God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Prioritize the Poor

posted by gp_intern

Last week, Sojourners/Call to Renewal joined many other advocates in asking the Senate to take a step toward a moral budget. In a letter that went to every senator, I requested that each “make sure to prioritize poor and working families, children, and the elderly as you determine where our nation commits its energies and resources.” I continued, “what is needed now is bold leadership and an agenda that sets clear priorities and seeks to empower families. We need to protect critical programs and increase aid, but also recommit ourselves to the notion of the common good.”

But what does that recommitment look like in a budget? In line with the Covenant for a New America, I asked the senators for a $50 billion commitment for reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), $15 billion in new spending for the Farm Bill (to be used to strengthen the food stamp program and ensure that all eligible families receive increased support), and greater support for the Millennium Development Goals through $5 billion in effective U.S. foreign assistance for poverty-reducing programs.

Last Friday, because of the chorus of advocates speaking with a common voice, the Senate made some progress with the passage of its budget blueprint (S Con Res 21), adopted by a 52-47 vote. How did it fare according to the Covenant vision?

  • Regarding SCHIP, the Senate resolution signaled a commitment to find the $50 billion required to expand the program and cover more kids.
  • The Senate’s budget resolution also allocates $15 billion to “strengthen our agriculture and rural economies and critical nutrition programs” under the Farm Bill. Much more work is needed to make sure that those funds are actually directed to those who need them most, but this is a step forward.
  • Another clear success concerned U.S. foreign assistance for poverty-reducing programs. The faith community played a pivotal role in pushing for an amendment that reversed a proposed $2.2 billion cut to the international affairs budget. In the end, a strong bipartisan group of senators publicly confirmed their support for the amendment, providing the leadership needed to result in passage by unanimous consent. The overall increase to the international affairs budget is $3.7 billion, the greatest one-year increase for global poverty-focused assistance in recent history. This money will go toward critical programs for clean water, life-saving medication, education, economic growth, as well as diplomatic programs in the world’s poorest countries.

This week we have another chance to influence the process when the House votes on its budget blueprint. The Senate has taken certain steps toward the faith community’s vision with their budget resolution, but we are asking that the House cast an even bolder agenda with their 2008 budget resolution. We’ll give you a chance to ask them to support a bolder agenda soon.

Our nation needs the affirmation that budgets are moral documents, and we need our leaders to commit to that vision in order to recover some of our nation’s greatness; greatness that comes from empowering families, protecting the common good, and acting upon the needs of “the least of these” among us.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 12:18 am


On a previous thread, Donny wrote:It is not justice that seperates those that have from those that have not. It is the content of their character. The poor in America are lacking morality, decency and goodness in their own lives. How many poor neighborhoods are the most violent places in the United States? Every one of them. How many poor people act as decadent and immoral as even the richest reprobate Hollywood has to offer? Listen to Rap. And every one of them votes Democrat if they vote at all. It’s time for the movement of Martin Luther King Jr., and his dream, to face the truth. I was once very poor. In spirit, behaviors and position in life. I changed the content of my character and the actions and behaviors followed. I now own my own home. No, not in California. Only the exceedingly rich and Democrat can own homes there. I moved up in the world from death to life in Christ Jesus and from a world like Sodom to better world in real America. Donny | 03.23.07 – 10:57 am |To which I responded: Donny,What I hear you saying is that the poor are to blame for their impoverishment, is that correct? If that is true, then who deserves our charity?I did not receive a reply. Here s another chance to respond Donny.



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Payshun

posted March 28, 2007 at 12:23 am


Nice neuro_nurse, I agree w/ the post but can we get more grass roots solutions. Please. p



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Carl Copas

posted March 28, 2007 at 1:28 am


Did Christ ever blame the poor for their poverty? I don’t recall such.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 1:48 am


Payshun, Agreed. I have been fairly aggressive in my responses to Donny. I posted that as a preemptive strike against another one of his diatribes on the poor in the U.S.



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squeaky

posted March 28, 2007 at 1:54 am


Ah–but the attitudes Donny espouse with regards to the poor sadly are not just Donny’s. I have no problem with you exposing the poison in Donny’s attitude, Neo-nurse!



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 2:02 am


squeaky, ‘Neo’ means ‘new.’ With 15 years of practice, neo-nurse would be a misnomer. Since I live in New Orleans, how about the following moniker: Vieux Infermi rold nurse, the masculine form, as Payshun recently referred to me as a woman no offence to either of you intended!Neuro is my clinical specialty.



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Deno Reno

posted March 28, 2007 at 2:03 am


Hillary has set forth a platform of promoting child health care insurance a first step on the federal level; a move long overdue in a Presidential Candidates Campaign!



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 28, 2007 at 2:44 am


This budget asks the government to be our god. Or at least the god of the least of these. Where did Jesus sanction use of the government for caring for others? Seems to me He placed that responsibility squarely on the shoulders of His disciples. Why not ask for a tax cut across the board and the elimination of all government aid programs. Then, as Christians, we can use our extra cash to help the least of these. We can also make sure that welfare money isn’t going to drugs, or other places it shouldn’t go. Why aren’t we unwilling to accept this responsibility?!? Has the god of the state so deceived us into believing that we need it to do our good for us? What other name is there for this than PAGANISM? I believe that the church can and should assume full responsibility for caring for the least of these both here and abroad. Nathanael Snow



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:30 am


jurisnaturalist “We can also make sure that welfare money isn’t going to drugs, or other places it shouldn’t go.” Prove to me the validity of the stereotype that the poor and/or welfare recipients have higher prevalence of substance abuse than the general population. Rates of alcohol abuse (which is second only to nicotine abuse in health care costs associated with substance abuse) are higher among people with higher incomes. African Americans have a lower incidence of substance abuse than whites do, and are no more likely than whites to traffic drugs. Diala, C. C., Muntaner, C., Walrath, C. (2004) Gender, occupational, and socioeconomic correlates of alcohol and drug abuse among U.S. rural, metropolitan, and urban residents. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. http://www.findarticles.com/p/ar…i_n6167177/ pg_1 Most adults aged 18 or older with substance dependence or abuse in 2005 were employed either full or part time. Of the 20.2 million adults classified with dependence or abuse, 15.5 million (76.7 percent) were employed. http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/ …results.htm#Ch7



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:34 am

Carl Copas

posted March 28, 2007 at 4:50 am


jurisnaturalist, one could argue that you skate close to making a god of your antistatist ideology with von Hayek as the chief prophet.



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l'etranger

posted March 28, 2007 at 5:40 am


neuro_nurse I hadn’t seen that particular classic of Donny’s. Sheesh – what a profoundly unpleasant man he is. I really wanted to say how amazing I thought your and Payshun’s attempts were to deal with him in a civilised way – i thought you were both really christ-like and I was very humbled by the contrast with my one comment. On the SCHIP element here, it really is beyond belief that this is an issue. I know enough about health policy here to recognise that universal coverage is not going to fly (at least not easily) but for goodness sake (indeed for Christ’s sake) we are talking about denying children easy access to healthcare – whatever the sins of the parents – they bear no responsibility for their financial predicament.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 28, 2007 at 12:41 pm


neuro_nurse, I am willing to accept your point. I still believe accountability for charitable funds is a major issue, and that the government is not capable of monitoring the actual uses of the funds it disperses. Carl, Yes, I’ve read Hayek, and Mises, and Rothbard. But my position regarding how Christians ought to behave is grounded in Hauerwas, Yoder and Bonhoeffer. And a little Campolo… The common ground between the two camps is non-aggression, and personal responsibility. Both also recognize the state as a pagan institution, and call on individuals to do whatever good there is to be done themselves. I believe my arguments are sound, but willingly consider any arguments against them. Nathanael Snow



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Jim Zellner

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:19 pm


I agree completely that we should take care of the poor as taught by Jesus. I don’t remember reading that we should judge why someone is poor and then decide whether to help them or not. However, I do not believe that any government program effectively solves a problem. In most instances it simply creates more problems and more beauracracies whose goal ultimately becomes the perpetuation of their own existance. I firmly believe if we are allowed to keep more of our money and are encouraged to give it away to non-profit agencies better things will happen. How much of a tax dollar actually filters down to a poor person through a program? NOT VERY MUCH!



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Jeff

posted March 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm


Jim, Good post. Jeff



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jesse

posted March 28, 2007 at 5:11 pm


I think when Jesus told us to take care of the poor he meant to threaten others with jail time unless they give money to take care of them. Most likely.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 5:53 pm


Here s another chance to respond Donny. neuro_nurseInstead of letting him go away you invite him to fight. That’s like Kevin S. wanting to know why I’m not here to antagonize him.



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rain man

posted March 28, 2007 at 6:03 pm


“I think when Jesus told us to take care of the poor he meant to threaten others with jail time unless they give money to take care of them. Most likely.” Yeah–sort of like when He said “love your enemies and do not resist evil”, He meant shower bombs on them and their children.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 6:10 pm


I heard and believed that government programs and government employees were bad, lazy and a poor use of money. So, I undertook a little investigation on my own, engaged every government employee I encountered. They all were proud of what they did, spoke well of their specialty and gave me good reports. To small a study to be statistically valid but I’ve changed my mind. We’ve had a big change in government programs since the Republicans have held congress, outsourcing which seems very a inefficient method where I have been able to look closely.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 6:19 pm


Another little personal study. I’ve engaged more teachers than you can count about what they find with children in their classes. Almost all will tell you about the children that come in hungry and abused by problem parents. There are more Christian Churches in the US than anywhere in the world, why aren’t they taking care of this problem. These children are the criminals, under achievers of tomorrow. We have to fix this and churches are not doing it. I don’t say that many are not trying but they are not up to it. My proof is they haven t done it.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 6:25 pm


“There are more Christian Churches in the US than anywhere in the world, why aren’t they taking care of this problem.” Butch Just dawned on me, how many are in churches that talk to teachers about children with problems then go out to those homes to help. Even if they do they cannot impose solutions for the children, I’m talking about the CHILDREN. Churches will give what they have to those who come and ask for it. What about the children whose parents don’t go to any church.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 6:35 pm


Why not ask for a tax cut across the board and the elimination of all government aid programs. Then, as Christians, we can use our extra cash to help the least of these. jurisprudence Reduce taxes, give it to juris, he’ll take care of it. juris, you are so bright I can’t believe you can believe what you say. Why aren’t you sacrificing to give more now? How bout a vow of poverty? Working in whatever line of work you do and with the taxes from that work is a much more efficient method than doing more individually. I do volunteer work, which is good for my soul, but I m really not trained in these areas like a government program can hire trained workers for special task.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 6:51 pm


l’etranger, Thanks. I must admit that Donny s posts frequently aggravate me, and that serves as a source of motivation for my responses. (My wife thinks that Donny is someone s idea of a bad joke a liberal troll who is posting these absurdities just for fun, and that I am a sucker for responding to him) jurisnaturalist I agree that there should be oversight and accountability in charity, and in all fairness, you did not suggest in your post that there is a higher incidence of substance abuse among the poor. I strongly believe that we need to actively dispense with prejudices about who the poor are, why they are poor, and whatever moral implications people tend to infer about those unsubstantiated and irresponsible presumptions. The data that demonstrates the erroneousness of those prejudices is readily available. Jim ZellnerI don’t remember reading that we should judge why someone is poor and then decide whether to help them or not.Sometimes it s a tough call. I spent a year volunteering in Ethiopia and was offended when I returned to Seattle and was panhandled by young white kids on Broadway sporting Doc Marten s and tattoos. (My response was somewhat less than Christian: Are you kidding me?! ) A classmate in my ministry training told me that whenever he comes downtown he makes sure he has a pocket full of $1 bill, which he gives to anyone who asks for the very reason you mentioned.



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Carl Copas

posted March 28, 2007 at 7:37 pm


jurisnaturalist, thank you for a measured and thoughtful response. I too have read Hayek, Mises, and esp. Rothbard (his work on Ameican empire is timeless).Because I’m a fairly new Christian, though I recognize Bonhoeffer, Campolo, Hauerwas, and Yoder–and know a little about what they represent–I can’t speak with any confidence to how one might “marry” them to libertarianism. You’ve given me a great deal to think about. Thank you. Is there a title or 2 you’d recommend?



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squeaky

posted March 28, 2007 at 7:53 pm


“‘Neo’ means ‘new.'” Sorry Neuro–I knew that, too! Typed to fast, so I could get the heck out of Dodge and go home last night at a reasonable hour. I don’t know, though…I mean, wouldn’t it be cool? Think Matrix…



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TLB

posted March 28, 2007 at 8:58 pm


Hopefully Wallis can explain how his support for “comprehensive immigration reform” fits into the picture. That scheme will vastly increase legal immigration and lead to even more illegal immigration, and those will lead to even lower wages for our already low-wage workers. Does Wallis have some magical formula that will repeal the law of supply and demand, or is he just unable to think through the policies he supports and has no place trying to suggest policies? I strongly suspect the latter.



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jerry

posted March 28, 2007 at 9:20 pm


seems like all wallis is doing is throwing money at a problems. most of the childrens problems seem to be parent related. and poverty problems are really “low income” problems. so….real solutions will have to be social solutions. like workfare, subsidized housing, food stamps and public school reform that protects good school management, rewards moral behavior and punishes bad behavior provides early release of students that want out of school, provides trade school opportunities and does not try to make every student a college prep student. throwing unaccounted for cash at social problems doesn’t work.



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KathyG

posted March 28, 2007 at 9:37 pm


I will probably open up a huge can of worms with this but what the heck. I am poor and I do receive some state help. My son is disabled and has had to have several surgeries. His most recent was yesterday. Thank god for programs like Medicaid otherwise he would not be getting the health care he needs. I have lived and volunteered at homeless shelters in the past. There are places here locally that help people who need help after catastrophic fires, tornadoes and the like. A couple I know had their house burn down and they lost everything and they went to “religious” organization and asked for help replacing their things and they were refused any help because they are not married. Some kind of christian help that was. The reason we need to leave it in the hands of the gov’t is because at least 2 times a year I hear and read of the local food pantries begging for food to give to people so they can at least put a few good meals on the table of their family. I live in the buckle of the bible belt and I don’t see a lot of what I would call christian charity to those who need it most. I’m not saying they don’t do it at all but I see no great huge effort to do it. Yeah there are churches who will help you if you are a member of their congregation or know someone who is a “higher up” in their congregation and I have called a few around here to ask for some help for something like help to move to an apt after living in a homeless shelter for 3 yrs and I got zero help, these were direct places to call from the shelter and a few of the sisters at the shelter that I knew well enough to ask “”Where can I get some help moving?” I will admit I no longer attend church regularly and I haven’t in years but that is because of all the hypocrisy I see coming from all religions today. I still believe in Jesus and the teachings of the gospel but the only time I have seen actual christian charity in the last 5 yrs was at the homeless shelter my son and I lived in from the catholic sisters that ran it. I’m sorry if that upsets you but that is my personal experience. Just in case Donny chooses to respond NO I did not choose to be poor because I want to live off the money my son receives from SOCSEC or the food stamps I get or the Medicaid we both get. Trust me if I could live a different lifestyle I would. To counter the other argument he will probably make is I’m unable to work because of past illness.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:44 pm


That scheme will vastly increase legal immigration and lead to even more illegal immigration, and those will lead to even lower wages for our already low-wage workers. TLB Sorry, immigrants do not work cheap because they out work Americans and can demand more.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:46 pm


butch, I think that many government employees have the best of intentions, and do a very good job. I just think that they are doing the church s job. There remains something to be said for the inefficiencies suffered by the recipients in receiving aid (ever been to a social services waiting room), and for the difficulty of economic calculation where prices are absent. re: teachers, vow of poverty, etc.: I was a teacher for eight years at an inner city boarding school earning less than poverty wages. I saw the worst of the worst of the situations you described. We gave to the bums in the neighborhood. We dealt with and sometimes educated the parents. Sometimes we gave them jobs. We were not affiliated with any particular church, and did not require membership or attendance to receive help. The name of the school is Agape Corner in Durham, North Carolina. The one thing we lacked more than any others were godly Christian men to come and spend time with the kids and to be long-term and consistent with them. We do have to fix it, and churches are not doing it, but they need to. The state can t do it. It won t work. Our mainline grandfathers gave up the role of the church in social justice to the state and we have yet to regain it. Let s not make the mistake of following their example, but reclaim the responsibility for the church. Nathanael Snow



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:47 pm


throwing unaccounted for cash at social problems doesn’t work. jerry What do you throw at social problems?



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:49 pm


KathyG I don’t know what else to say but thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I have tears welling up in my eyes as I read this. I wish there was some way I could help. I’m on a tight budget being in school, and my charitable contributions have dropped because of it. Your post reminds me that even though I think things are tight for me, there are people who would love to live as comfortably as I do. I’m going to sign-off from God’s Politics and make an online contribution right now! God bless you!



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:56 pm


Carl, e-mail me and we ll talk further. ndsnow@ncsu.edu TLB, Is there a limited amount of wealth in the world? I don t believe so. I believe there is more than enough to go around. If we eliminate those public services which immigrants and other free riders are likely to abuse, and leave them to pay their own way or prove to a charity that they need help, then it won t matter how many immigrants move to America. There s room for them all. Seriously, there is literally room enough and freedom enough for them ALL to move here. Besides, once the tyrannical governments around the world realize they are losing their slaves, they will have to adjust their institutions in order to convince some of them to stay at home. I believe outright rescuing of the least of these out of harm s way in other countries and bringing them here, into our homes as the good Samaritan did, is the most favorable pacifist solution to situations like Darfur. KathyG, I don t begrudge anyone receiving state help. I look to the church and shuffle my feet at them. My daughters and I have said a prayer for your son s quick and complete recovery. Nathanael Snow



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 11:05 pm


I will admit I no longer attend church regularly and I haven’t in years but that is because of all the hypocrisy I see coming from all religions today. I still believe in Jesus and the teachings of the gospel but the only time I have seen actual Christian charity in the last 5 yrs was at the homeless shelter my son and I lived in from the catholic sisters that ran it. Kathy G I’ve experienced exactly what you describe but in the end you must go to church and change the church from within. I changed my attitude when someone said; “love is a verb, you love what you put your energy into”. At that point I quit griping about what my church needed done and did it. Now, I love my imperfect church that tends to my imperfect self.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 11:08 pm


We do have to fix it, and churches are not doing it, but they need to. The state can t do it. It won t work. Our mainline grandfathers gave up the role of the church in social justice to the state and we have yet to regain it. Let s not make the mistake of following their example, but reclaim the responsibility for the church. Nathanael Snow jurisnaturalistJuris, I can’t agree with any of that and when there is that much difference there won’t be common ground.



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butch

posted March 28, 2007 at 11:14 pm


If we eliminate those public services which immigrants and other free riders are likely to abuse, juris Immigrants pay in about 11 billion and use about 1 billion, the same old tired mis-information.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 29, 2007 at 12:01 am


jerry | 03.28.07 – 3:25 pm You made some good points. I don t agree with everything you wrote, but I agree that real solutions will have to be social solutionsjurisnaturalist reclaim the responsibility for the church.Churches are not immune from making grave errors in their distribution of charity. My current course of study is public health in developing countries, so pardon me if I use an example from outside the U.S. Some very well-intentioned religious organization responded to the growing problem of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Africa by building orphanages. It sounds like a great idea the children would have food, shelter, and education. The problem was that it took the children away from their extended families and cultural background, and the children had poorer outcomes than those who had remained in their communities. Based on the evidence, most of the aid for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS is now directed is in supporting the extended family system keeping children with relatives in their communities and providing financial support for those families. These children have far better quality of life than those who had been housed in orphanages. Foster, G. (2002). Supporting community efforts to assist orphans in Africa. New England Journal of Medicine, 346(24), 1907-1910. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. (2004, July). Children on the brink 2004: a joint report of new orphan estimates and a framework for action. http://www.unicef.org. Kamali, A., Seeley, J. A., Nunn, A. J., Kengeya-Kayondo, J. F., Ruberantwari, A., Mulder, D. W. (1996). The orphan problem: experience of a sub-Saharan Africa rural population in the AIDS epidemic. AIDS Care, 8(5), 509-516. Lindblade, K. A., Odhiambo, F., Rosen, D. H., DeCock, K. M. (2003). Health and nutritional status of orphans



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Marie Antoinette

posted March 29, 2007 at 12:15 am


Let them eat cake. .



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Bill Samuel

posted March 29, 2007 at 1:41 am


The programs Jim Wallis cites are good ones. But instead of being prophetic, Wallis continues to seek to stay on the good side of his Democratic establishment friends by refusing to say where the money is going. The money is going to weapons of mass destruction and other machinery of death. Over half of the relatively controllable portion of the budget is going to the military. The President’s budget proposal would have the U.S. spend more on the military than all other nations combined! Wallis’ Democratic establishment pals reliably vote with the Bush administration on this. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower This is the truth that Wallis refuses to admit. The money that should be going to help the needy is going to kill people and prepare to kill more people. Somehow this is not a moral issue for Jim Wallis. I used Sojourners’ action alert, but modified the text to add the issue of moral spending. I urge others to do the same. Because Wallis refused to speak prophetically is no reason for us to also do that. See FCNL’s budget page for more information on the budget as a moral issue, without Sojourners’ deletion of the major moral issue.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 29, 2007 at 2:26 am


Bill Samuel, Thanks for the link. It looks like good information. Are you a Quaker? In the current political climate, how effective and how acceptable would calls to decrease the defense budget be? I’m sure that the suggestion will be ridiculed by several people who post here regularly. Peace!



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butch

posted March 29, 2007 at 3:00 am


In the current political climate, how effective and how acceptable would calls to decrease the defense budget be? neuro The military economy is so large in this country that we would be bankrupt if we cut back in any big way. How much do you think we sell around the world? How many dictatorships would collapse without our arms? We have 800+ military sites around the world and we are reimbursed by many of those countries.



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CRP

posted March 29, 2007 at 3:18 am


“Wallis continues to seek to stay on the good side of his Democratic establishment friends by refusing to say where the money is going.” Yes. But he’s exercising good politics, which, by the way, isn’t a dirty word. It’s the way you get things done. I wouldn’t sell Wallis short on this issue yet…



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CRP

posted March 29, 2007 at 3:21 am


jurisnaturalist reclaim the responsibility for the church.To do so, churches would have to organize significantly more than they are, and if they organized effectively they would not surprisingly resemble government. Government does some things better then non-profits and private business, especially when using pooled public funds.



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butch

posted March 29, 2007 at 4:06 am


Government does some things better then non-profits and private business, especially when using pooled public funds. CRP I don’t care who does the best as a christian I don’t want anyone’s religion in charge of anything but their lives which of course extends to their church.



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TLB

posted March 29, 2007 at 5:07 am


jurisnaturalist is even more delusional than Wallis, and neither of them have any idea of everything involved in immigration matters. First of all, we don’t have unlimited space in the areas that people want to live; there aren’t too many people in North Dakota for a reason, and there are millions of people clogging Los Angeles (where I live) for the same reason. Second, neither jurisnaturalist nor Wallis have a clue about the economic issues (are either of them economists and can they prove to other economists that immigration, especially of the illegal variety, are a boon?) and even more importantly there are other issues their arguments do not address. For one example, the Mexican government has a great deal of political power inside the U.S., and they may even have used proxies to organize several of last year’s immigration marches. I have no doubt that Wallis has no clue about various immigration-related issues, and if I debated him in front of his congregation they’d start looking for a new pastor the next day. He should stick with issues he knows about. What that would be is not known.



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jerry

posted March 29, 2007 at 5:32 am


butch wants to know what you throw at social problems. try useful education, self help programs, work, uplifting spiritual information, parent and relationship training, all within the existing budget. in otherwords ,butch, less talk, less lawyers, less political correctness and less social engineering. more personal responsibility.



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butch

posted March 29, 2007 at 6:48 am


Jerry, define all the terms you used.



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jurisnaturalist

posted March 29, 2007 at 12:47 pm


Neuro, how effective would calls to decrease the defense budget be? I believe we should close down all foreign bases, bring all the boys home, and give the weapons to the state militias. National defense is legitimate, imperialism is not. CRP, Churches would have to organize Yes, for some activities, for many it would just require Christians acting like Christians on their own. resemble government Here s the key: The church is like today s army: it s an all volunteer force. With the crucial difference that you don t go to the brig if you decide to drop out. Voluntarism is required to restore the virtue of the action. I think that voluntarism would be more effective than government action, but my argument hinges on the ethical implications rather than the results. Jesus did not heal every sick person He met. I don t think we are called to fix everything, but to be faithful. Butch, I agree, I don t want anyone s religion in charge of anything, either. Statism is a pagan religion. TLB, I m studying economics at the Master s level currently, though I have not yet arrived, and don t think I ever will. (no) unlimited space in areas that people want to live What is overcrowding? Is LA clogged? Compared to N Dakota, sure, but compared to Tokyo? If you are really interested in economic papers relating to immigration I invite any of you to e-mail me for a list of citations. ndsnow@ncsu.edu My argument is that the laws regarding immigration are arbitrary and protectionist, not founded upon the common law. Therefore they are illegitimate. I know you have written at length on this issue at your site and will try to get over there to familiarize myself with your position more. Nathanael Snow



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jesse

posted March 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm


Perhaps it is asking too much from a site like this, but it would be nice to hear (read) a debate between people over the proper role of government. Has anyone seen this anywhere? I believe J Budziszewski has done an excellent job of analyzing these first principles.Whether you agree with Wallis or not, he never really addresses this. Unless you call saying “the Bible has lots of verses about poverty” a slam-dunk argument for the welfare state. I think it’s pretty shallow and sounds fundamentalist. I’d like to see people go deeper.



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jerry

posted March 29, 2007 at 5:54 pm


butch. put your own spin on the terms i used. figure it out. less academia talk, less government and more doing. government social engineering via welfare doesn’t work. its good for government and good for “do gooders” like you. work works.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 29, 2007 at 6:32 pm


I believe we should close down all foreign bases, bring all the boys home, and give the weapons to the state militias. National defense is legitimate, imperialism is not.Wow, that s a pretty bold statement considering some of the company we keep here. I agree with most of it, I just don t know how well it would play in Peoria. I understand the principle of having a well armed militia, but I don t trust that system enough to give them more firepower. I m working on an MPH good luck in school. Peace!



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KathyG

posted March 29, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Juris I and my son appreciate you and your family’s prayers more than you will ever know.My son’s disability is one of the reasons I support stem cell research so much. It has the potential to cure his disease (Cerebral Palsy)in the future so that hopefully no one else will have to suffer through this disease ever again. As to the comment from butch the southern baptist church I grew up in no longer exists as far as I’m concerned. It used to be very forgiving and “liberal” as opposed to the other denominations which were very conservative at that time. Yes maybe I could effect change from within one church. I don’t see the entire SBC changing until all the churches revolt against them.



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Charles Scouten

posted March 30, 2007 at 3:44 am


I take issue with “…put poverty at the top of the national agenda” from the March 27 Sojourner.It is irresponsible to put poverty at the top of our national agenda – not domestic poverty, not global poverty – no matter how pitiful the victims may be. Yes we want to help them. Yes we need to help them. But not at the top of our priority list.Top of the list must be devising a strategy for restoring some useful measure of sanity to the affairs of nations – a strategy that enables resolving differences by diplomacy, not war – and effectively implementing this new strategy. The top of our national agenda cannot be limited to such a narrow issue as poverty, per se. The strategy must be comprehensive, and developed with “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” and presented with the same attitude. High handed pronouncements will not do – no matter how well they boost poll ratings domestically. Although the medicine may be hard to swallow, it will be necessary for the US to face up to our past failures to act responsibly, and to put into place policies of state that prevent such wayward activities in the future. We must realize that our best efforts are not likely to mollify some of our harshest critics abroad or at home. Some of these critics have suffered great loss at the hands of US military and/or US proxies, so their reluctance to forgive is not without reason. Other critics primarily want to maintain their power or keep others from gaining in the local power race. The former may be won over by conduct that is compassionate without being condescending – tough act for us. The latter are not likely to be won over by anything we do, and it is critical that we do not attempt a “coerced conversion” even if we have the military might to do so. Enforcing acceptable conduct must be the responsibility and mission of local government. And what I just wrote goes double in cultures different from our own Northern European culture. Vivid examples from our past include Vietnam – where we made good progress only after we “quit fighting the locals” – and the fiasco surrounding the 1899 Bates Treaty with the Moros of the Southern Philippines – an area still unsafe for US citizens. Our strategy must be uncommonly broad in scope, and its successful implementation will require patience. An effort or efforts to mitigate poverty may be part of implementing the strategy. I hope and expect so. But, the whole battery of “family values” and similar narrow issues have for far too long been used to hijack and constrain our national agenda. Sadly, many have used this narrowing as an opportunity to seize personal political power. Even sadder, some of the more prominent of these folks have failed to live up to the basic standards of decent behavior. It now ill behooves any of the rest of us to attempt a similar narrowing strategy with another set of “family values” lest we also succumb to hubris and lead our great nation off the proverbial cliff. Now is the time for the loyal opposition to practice a bit of statesmanship — something not seen in this country for so long it will astound most of the people. I hope you agree.My apologies for this long response. Christ did better with “…love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself.” My point is that we would be in better shape today had we spoken a bit softer and systematically developed a national strategy built on Christ’s maxim, rather than quickly adopting the “Big Stick” approach.The election of 2008 gives us an opportunity to change direction – to change to something better. Let’s not blow it.Best regards, Charles G. Scouten 29W528 Forestview Drive Warrenville, IL 60555-2101 Phone: 630-428-1075 E-mail: cscouten@aol.com



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Michael Goldberg

posted March 31, 2007 at 12:01 am


Deplorable does not begin to describe the actions of our congressional leaders, presidents, and religious leaders. The cogressional leaders, both republican and democrat,for the last 20 years have sold out our children’s financial future by maintaining fiscal policies that have allowed our United States dollar to slide, thereby causing our standard of living and purchasing power to continue to slide every few years. President Clinton disgraced the Oval office by lying to the public about his infidelity and further by granting over 100 pardons to pals in his last 2 hours of office. President Bush has shown poor judgement in the management of this Irag war and even worse judgement by not asking for the resignation of Mr. Cheney, a Vice President and former executive of the petroleum servicing and construction company, Halliburton, that has mysteriously ended up with large amounts of ‘new’ business as the Irag endeavor continues. Mr Cheney’s ethics and style have seemingly compromised those who have worked for the administration in sundry capacities. Then we have the religious leaders who have shown us how unlike Christ they are. Christ showed us mercy, grace, compassion and unconditional love and how to reconcile with God Himself. Christ preached these things unrelentingly and then gave His own life for mankind. Instead of following Jesus Christ’s flawless example, the liberal and conservative religious leaders, including Jim Wallis, take pot shots at each other either in print or on the very same television interview, thereby making non-Christian folks around the world wonder why they would want to be Christian. The Bible, in Galatatians 5:15 says it best…’But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.’ This is exactly what is happening, and peace between man and God and between each other goes by the wayside all the while. Let this be a wake up call for us, before the veritable Titanic turns on it’s end and sinks….



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anonymous coward

posted April 5, 2007 at 4:54 am


We need our leaders to start talking about the water crisis: http://greenmarkets.blogspot.com/2007/04/global-water-crisis.html



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