Theocrat Watch 2
The Usual Suspects gathered in Washington yesterday and released a proposal for something they call a “Faithful Budget.” Jeff Walton of the Institute for Religion and Democracy has the details:
Jewish, Muslim, and Mainline Protestant church officials joined the heads of several left-leaning religious groups Thursday to release their own U.S. budget proposals, naming tax increases and defense cuts alongside increased funding for Obamacare implementation. The proposal did not delve into specifics, but outlined points it said were consistent with a budget that is “faithful.”
“If this means that those who have been richly blessed must contribute more to the wellbeing of all, then so be it,” announced Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness Director J. Herbert Nelson. Nelson, who read comments on behalf of PCUSA Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons, stated that “this nation has an abundance of resources,” and that budget decisions should be based on need rather than on “ideas of scarcity.”
Gosh, where have I heard that before? Seems like I’ve heard somebody talk about “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Who was that, anyway?
Nelson also asserted that religious institutions required a free spending government partner in order to successfully meet the needs of the poor, claiming “the faith community needs a social safety net to remain strong.”
Churches need the federal government to spend money like water “to remain strong”? Who knew?
Among the officials gathered in front of the Capitol Hill United Methodist Building were United Methodist Church Council of Bishops Executive Secretary Neil Irons, United Church of Christ General Minister Geoffrey Black and former National Council of Churches President Michael Livingston. Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Bread for the World President David Beckman also spoke, as did Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of the liberal Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK, and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) National Director Sayyid Syeed.
Like I said, the Usual Suspects. Don’t know where Katharine Jefforts Schori was—must have had a lawsuit to file or something.
“We believe that God assesses the value of a nation by the way in which it cares for the marginal – for those people who cannot care for themselves,” Irons explained, calling for a budget which he said addresses health, education, community formation, “and the possibility of hope for all the people and not just for part.”
You know, it sounds like he’s saying that God judges nations based on the way they draw up their national budget. That sounds awfully fundamentalist to me.
“Our task is not simply to address the world of today, it is to see to it that those who come after us in this world will be advantaged by the abundance of this wonderful planet on which God has placed us,” explained Irons. “Therefore, we call upon Congress to adopt a faithful budget which recognizes that security is something that all people have a right to, and not just a part, and that in the process of that we harbor our resources in order to give a gift to those who come after us on this planet.”
I have no idea what any of that means, but it sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
“It’s time for hard decisions to be made, and for Congress to stop standing up for the extremely wealthy,” intoned Livingston, who addressed changes to the tax system by saying “in Jesus day it was camels through the eye of needles, today it is corporations through loopholes.”
Step away from the metaphor, and no one will get hurt. Jesus was saying it was hard for a rich man to be saved, while corporations find it easy to…oh, skip it.
In addition to cuts in defense such as “substantially” reducing the number of nuclear armed submarines and aircraft, along with active nuclear warheads, the budget proposal calls for cutting border patrol expenditures, funding for employment verification and “ceasing cooperation with the enforcement of state anti-immigrant laws.” The budget proposal provided at the press conference calls for increases in social spending, public school improvements, home energy assistance, and a “substantial increase” in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (welfare) funding. The proposal also calls for expanded entitlement spending and increased subsidies for “renewable energy research and development.”
In other words, it’s the Obama budget in fancy robes, a budget so ridiculous that Harry Reid wouldn’t even let the Democrat-controlled Senate vote on it. But this isn’t about votes in Congress, this is about THE LORD:
“Our concern is a budget that is faithful to the will of God,” claimed Black, who dramatically expanded the scope of the U.S. budget by asserting it was a “moral statement” necessary so that “all people and the Earth can live out God’s will.”
So the federal budget—the spending plan of the government of the United States, the plan that spends the money of all of the taxpayers of the United States, including atheists, agnostics, and believers in the Flying Spaghetti Monster—that budget should be “faithful to the will of God.” That, my friends, is the very definition of a theocratic document.
I expect the ACLU, Americans for Separation of Church and State, People for the American Way, and the Interfaith Alliance to come out of their shoes in opposition to this blatant attempt to put a dominionist stranglehold on these United States. I mean really—conservative theocrats just want to stop gay marriage and ban abortion. Liberal theocrats want to use religion to dictate how trillions of dollars are spent and control every aspect of your life except who you have sex with and abortion. Who would you rather have trying to run your life?
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