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Irvine511 12-14-2005 01:49 PM

the Religious Left speaks out against the real war on Christmas
 
[q]A Religious Protest Largely From the Left
Conservative Christians Say Fighting Cuts in Poverty Programs Is Not a Priority

By Jonathan Weisman and Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Page A08

When hundreds of religious activists try to get arrested today to protest cutting programs for the poor, prominent conservatives such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will not be among them.

That is a great relief to Republican leaders, who have dismissed the burgeoning protests as the work of liberals. But it raises the question: Why in recent years have conservative Christians asserted their influence on efforts to relieve Third World debt, AIDS in Africa, strife in Sudan and international sex trafficking -- but remained on the sidelines while liberal Christians protest domestic spending cuts?

Conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family say it is a matter of priorities, and their priorities are abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices.

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson's influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that."

Jim Wallis, editor of the liberal Christian journal Sojourners and an organizer of today's protest, was not buying it. Such conservative religious leaders "have agreed to support cutting food stamps for poor people if Republicans support them on judicial nominees," he said. "They are trading the lives of poor people for their agenda. They're being, and this is the worst insult, unbiblical."

At issue is a House-passed budget-cutting measure that would save $50 billion over five years by trimming food stamp rolls, imposing new fees on Medicaid recipients, squeezing student lenders, cutting child-support enforcement funds and paring agriculture programs. House negotiators are trying to reach accord with senators who passed a more modest $35 billion bill that largely spares programs for the poor.

At the same time, House and Senate negotiators are hashing out their differences on a tax-cutting measure that is likely to include an extension of cuts in the tax rate on dividends and capital gains.

To mainline Protestant groups and some evangelical activists, the twin measures are an affront, especially during the Christmas season. Leaders of five denominations -- the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church USA and United Church of Christ -- issued a joint statement last week calling on Congress to go back to the drawing board and come up with a budget that brings "good news to the poor."

Around 300 religious activists have vowed to kneel in prayer this morning at the Cannon House Office Building and remain there until they are arrested. Wallis said that as they are led off, they will chant a phrase from Isaiah: "Woe to you legislators of infamous laws . . . who refuse justice to the unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan."

To GOP leaders and their supporters in the Christian community, it is not that simple. Acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said yesterday that the activists' position is not "intellectually right."

The "right tax policy," such as keeping tax rates low on business investment, "grows the economy, increases federal revenue -- and increased federal revenue makes it easier for us to pursue policies that we all can agree have social benefit," he said.

Dobson also has praised what he calls "pro-family tax cuts." And Janice Crouse, a senior fellow at the Christian group Concerned Women for America, said religious conservatives "know that the government is not really capable of love."

"You look to the government for justice, and you look to the church and individuals for mercy. I think Hurricane Katrina is a good example of that. FEMA just failed, and the church and the Salvation Army and corporations stepped in and met the need," she said.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said the government's role should be to encourage charitable giving, perhaps through tax cuts.

"There is a [biblical] mandate to take care of the poor. There is no dispute of that fact," he said. "But it does not say government should do it. That's a shifting of responsibility."

The Family Research Council is involved in efforts to stop the bloodshed in the Darfur region of Sudan as well as sex trafficking and slavery abroad. But Perkins said those issues are far different from the budget cuts now under protest. "The difference there is enforcing laws to keep people from being enslaved, to be sold as sex slaves," he said. "We're talking here about massive welfare programs."

The Rev. Richard Cizik, a vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, returned yesterday from the Montreal conference on global climate change, another issue of interest to evangelicals. "Frankly, I don't hear a lot of conversation among evangelicals" about budget cuts in anti-poverty programs, he said. "What I hear our people asking is, why are we spending $231 million on a bridge to nowhere in Alaska and can't find $50 million for African Union forces to stop genocide in Darfur?"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...121301764.html

[/q]



so, essentially, the message from the Christian Right is that we don't give a shit if you're poor, unless you can find a uterus to crawl up into.

and this gets at *precisely* why the so-called Christian Right is so despised by liberals -- it just took the Christian Left to highlight the differences between what mainstream politicized Christianity claims to be by it's leaders (Dobson, Robertson, and Falwell) and what mainstream politicized Christianity could be if its most powerful members and most outspoken were liberals.

MrsSpringsteen 12-14-2005 02:05 PM

I think most mainstream "non-politicized" Christians certainly do care about the poor and put that into action, I see it in my own church -that is just one small example. We shouldn't let that get lost amongst all the talk of politics and conservative Christians.

I would question whether some of these conservatives are concerned with their own pocketbooks-tax cuts benefit them, and if you can cut money from programs for the poor all the better for their benefit ultimately, perhaps :|

It is WRONG, and if some of these Christians can't see that, I just don't understand that and I never will. "Pro family" tax cuts? What the? What does that mean?

BVS 12-14-2005 02:19 PM

Quote:

Conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family say it is a matter of priorities, and their priorities are abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices.
Screw the poor and create a second class citizens.

Sounds so pro-life:|

coemgen 12-14-2005 03:05 PM

The cool thing about Jim Wallis is he is pro-life, but he also realizes there are thousands of verses in the Bible pertaining to the poor. It's a Biblical mandate that we take care of the poor. The fact that the Christian Right ignores this is sickening to me because it gives Christianity a bad name and it goes against everything Christ stood for.

verte76 12-14-2005 03:59 PM

Certain Conservative Christians in my state, Alabama, have wreaked absolute havoc with our tax system and let social services go broke. This includes treatment for poor AIDS patients. There was a huge controversy over this tax increase package and it was rejected by the voters by a 2-1 margin two years ago. The situation was complicated because the tax increase was proposed by, of all people, our conservative Republican governor and some liberals opposed the package because they didn't want to help a conservative politician. I voted for the package myself, I didn't give a damn that I was helping the governor because I thought I was helping the state with my "yes" vote. The day after the vote someone who commiserated with me over the loss was a conservative Republican. The whole thing was very strange.

Ft. Worth Frog 12-14-2005 04:09 PM

Sadly, both right and left have sold their souls for a mess of political porridge-both using the gospel for political gain.

Jamila 12-14-2005 05:55 PM

I don't think the "Christian Right" is discounted only by liberals for their hypocritical and un Christ-like attitudes toward the poor, the imprisoned, the oppressed, etc.

I think they're discounted by anyone with a rational brain and feeling heart. ;)

Dreadsox 12-14-2005 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Ft. Worth Frog
Sadly, both right and left have sold their souls for a mess of political porridge-both using the gospel for political gain.
Most true statement written in here in a long time.

melon 12-14-2005 06:01 PM

I, at least, feel better at how morally bankrupt the Religious Right is, since they parade how godly they are at every turn.

Melon

Dreadsox 12-14-2005 06:04 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jamila
I don't think the "Christian Right" is discounted only by liberals for their hypocritical and un Christ-like attitudes toward the poor, the imprisoned, the oppressed, etc.

I think they're discounted by anyone with a rational brain and feeling heart. ;)

Is this a joke? Is that what the wink is for? To get away with a cheap shot?

I do not consider myself "Christian Right" but I know people in this forum who are. That is pretty unsulting and uncalled for. I have friends who belong to the "Christian Right" as you call it, and they do more charity, more visisting of nursing homes, more singing visiting in the hospitals, more big brother work, more workingin the homeless shelters, more running food banks....and on and on and on.

Wouldn't Christ be so proud of us all ..... Right...Left....I am sure he just can't wait to come back.

Get the log out of your own eye!

Dreadsox 12-14-2005 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by melon
I, at least, feel better at how morally bankrupt the Religious Right is, since they parade how godly they are at every turn.

Melon

So does the left.

Jamila 12-14-2005 06:44 PM

Happy Holidays to you too, Dreadsox. ;)

nbcrusader 12-14-2005 07:05 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jamila
I don't think the "Christian Right" is discounted only by liberals for their hypocritical and un Christ-like attitudes toward the poor, the imprisoned, the oppressed, etc.

I think they're discounted by anyone with a rational brain and feeling heart. ;)

If this is the face of the "Christian Left" I'll stick to the Right

Calluna 12-14-2005 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by nbcrusader


If this is the face of the "Christian Left" I'll stick to the Right

And if you are the face of the "Christian right" then I'll stick to the Left.

Dreadsox 12-14-2005 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jamila
Happy Holidays to you too, Dreadsox. ;)
To you as well.:sexywink:


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