Belief Beat

Religion reporters increasingly hear from Christian groups advocating positions that are politically more aligned with Democrats than Republicans, particularly on the environment, immigration and health care reform. I usually take this kind of thing with a pillar of salt during campaign season, however, since when the ballots are counted, most evangelicals and traditional Catholics still seem to vote their opposition to abortion and gay rights, rather than on any of these other WWJD issues.

Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping an eye on this evangelical campaign to urge Congress not to balance the budget by cutting programs for domestic and foreign aid, but to consider other options instead, like raising taxes on the wealthy, closing tax loopholes, cutting defense spending, freezing government salaries, scaling back subsidies, etc. The petition, “A Call for Intergenerational Justice: A Christian Proposal for the American Debt Crisis,” aims to collect several thousand signatures, and will be presented to Congress and President Obama at some point in the next few months.

Here are some interesting quotes that didn’t make it into my Religion News Service story:

Shane Claiborne, Founder of The Simple Way and author of Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals:

I think that much of evangelical Christianity has lost the centeredness of Jesus and Jesus’ heart for the poor and Jesus’ Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount and to love our enemies…

“What would Jesus Cut” is a beautiful question for us.

We’re starting with Christians because in some ways we’ve forgotten the 2,000 [Bible] verses that dare us and challenge us to remember the poor.

Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush:

From a fiscal perspective, cuts in global health programs are insignificant. From a moral humanitarian perspective, they would be tragic.

We don’t have a debt crisis because America spends too much money on aid.

There is an educational task here, to convince not just Christians but others that these commitments that we make, which are relatively inexpensive, serve our values and our interests.

Politics Daily, Christianity Today and The Christian Post covered the announcement, too.

Sojourners, a left-leaning evangelical group  that is supporting this petition, also has a “What Would Jesus Cut” letter up that you can send to your representatives.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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