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Exploiting Lent for Big Government?April 1, 2011Contact: Jeff Walton 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell
“Deploying their usual language of spiritual outrage over federal budget ‘cuts,’ Religious Left officials want to refocus the Easter season away from Christ and towards their own endless faith in Big Government.”-Mark Tooley, IRD President
Washington, DC—As congressional leaders work to address multi-trillion dollar federal deficits, both the oldline Religious Left and the emerging Evangelical Left are spiritually appealing for God to save their favored federal programs.
Liberal religious officials announced a fast Monday to protest proposed cuts in spending for domestic and international aid programs. Leaders of secular liberal groups, including Moveon.org, have also announced their participation in the fast.
Sojourners’ Jim Wallis spoke to reporters at the National Press Club calling on believers to join in a hunger campaign to erect a “circle of protection” around government programs that he says aid the poor. He announced that he would devote part of his own Lenten fasting to appeal for divine intervention against any spending caps on his favored federal programs.
“A line has been crossed in this budget debate,” Wallis said. “Extreme budget cuts are now being proposed and this fast is a spiritual escalation to bring these critical moral choices to the attention of the nation, and to seek God’s help in doing so.”
Similarly, officials with the National Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Church of Christ joined in a Capitol Hill prayer vigil to oppose proposed budget cuts.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“The Religious Left and Evangelical Left claim they are defending the poor and vulnerable. They are not asking whether all the programs ostensibly serving the poor are actually effective. Nor do they note that many of these programs actually deliver the bulk of their benefits to middle class constituencies. Nor are they explaining how the poor can escape poverty if the U.S. economy is crushed by endless trillion dollar deficits.
“Deploying their usual language of spiritual outrage over federal budget ‘cuts,’ Religious Left officials want to refocus the Easter season away from Christ and towards their own endless faith in Big Government.
“These Religious Leftists have endless faith in perpetually expanding Big Government. But who will pray for Americans, including the poor, who will endure endless debt and reduced economic opportunity if federal spending is left uncontrolled.”
The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.
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