Progressive Revival

We all know that as soon as we start talking about budget and taxes, the Republicans put away their Bibles and turn to Darwinian social and economic theories to support their policy positions.   The problem is that Democrats and progressives have not been effective at holding the GOP budget policies to the same lens of scripture that the GOP and extreme right often use to attack Democratic programs. 


Back in 2006, the budget debate followed immediately on the heels of Congressional consideration of the Marriage Amendment.   As a result, there was a desire by a number of Democratic leaders for a reference guide that would more easily allow Democrats to authentically speak out against the extreme and selective use of scripture by the Republicans and their allies on the Right.  The first “Guide to Scripture and the Budget” that included scriptural references and simple talking points to help equip Christian Democrats in their response to Republican budget arguments was distributed shortly before the 2006 budget debate.   


My underlying assumption in writing and continuing to update the Guide is that Democrats should not cede the prophetic language of scripture and its ability to inspire and frame issues in a moral context to the other side.  Many traditional Democratic positions are rooted in the teachings of scripture, and it is time Democrats stopped losing on the Bible. 


Over at, we are posting the updated Guide as a series of blogs  and have started a discussion (that is heating up) about what the Bible has to say about our national spending priorities.


The Bible is neither Democrat nor Republican.  But the language of scripture calls people to turn their attention away from selfish desire and personal gain and to focus instead on serving God and their neighbors.  Furthermore, it is a language that speaks with moral clarity and purpose.  Therefore it speaks with authority to the policy debates currently underway in our country.  In short, it is a language Democrats cannot afford to ignore. 


One aspect of the Democratic response to the upcoming Republican budget attacks must be a willingness by progressives and “faithful Democrats” to discuss budget and tax policies from a moral perspective and to challenge Republicans to apply the same moral codes to kitchen table issues that they so eagerly embrace on bedroom issues.


Over the next week at, as we publish each section of the updated Primer on Scripture and the Budget for 2009, our hope is that progressives will use this resource, share it with friends, and discuss it in the comment section…and that together we can make a positive contribution to the upcoming budget debates that will shape our country’s priorities and demonstrate where its heart truly lies.  


The sections and future posts are titled:


The Responsibility of the Nation and Its Government to “the Least of These”

The Policy Implications of Praying, “Thy Kingdom Come…”

On Corruption and the Exploitation of Workers

The Sin of Helping the Rich at the Expense of the Poor

The Blessedness of the Poor and Our Christian Responsibility to Them

Wealth, Materialism, and the Bible’s View of an “Ownership Society”

Countering the Right’s Pharisaical Approach to Moral Legalism

Concluding Thoughts:  Applying Scripture in a Pluralistic Society


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