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Progressive Christians Attack Congress for Neglecting the Needy

Progressive Christians Attack Congress for Neglecting the Needy

 

In a new series of radio ads on Christian and country radio stations in Ohio, Kentucky and Nevada, local pastors will take President Obama and Congressional leaders to task for neglecting the poor in the debt-limit talks.  The ads are sponsored by the liberal evangelical organization Sojourners, which has joined with other Christian organizations to form a coalition called the Circle of Protection.

In an ad which will air in House Speaker John Boehner’s Ohio district, a local pastor explains that the Book of Proverbs “teaches that where there is not leadership a nation falls and the poor are shunned while the rich have many friends.  Sadly Congress has failed to heed these Biblical warnings, and our own Rep. Boehner is risking the health of our economy if America defaults on its debts,” the ad continues.

Sojourners has been a leader in pointing out that while politicians are fond of bringing up their religious beliefs on social issues, struggles over economic decisions are rarely seen as ethically charged.  This, they assert, is utterly wrong.  ”A budget is a moral document,” said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners.

The statement on the Circle of Protection homepage should be moving to any politician with genuine Christian faith: “As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up — how it treats those Jesus called ‘the least of these.’”

The Coalition is comprised of religious denominations who would have few reasons to work together on any other issue.  But promoting the fundamental Christian obligation to the poor is something that leaders of the Episcopal Church, the Salvation Army, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ say they all have in common.

Members of the Coalition met with President Obama last week and urged him to protect Medicaid, food stamps, international development aid and assistance to poor women with infants and small children.

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of New Mexico reminded President Obama that the voices of the most vulnerable were being stifled in the budget debate.  ”For Republicans, no new taxes is a given,” he said. “For some Democrats, no cuts in Medicare are a given. For others, no cuts in military spending is a given. For your administration, some additional revenues are a given. Sadly, if you listen to the debate it seems that protecting the poor and vulnerable is not a given. That is why we are here.”

The Coalition’s actions are a truly inspiring example of cross-denominational bridge-building at a time when the futures of thousands of Americans, Christian or non-Christian, are at stake.  Recognizing that the choice to cut the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is as much a moral issue as abortion access is something that lawmakers are not often pressured to do.  Christian leaders have a great deal of power in this country, and it’s wonderful to see them coming together to urge Christian politicians to follow one of the most basic tenets of their religion, and protect their most vulnerable constituents.

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Photo from Playadura via flickr.

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53 comments

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5:05PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- 
Because I was not a Socialist.


Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist.


Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- 
Because I was not a Jew.


Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me."



Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime.

Arch Bishop Romero once pleaded with the Salvadorean military to cease the persecution of the poor in El Savador and history has proven him correct.

What Bishop Richardo Ramirez is doing is also correct, he is merely attempting to stop the repression and suffering of the poor and each of us should be standing beside him and those in persons in need.

There but for the Grace of God go I.

4:56PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- 
Because I was not a Socialist.


Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.


Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- 
Because I was not a Jew.


Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me."



Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime.

Arch Bishop Romero once pleaded with the Salvadorean Military to stop the repression of the poor, and he was correct. I for one see no difference in what Bishop Richardo Ramirez is pleading for today, for he too, is correct.

There but for the grace of God go I.

12:23AM PDT on Jul 31, 2011

It looks to me that churches are worried that the poor don't have enough money to put in their collection plates. Sadly, politicians are scum and will use and do anything to get and stay in power. But the pastors and other religious leaders are even worse because they tell the poor to be accepting of their own and others poverty. And even though we live on a heavenly planet perfect in every way except the fact that there are evil greedy people. Religions stop people from fulfilling their earthly duties on  the promise of an unproven afterlife. 
In most cases the church is the only thing stopping the poor from revolting against unfair systems.

10:45AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

Well done, Progressive Christians! Bravo!!!!

10:05AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

FINALLY! A few sane Christians are speaking out against Christian radicals. Congratulations!

5:43AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

Well done, Progressive Christians!

2:45AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

" God help us now in our time of need and give our leaders the strength to do what is right for The United States people.

9:57PM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

Hopefully the extreme right will listen to the same people they claim to represent.

3:18PM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

I'm not bashing Christianity or Christians, you know I'm not like that, and I am not generalizing either, but its very hard for me to believe that they care about the needy. Last time they "cared", they forced Muslim Nigerian mothers to choose between their faith and baby formula!
Their contributions always matter and make a difference, but they dont care; they just want to convert people, even if against their will.

3:13PM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

I remember hearing about a church where as people came in there was a homeless guy, dirty, bottle in a paper bag, all that. They all walked by, whispered or commented openly, but nobody asked him into church. They did not come back out with coffee or a donut, or ask if he wanted to come inside to rest. Nobody asked if he needed anything. Well, then it's time for the service, and the homeless guy walks up the aisle, and reveals he is really their pastor. Oops.

I never forgot that. Last time a homeless guy asked me for money, I spent over a half hour talking to him, and then I bought him bread and sandwich fixings, potato salad, milk, etc. And he was a veteran, he told me how he came to be where he was. Whatsoever you do unto the least of these........... you do it to Jesus, too.

So we are cutting off Jesus' medicaid. He's the hungry child whose mom can't buy food anymore. He's the guy who has to move his family in with relatives because we moved his job to China to save 10 cents on something we buy. He's the gay person we drive to suicide by trying to "cure" him. You look at them, and you better be thinking that. Jesus said that because He wants us to care for these people. If you don't love them, then I don't see how you can make the case to claim you love Him.

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