Thursday, March 3, 2011

WWJC: what would Jesus cut (out of the budget)?

From John David Dyche in the C-J...

Sojourners is an organization of “Christians who follow Jesus, but who also sojourn with others in different faith traditions and all those who are on a spiritual journey.” It describes its mission as being "to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world."

They are people who avidly follow the Bible in its insistent calls to pursue justice. But they're also people who generally ignore what the Bible says and implies about government as a means to godly ends.

The Sojourners website asks readers to send the following message to their congressional representatives in connection with the current budgetary debate:

“As a person of faith, I believe that the moral test of any society is how it treats its poor and most vulnerable. Our federal budget should reflect our best national values and priorities, so in regard to your upcoming budget vote I ask myself, ‘What would Jesus cut?'

“As your constituent, I ask you to oppose any budget proposal that increases military spending while cutting domestic and international programs that benefit the poor, especially children.”

As Dyche goes on to say, it's too bad they don't get far more principled here-- and argue, explicitly and passionately, for dramatic cuts in military spending. Perhaps, likely, they do that elsewhere...

The question, “What would Jesus cut?” is quite provocative. It can be credibly contended that Jesus would not concern himself with government budgeting whatsoever. Based on the extremely sparse evidence of what he believed, did, and said, he seemingly cared little, if any, about the politics of this world.

Jesus neither confronted nor lobbied his Roman rulers. Instead, he supposedly said, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.” Jesus cared more about what individual people were doing directly to help the poor....

How about the entitlement programs that now threaten the country with national bankruptcy? As to Social Security Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, says, “It will require our best bipartisan thinking and collaboration” and “should raise fundamental moral questions about government and the common good, and be an opportunity to lift up our commitment to all our neighbors.”

Nice words as far as they go, but assuming Jesus would concern himself with this massive inter-generational wealth transfer program at all would he support a higher retirement age, means-testing, raising the payroll tax? Jesus just might wonder if America is actually better off after spending billions to build an unsustainable a social welfare state as its church membership steadily receded....

I know of a good book on this topic-- and the related topic of Christian involvement in social policy. Check it out!


At March 17, 2011 at 8:22 PM , Blogger Martina said...

When someone gets a WIC check, do you think they walk out of the office thanking Jesus? Or do they thank the "idol" of government?


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