Nuns on the Bus taking US by storm

2012-07-01 22:33


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harrisburg - Signing autographs along the way, a group of Catholic nuns is taking a road trip across America to stand up for the poor.

The media-savvy Nuns on the Bus tour kicked off in the midwestern state of Iowa on June 17 and is making a slew of stops around the country to convey concern about social injustice.

"Our bus is about a policy conversation ... to say we the people of the United States, we can be a better union," organiser Simone Campbell told AFP during a stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where the sister on Thursday hailed a historic US Supreme Court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

The idea for the trip, sponsored by the Catholic lobbying group Network, headed by Campbell, came about in May after the Vatican released a report that charged the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents most US nuns, of "radical feminism" and not focusing enough on fighting gay marriage.

Network, which did not back Catholic bishops in their opposition to Obama's healthcare law, was taken to task by the Vatican for its links to LCWR.

"It was like a punch in the stomach," said Campbell, who was greeted with warm applause and autograph requests as she arrived in Harrisburg.

Media attention

Describing herself as a strong woman and lawyer, Campbell, who is the executive director of Network, laughed off the notion that she was radical.

"It doesn't seem radical to me, it's not who I am - I am just a woman who cares passionately about people in poverty, that's it," she said.

Following the Vatican's rebuke, the sisters decided to ride the wave of media attention and draw attention to their cause.

When someone brought up the idea for a bus tour, they seized the opportunity and within 10 days had raised $150 000 for the cause.

Before long, they boarded a colourful bus that resembles one used by rock stars or politicians on the campaign trail.

Not to be missed is the huge inscription: "Nuns on the bus" coupled with their theme: "nuns drive for faith, family and fairness".

On their various stops, Campbell, a registered lobbyist, denounces congressional budget cuts, highlighting how millions of people risk losing food stamps and access to Medicaid, US government health insurance for the poor.

"I work very hard to get federal policies that reflect our moral principles," she said. "I annoy the Democrats and I annoy the Republicans ... the issue is caring for people at the margins."

The Catholic leaders have not commented on the tour, a fact Campbell - who has defended the poor for 40 years - doesn't take too much to heart.

"Historically, nuns have always annoyed bishops," she said jokingly.

Read more on:    us  |  us elections 2012  |  religion

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.