Stephen Colbert lent his Comedy Central television platform on Thursday to one of the left's favorite religious figures, Sister Simone Campbell, to promote her ongoing battle against Rep. Paul Ryan's fiscal ideas. Campbell slammed congressional conservatives to the extreme point of hinting that they would have treated the Holy Family worse than the innkeepers in Bethlehem [audio clips available here; video below the jump]:
"They're trying to say that the only way forward is to cut programs for people in poverty. They would want to leave Jesus even out of the manger."
The liberal comedian also praised the activist sister for her high-profile dissent against the hierarchy of the Catholic Church: "You've been named [one of] The Atlantic's...brave thinkers of 2012....it was kind of brave, and I'll tell you why: because you have publicly disagreed with the Pope over contraception and all-male priesthood."
Towards the end of segment, Colbert brought up the summer 2012 bus tour Campbell helped lead against Rep. Ryan's budget, mere weeks before she addressed the Democratic National Convention. He half-jokingly asked, "Is this a victory lap for you, because you guys went gunning for Paul Ryan, okay?..he said his budget was informed by his faith, and you harassed that poor man."
The sister replied: "No! We stood with our bishops and said it failed a basic moral test. But you know what? That fight's not over. He continues to maintain it's the way forward, and he's wrong." The liberal Comedy Central host kept up his act: "He already lost. What more – do you want to rub his nose in it?" She continued with her extreme invocation of the Christ Child.
Campbell's answer couldn't have been more ironic. She refused to support the bishops in their fight against the Obama administration's contraception/abortifacient mandate. She even went so far to endorse a May 28, 2012 New York Times editorial that hammered the hierarchy's lawsuits against the regulation as a "clear partisan play." The Times quickly added that "the real threat to religious liberty comes from the effort to impose one church's doctrine on everyone."
In her endorsement of the liberal paper's editorial, Campbell Tweeted that same morning that "the Times is corect. [sic] The lawsuits are part of the PR paid for by the USCCB & Knights of Colunbus [sic]--a scandal." So much for standing with the bishops.
This answer stands out even more in light of a reply that the liberal activist gave earlier in the segment. After Colbert praised her "brave" stand against Pope Benedict XVI, Campbell remarked that "I think what we've done, is we've tried to lift up, in a pluralistic culture, what Jesus's story is about....And you know where it ends up coming together? It's the Constitution....it's all about the fact that we are a very diverse society. And so, everyone's conscience needs to be respected."
Talk about a poor choice of words from the sister, given the lack of respect that the Obama White House has shown to faithful Catholics. Even non-Catholics have pointed out that the HHS mandate is an attack on the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Just before she gave her DNC speech, Campbell quoted an answer that President Obama infamously gave on the issue of abortion. The Weekly Standard's John McCormack had asked her, "On the legal question, do you think there should be penalties against abortion doctors? I mean, should it be illegal to perform abortions?" Her reply: "That's beyond my pay grade. I don't know." She then went on the attack against Mitt Romney and Paul Romney:
CAMPBELL: The fact is my vast preference is that all women would have the support to carry their babies to term...One of the things I find so horrifying in the Romney-Ryan budget is that they want to take those supports away. And then they claim they're pro-life. That just drives me nuts!
You know something that drives me nuts? Catholic sisters who fail to stand up for unborn human life and give aid and comfort to an openly pro-abortion administration.
The full transcript of the Campbell segment from Thursday's Colbert Report:
STEPHEN COLBERT: Hello! Sister Simone, thank you so much for coming back – good to see you.
SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK: Thank you – good to see you.
COLBERT: Now, Sister, you were here once before-
CAMPBELL: That's right-
COLBERT: During the campaign. You and your – your fellow – or 'sistrow'-nuns (Campbell and audience laugh) got on a bus. What did you call this bus?
CAMPBELL: 'Nuns on the Bus'.
COLBERT: 'Nuns on the Bus' – okay-
CAMPBELL: It was an obvious choice-
COLBERT: It was? (audience laughs) Well, I don't know. It could have been nuns on a helicopter. That would have been exciting, too. (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: We couldn't afford that-
COLBERT: Oh, okay-
CAMPBELL: We are a low-budget operation-
COLBERT: That's because – that's because you're advocating for the poor-
CAMPBELL: That's right-
COLBERT: If you advocate for rich people, you get a private jet. (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: Oh, but you don't stand with Jesus if that happens.
COLBERT: What are you talking about? Jesus wants me to prosper. (audience laughs) Jesus wants me to prosper!
CAMPBELL: Well, probably – he probably does, but you know what? Jesus invites you to the manger. Jesus invites you to the side of the poor. That's where you're supposed to come-
COLBERT: Okay, okay. Hold it right there, nun-sy. Hold it right there, okay? (audience laughs) All right? Stop stampeding me with your appeal to the Jesus, all right? It is Christmastime-
CAMPBELL: It is-
COLBERT: Why do we have to talk about the poor? Keep it light. It's a happy time of the year. (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: But that's exactly what Jesus is all about-
COLBERT: No! What are you talking-
CAMPBELL: I mean, he was born in a manger. He didn't even have a home. He was on the edge-
COLBERT: Christmas is about presents- (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: And you know what?
COLBERT: And the wise men –
CAMPBELL: And they brought-
COLBERT: They bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh-
CAMPBELL: To Jesus, to Jesus-
COLBERT: The gold is jewelry, and the frankincense is like a nice gift certificate to Yankee Candle- (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: And so-
COLBERT: And the myrrh is everything else-
CAMPBELL: And the rich people came to Jesus and left their gifts in the stable. That's the whole idea, is that we've got to share with each other. That's what it's about.
COLBERT: Okay, okay. So, this is – this is your idea - sharing with each other. We've tried-
CAMPBELL: Well, it's not mine. I haven't – I haven't- (audience laughs)
COLBERT: No, no, no! It's Karl Marx's idea-
CAMPBELL: Oh, no-
COLBERT: It's Lenin's idea- (audience laughs and applauds)
CAMPBELL: It's Jesus's idea-
COLBERT: And I don't mean John Lennon, okay? Now, you've been named The Atlantic's – one of the brave thinkers of 2012-
CAMPBELL: I know! Wasn't that surprising? That was great.
COLBERT: No, it was kind of brave, and I'll tell you why: because you have publicly disagreed with the Pope over contraception and all-male priesthood.
CAMPBELL: Well, I think what we've done, is we've tried to lift up, in a pluralistic culture, what Jesus's story is about. And that's the challenge - trying to figure out, in a pluralistic culture, how all of us come together. And you know where it ends up coming together? It's the Constitution. That's the piece that comes together. So, everybody needs-
COLBERT: Because Jesus wrote the Constitution? (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: No! But you get-
COLBERT: That's what I believe; that's what I believe- (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: Really? Oh, my gosh.
COLBERT: Oh, yeah – absolutely – yeah-
CAMPBELL: No, but really, it's all about the fact that we are a very diverse society. And so, everyone's conscience needs to be respected.
COLBERT: Now, let me ask you something: how I do even know you're a nun – okay? (audience laughs) Because you don't have – you don't have the thing on, though-
CAMPBELL: I know, I know. But I have my medal on. It says, 'Come Holy Spirit'-
COLBERT: Is that – is that your nun badge?
CAMPBELL: That's my nun badge. (audience laughs)
COLBERT: Do you – you flash that out when you go into a crime scene and go, it's okay. I'm a nun. (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: No, but on the bus, it worked really well.
COLBERT: Did it really? (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: Yeah. Anyway-
COLBERT: Okay. Now, you – is this a victory lap for you, because you guys went gunning for Paul Ryan, okay? Because you – because he said his budget was informed by his faith, and you harassed that poor man. (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: No! We stood with our bishops and said it failed a basic moral test. But you know what? That fight's not over. He continues to maintain it's the way forward, and he's wrong.
COLBERT: He already lost. What more – do you want to rub his nose in it? (audience cheers and applauds) No, no, no!
CAMPBELL: No, but he's still fighting the budget battle. Right now, in Washington, they're trying to say that the only way forward is to cut programs for people in poverty. They would want to leave Jesus even out of the manger. That is unacceptable.
COLBERT: Look, Jesus chose to poor – hold on. (audience laughs) Jesus chose to be poor. He's the God of all creation – true?
CAMPBELL: Because Jesus knows where our hearts are-
COLBERT: Wait, answer the question, senator – answer the question. (audience laughs) Did he choose to be poor?
CAMPBELL: Yes, because he chose to be in a relationship with people-
COLBERT: And is Jesus is an – wait – is Jesus an example for all of us? Is Jesus an example for all of us?
CAMPBELL: Yes. We should all choose to be poor.
COLBERT: Okay, then I believe that poor people are choosing to be poor, (audience laughs) and until I choose to be poor-
CAMPBELL: No, it's all about inviting you to touch the pain of the world as real, and then have an active experience of hope. As long as we stay sealed up in our cells, we will never know.
COLBERT: But if I'm sealed in myself, I can seal all my money in with me. (audience laughs)
CAMPBELL: But it doesn't last – that's Jesus's word. It doesn't last. Jesus is all about, come, be community; be connected; be connected with each other. And that's why the shepherds came to the stable. The Magi came – everyone comes, and then, we're community. But we have to let go of holding on to our stuff to hold hands with each other. (audience cheers and applauds)
COLBERT: Will you hold hands with me? Sister Simone Campbell – we'll be right back. Thank you.