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Praying for a "Just" BudgetBarton GingerichJuly 12, 2011
While President Obama and the Congress debate limits on federal spending prior to raising the federal debt cap, liberal church groups are busily praying for The Welfare State.
The General Board for Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, Justice and Witness Ministries (United Church of Christ), the Church of the Brethren Peace Office, Presbyterian Church USA (Washington), and the Islamic Society of North America have joined together to hold “prayers for a just and compassionate federal budget.”
Calling themselves the Washington Interfaith Staff Community (WISC), this coalition is petitioning the Almighty in regular prayer events at the venerable United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill. The events will last for two weeks, promising an exhibition of interfaith activism in anticipation of a "Heads of Communions press conference on July 19 and planned meetings with President Obama and Congressional Leadership.”
Ironically, one commenter noted on the event’s Facebook page, “I am proud of the UMC GB of Church and Society responding in this way. This is one way not to take sides and be involved in politics.” Unfortunately, the supplications in the “litany” are far from politically neutral.
The first day of prayer witnessed an openly liberal litany that sought to perpertuate the federal bureaucracies that preside over welfare programs, education, and environmental regulation. The prayer declared: “To eliminate vital domestic and international programs that respond to the needs of poor people and our planet is wrong.” It also mentioned, “We cannot leave our children a legacy of rising debt, nor can we leave them a legacy of rising poverty.” The prayer insisted that budget limits must not affect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Pell grants. Such entitlements allow America “to act justly and to protect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, here and around the world.” As usual, the prayer repeatedly cited “justice” and “protection,” even though the petitioners really meant “spending” and “provision.” The Islamic Society of North America arranged the order of service for July 12, joining Mainline Protestant lobbies in calls for unrestricted government growth. Quoting from the Quran, the Islamic prayers were otherwise the same as the “Christian” version presented the day before.
WISC prayers argued that the budget is a “moral document," echoing a frequent slogan from Religious Left activist Jim Wallis. In this hour, this certainly seems to be the case. But instead of worrying about defrauding future generations with oversized Big Government, the WISC looks to already shipwrecked bureaucracies to guarantee fiscal justice. For the WISC and others, Prince John has become Robin Hood; through mandated political authority, the government must rob the "rich" to give to the poor. Indeed, some may wonder why such massive, wealthy religious organizations spend so much money and time asking the federal government to take care of the poor, rather than using those lobbying funds for actual relief.
Once more, liberal Mainline Protestantism and its religious allies imagine that politics—and government programs—can solve all of society’s problems.
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