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“We believe that God assesses the value of a nation by the way in which it cares for the marginal – for those people who cannot care for themselves,” implored a United Methodist bishop at the press conference, which my colleague Jeff Walton attended. “Our task is not simply to address the world of today, it is to see to it that those who come after us in this world will be advantaged by the abundance of this wonderful planet on which God has placed us.” But how can there be “advantage” for future generations if the U.S. federal government is straddled with tens of trillions in unredeemable debt, crippling taxes, bankrupting entitlement programs, an enervating Welfare State, and crippling regulations? The Religious Left’s faithful budget prophets do not explain.
Traditional Christianity envisions a world of balance in which all persons are called to contribute towards the common good with their own God-given talents. Traditional Christianity sees all persons as moral agents responsible for their own decisions. And traditional Christianity sees all persons as sinners who often need rewards, punishments and incentives as well as ongoing challenge and accountability. But in the Religious Left’s surreal universe, all persons are intrinsically good but victimized by oppressive social systems, for which they are entitled to endless redress by a mammoth, centralized state, controlled of course by the enlightened Left.
In their 50 page budget vision, the Faithful Budget Campaign calls for “substantial” increased federal spending on public education, “affordable” housing, homelessness, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families , global and domestic hunger, AIDS, Global Warming, “renewable energy,” home energy assistance, and “environmental justice,” along with the United Nations and the U.S. Institute on Peace. How to pay for all these additional expenses? Cut nuclear weapons, submarines and aircraft, along with prisons, and immigration law enforcement.
In other words, the U.S. government should stop defending the American people from terror, aggression and crime. Instead, it should spend even more on discredited fantasies of the last 50 years that assumed federal checks could solve poverty, eliminate the need for fossil fuels, and establish global peace based exclusively on good will. Additionally, productivity should be punished by higher tax rates. And inactivity should be rewarded with permanent subsidies.
Christianity is a very earthy, no nonsense faith embodied in St. Paul’s admonition, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” The early church fathers and sensible churchmen ever since have believed that governments are ordained mainly to defend their people with armies and police, to punish the criminally wicked, and to sustain public order so that honest people can exercise their virtues freely to the glory of God.
But the Religious Left chooses to see Big Government almost as a replacement for God, the church, the family, and virtually all other human institutions. They ascribe to the federal Welfare and Regulatory State powers and mysteries that even the most zealous of ancient pagans never ascribed to their favorite golden idols. Most sensible people, even in Congress, will recognize that the Faithful Budget Campaign’s dreams do not merit attention or faith.
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