Religious leaders challenge politicians: What would Jesus cut?by Pamela Powers Hannley on Mar. 03, 2011, under Arizona, Arizona Legislature, corporatists, economy, education, fiscal responsibility, healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Immigration, Jan Brewer, John McCain, Jon Kyl, Politics, Republican Party, Russel Pearce, Tea Party
Bible-thumping politicians abound in Arizona and across the US. You know who they are. They’re the ones who fight valiantly for the rights of the unborn, speechify about their faith and guidance from God, and go to church regularly (or claim to).
Ironically, they also are often among those who push for the most dramatic cuts in social programs while promoting guns, military spending, draconian immigration policies, union-busting, and corporate welfare. I’ve often wondered: What’s up with that? Were they sleeping during church?
Jesus said, “The meek shall inherit the Earth,” but, so far, it’s not working out that way.
Enter the Sojourners.
This past Sunday, John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the US House of Representatives and one of those stingy Bible-thumpers, told the National Religious Broadcasters annual conference that cutting spending is the “moral” thing to do.
The ad comes just a few weeks after the [US] House [of Representatives] passed a budget that disproportionately cut programs that protect the poor and help lift them out of their poverty. The House budget includes significant cuts to programs such as Head Start, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and critical international aid programs.
The advertisement calls for Congress to defend:
- International aid that directly and literally saves lives from pandemic diseases
- Critical child health and family nutrition programs — at home and abroad
- Proven work and income supports that lift families out of poverty
- Support for education, especially in low-income communities.
“… Our faith requires us to preach Jesus’ love for the poor, and to declare our conviction that the budget must not take away support from Americans who live in poverty — millions of whom are working families with children seeking a way out of their desperate situation with help only the government can provide,” Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, which represents 45 million people and 100,000 congregations in the U.S., is quoted on the Sojourners’ website.
In an open letter to Boehner on his blog, Sojourners’ leader John Wallis further challenged Boehner and the cuts supported by him and other right-wing politicians.
As religious leaders, we don’t believe that our most vulnerable people should bear more additional burdens. Do you agree? Why are there deep cuts in budget proposals to some of our most important programs that prevent deadly diseases among children in Africa and provide critical nutrition for our poorest families right here at home? These are not only cost-effective, but also relatively low in cost compared to massive expenditures in our military budget, corporate tax loopholes, and subsidies to oil, gas, and agribusiness companies — just to name a few of the things that were protected in the proposals from your House Republicans. Is that fair? Is that right? Is that moral?
Mr. Speaker, do you really believe that every weapons system and line item of spending in the military budget is necessary to keep us safe? That every dollar sent to defense contractors is more important than money for bed nets to prevent malaria or vaccinations to save lives in the world’s poorest places or for early childhood development and good education in our nation’s poorest neighborhoods? And should teachers, police officers, and firefighters bear heavier burdens than bankers, corporate CEO’s, and hedge fund operators in the name of deficit reduction? Those priorities seem backwards to many of us.
Since Sojourners started challenging politicians to act like Christians– and not just talk about being Christian– more than 10,000 people have sent e-mails to their Congressional representatives urging them to support social programs for the poor, the sick, and the defenseless– people Jesus would have comforted and defended.
The Sojourners’ website has an e-mail form if you want to send mail to Arizona Senators and hawkish Christians Jon Kyl and John McCain or any of Arizona’s members of the House of Representatives, but I would suggest going beyond our federal representatives and asking Governor Jan Brewer and state legislature: What would Jesus cut? Here is their contact information: Brewer, AZ Senate, AZ House.