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Over 4,000 Pastors Ask Legislators to Protect the Poor in Debt Negotiations

Michael Santo's picture

More than 4,000 pastors have signed a "petition" in the form of a full-page ad printed in Politico on Wednesday, one which called on legislators and President Obama to protect funds that offer services to the poor, as some ask why the GOP, which some on the right call the "party of God," does not embrace Christian values in terms of the "least of the least," pointing to the answer: Calvinism.

The letter was written by Sojourners, which is a Washington, D.C.-based national network of Christians which focuses on social justice issues. The letter can be seen here, in full. The letter is titled "Listen to your Pastors."

IN part, the letter said, "In every one of our congregations we have programs that help those in need with jobs, clothing, food, or counseling.

"Still, we can't meet the crushing needs by ourselves. (Faith-based) nutrition programs only make up 6 percent of total feeding programs in the country while the government makes up 94 percent.

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" (Matthew 25:45)."

Matthew 25:45, from the King James Bible: "Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."

Simplistically said, help the needy, or you're not helping me. The implication is, would you want to ignore the needs of the Son of God?

So why do the right-wingers who claim to be Christians, fight against Universal Health Care? Why does the GOP want to end Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare? It's because, as was discussed on Norman Goldman recently (Thursday, June 14, in fact, with free podcasts on his site), these are not true Christians. Instead, they are Calvinists. Calvinists, in a nutshell, believe that those who have ills (sickness, lost job, whatever) "have it coming to them." This is an extremely simplistic description, mind you.

Thus, they also do not believe that anyone should receive help. "It's your fault, you deal with it." Ask one of them who Jesus would insure to get a blank stare. Or ask them if Jesus would care about debt when it came to helping the needy (and the answer should be obvious: debt should not be considered, we should help everyone who needs help).

In addition to the letter, Sojourners has a blog post about the issue.


Submitted by John Lofton (not verified) on
Nowhere in Scripture is civil government authorized to give health, education or any kind of welfare to ANYBODY. That is the role of the Church, God's people. And most references to the "poor" in Scripture refer to those who are spiritually impoverished. The "pastors" who signed this petition should read and believe the Bible. A mind IS a terrible thing to waste.... John Lofton, Editor, Communications Director, Institute On The Constitution Recovering Republican

Submitted by Paul (not verified) on
That was spoken like a true Calvinist. Let me point out to you that nowhere in Scripture is civil government NOT authorized to give health, education or any kind of welfare to ANYBODY either. I take further exception to your comment that it is just the responsibility of the church to help the least among us. What do you think Jesus would say to that narrow, self-centered view of helping others, John?

Submitted by John99 (not verified) on
Christians should give to the church what they can and to the government what is already theirs. While a gift is a motivation of the heart, taxation is fulfilling the will of Caesar. A tax levied in the name of social justice is still a tax. It is levied under the threat of legal penalty, and is, therefore, the property of Caesar. A tax is tainted money, and the taint has nothing to do with how it is used. It is Caesar's money, not God's.

Submitted by Paul (not verified) on
Because you've avoided my questions and run off on a tangent with your last post and interpretation of the ONE SENTENCE response of Jesus. I'll bite however..... You're telling us that Jesus would not want this "tainted money " spent on anything to help the needy. I expect you to stick to your moral compass and decline Medicare and Social Security when you become eligible. After all, in your interpretation, it would be an affront to God to accept it. As for me......I'll take my chances. Let's cut to the chase: You don't like paying taxes. I get it.

Submitted by John99 (not verified) on
It is the duty of a Christian to give to the Church, and equally his duty to render tax to the State. Anything else, and we are speculating; i.e. wwjd? I would suppose that there is no affront to God in accepting a medicare check, but I cannot really know. Was it an affront to God for a poor Italian farmer in 1938 to accept a fascist government check if it fed starving kids? What would Jesus do? Support Fascism? Or a Soviet handout to an East German family under severe oppression? I do not know the mind of God, but I suspect when it comes down to it, the answer to political WWJD questions is usually a contemporary human answer, not God's, and is usually something curiously similar to a preferred political worldview. WWJD is a nice exercise for beginners who are exploring ethics, but poor theology.

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