Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are We a Christian Nation?

How about talking about a morality budget for the nation – something we could be proud of and boast about to the nations of the world?
by Charlie Leck

I’m a member of this organization called Sojourners. In case you don’t know about it, it’s a religious – Christian – organization, but not a whacky, right-wing, Bible-totting one. Nor is it wildly liberal – not even liberal enough to suit me completely. The important thing about the organization is that it’s committed to morality and ethical behavior and thinks often about things from the perspective of Jesus. Sojourners for Justice and Peace they call their web site. They wonder about God’s politics instead of man’s.

It's an organization that deserves a little of your attention if you consider yourself a moderate Christian who isn’t too public about it.

Recently they sent a communication that said: “Religious leaders agree that we need a budget that is fiscally responsible AND morally acceptable.”

“What would Jesus cut?” It’s an interesting question that Sojourners poses.

That’s an interesting thought. I’m trying to wrap my brains around it. Where would Hosea, the profit of the Old Testament, make cuts? Or Gandhi?

For instance, Sojourners says that “Congress is considering a budget plan that would make a 9 percent cut in discretionary spending while giving a 2 percent increase for military spending. This would be devastating for domestic programs that provide basic nutrition, health, and opportunity to poor children and international aid programs that save lives every day.”

“As a country,” Sojourners says, “we face difficult financial choices, but one thing that should not be on the table is to abandon the poor and vulnerable while allowing more military spending.”

Can a nation think like that?

Sojourners thinks it’s possible!

They suggest we send the following email to our Congresspersons and Senators…

As a person of faith, I believe that the moral test of any society is how it treats its poor and most vulnerable. Our federal budget should reflect our best national values and priorities, so in regard to your upcoming budget vote I ask myself, "What would Jesus cut?"

As your constituent, I ask you to oppose any budget proposal that increases military spending while cutting domestic and international programs that benefit the poor, especially children.

Programs we need to invest in during these tough economic times include:

1. Critical child health and family nutrition programs

2. Proven work and income supports that lift families out of poverty

3. Support for education, especially in low-income communities

4. International aid that directly and literally save lives

In Great Britain, Prime Minister Cameron made the choice to delay a costly nuclear submarine program, while also increasing life-saving funding for international aid. The U.S. Congress should follow this example.

Do you believe that “the moral test of any society is how it treats its poor and most vulnerable?” I’m thinking about that and I’m wondering what a lot of my conservative friends would say about that.

“That’s not the job of government,” I can hear Herman saying. “That is why we have charities and non-profit organizations and churches!”

I know this: I’d be very proud – very proud indeed – to live in a nation that cared for those in need – that saw to it that they were fed and clothed and sheltered and given medical attention. If my nation put that first, before all other things, I’d be damned proud! And I wouldn’t care if my taxes went up a bit as a result of it. I’d even sing the National Anthem at the top of my lungs in the middle of the Nicollet Mall at the noon hour on a Thursday in June – and thank Uncle Sam from the bottom of my heart.

I’d be proud to be an American! And I might even sing out Lee Greewood’s patriotic song

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and it’s time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I just might add my own closing verse and belt it out with tears in my eyes…

And I’m proud to be an American,
where we take care of those with need.
And we won’t forget the lost or ill,
or those who need a kindly deed.

You know, where are all those who are constantly asserting that we are a Christian nation? What would Jesus cut?


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