Friday, August 12, 2011

What would Jesus cut?

Christian groups differ on US debt solutions

President George W. Bush exiting the Red Mass.
The Red Mass is held every year to encourage U.S
Lawmakers to abide by Christs' teachings. 
Most Americans took a heavy sigh of relief on August 2, 2011, when President Barack Obama signed the 11th hour Budget Control Act, raising the United States' debt ceiling. Speculation had been rampant from political and financial pundits of what would happen if the US were to default. Many of those pundits predicted a massive economic collapse that would take an already weak American economy, and drag into a "double dip recession."

The handling of this debt issue has lead to partisan politics from Democrats and Republicans. But it wasn't just America's main political parties that were divided on this issue. Large Christian groups took opposing arguments on what and what shouldn't be cut from the government.

What would Jesus Cut? Was the question posed by The Circle of Protection, a group which includes the U.S Conference of Bishops. They have been lobbying Washington to settle the debt problem without cutting necessary social programs.

Countering the Circle was a faith based group called Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE), which wrote to President Obama stating The Circle of Protection "doesn't speak for all Christians." They ask: "Whom would Jesus indebt?" The financially conservative Christians also wrote in the letter that, "the good Samaritan didn't use a government credit card."

These arguments come off as "mere religious transpositions of party platforms," according to assistant professor of theology Patrick Clark at the Jesuit run University of Scranton, Pa. In an August 8 blog entry on the Catholic Moral Theology website, Clark responded to Washington Post political commentator Michael Gerson, who wrote an August 4 op-ed called: "Two parties pray to the same God, but different economists."

Clark and Gerson agreed that CASE and the Circle of Faith are acting more like ideological cheerleaders, instead of promoting a Christ like point of view. Clark believes this type of division leads to the public rejection of religious opinions.

Gerson also pointed out that "this use of religion in politics is a source of cynicism. It should raise alarms when the views of the Almighty conveniently match our most urgent political needs."

"A faith that conforms exactly to the contours of a political ideology has lost its independence." 

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