Exploiting Lent to Protect Big Government

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


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Lent is supposed to be a season for Christians to prepare for Easter through self-denial and reflection about God.   But the Religious and Evangelical Left prefer to re-orient the focus away from Christ and instead on another very different Lord:  Big Government.

At a Washington, D.C. press conference, Evangelical Leftist Jim Wallis announced, along with former Democratic Congressman Tony Hall and “Bread for the World” chief David Beckmann, that he has begun a “water fast” to protect “selectively cruel” proposed budget “cuts” by Republican congressional leaders.

Typically, Christians do not publicly reveal their personal sacrifice during Lent, much less convene a press conference at the National Press Club.  But for professional activists like Wallis, what’s the point of fasting without gaining political points and publicity?  Wallis has called on his left-leaning church followers to “fast, pray and act” while forming a “circle of protection” around their favorite Welfare State programs.  Reputedly, over 5,000 have joined the anti-Republican “fast” so far.  Some fasters are exploiting their lunch breaks to phone members of Congress about “devastating” budget cuts.

“A line has been crossed in this budget debate,” Wallis declared, according to an onsite report from my assistant Eric LeMasters. “Extreme budget cuts are now being proposed and this fast is a spiritual escalation to bring these critical moral choices to the attention of the nation, and to seek God’s help in doing so.”

If conservative Christians are similarly mobilizing to exploit Lent to pray and fast for their own federal budget priorities, it has gone unreported.   Presumably, they still recall that Lent, which culminates with the remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, has a transcendent meaning surpassing political fads.

“Ultimately, this is a fast before God,” Wallis unashamedly told his press conference.  “To whom we turn when we don’t know what else to do. We turn in prayer, and hope to change hearts, starting with our hearts, the hearts of our lawmakers, [and] the heart of our nation.”  He implored Congress:  “Listen to God’s heart as you make your decisions.”  Of course, “God’s heart’ is presumably attuned to the Religious Left’s own faith that unlimited Big Government can solve all human problems.

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  • LittleDixieChuck

    So Jim Walls says of our need to turn to God, "To whom we turn when we don't know what else to do?" Funny. I guess that I have confused. I thought turning to God was the first thing that we were supposed to do, not a last resort.

  • Don Ellenberger

    Why do leftists always confuse religion with politics?