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The Religious Left lobbyists congratulated themselves for preventing more “devastating” limits on their most sacred federal programs. Echoing her political allies in the liberal churches who attach messianic purpose to the federal social programs, the president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies intoned during the debt ceiling struggle, “The baptismal promise to strive for justice and peace among all people makes the choice between cutting programs for the poor and elderly or raising taxes an easy one.”
Even most left-leaning Episcopalians probably had not realized that their baptism had immersed them in the healing waters of Big Government, forming an eternal bond between catechist and the federal bureaucracy. It’s no wonder that emptying Episcopal churches are disproportionately filled with elderly people too old to hear the actual words of their clergy. If they could hear better, they too might quit, unwilling to sacrifice their souls on the altar of the welfare state.
Typically more conservative religious leaders reserve their activism for social issues and do not speak to federal budget and tax issues. The good news is that a new coalition has emerged called Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE) rejecting the Religious Left’s claims to speak uniformly for America’s church goers. And CASE is disputing that Christian compassion mandates endless government expansion, exploding debt, and an ineffectual welfare and entitlement bureaucracy that reduces its beneficiaries to peonage. They warn against higher taxes: “To give more money to Washington is to give the sickness the remedy it requests. The last thing the government needs is more money. It needs to cease its unwise and profligate spending.”
The Religious Left, as articulated by Emergent Brian McLaren, perceives a grim world of diminishing resources and possibilities, hence the strident demands for coerced sacrifice and redistribution. In contrast, CASE more hopefully sees a world of God-ordained possibilities for increased human dignity:
We believe the poor of this generation and generations to come are best served by policies that promote economic freedom and growth, that encourage productivity and creativity in every able person, and that wisely steward our common resources for generations to come.
They added: “When creativity and entrepreneurship are rewarded, the yield is an increase of productivity and generosity.” If you’d like to endorse the CASE declaration, you can do so here.
Americans, especially its religious believers, have always been hopeful people, confident that Providence still has a plan for their nation. For this reason among others, the Religious Left’s appeals to fear, scarcity, and resentment ultimately will fail. America will overcome debt and economic woes not through greater control by its bureaucrats, but through the creativity of an unleashed free people.
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