selectively. Republicans hailed the Catholic bishops when they were opposing the Obama administration’s policy to expand contraceptive coverage; likewise, they cite the church’s opposition to abortion. But these same lawmakers have little interest in the church’s position against the death penalty or its opposition to the Arizona immigration law…

Spending on programs such as food stamps and college Pell Grants is “unsustainable,” he said. If government does too much for the poor, “you make it harder” for churches and charities to do that work.

It was a bold economic — and theological — proposition. Even Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Ryan would rather give the rich a tax cut.