The current budget and deficit debate in America is now dominating the daily headlines. There is even talk of shutting down the government if the budget-cutters don’t get their way. There is no doubt that excessive deficits are a moral issue and could leave our children and grandchildren with crushing debt. But what the politicians and pundits have yet to acknowledge is that how you reduce the deficit is also a moral issue. As Sojourners said in the last big budget debate in 2005, “A budget is a moral document.” For a family, church, city, state, or nation, a budget reveals what your fundamental priorities are: who is important and who is not; what is important and what is not. It’s time to bring that slogan back, and build a coalition and campaign around it.
Note to Jim Wallace and his Sojourners:
What you advocate is not Christianity. It’s just socialist politics.
The key error of Jim Wallis’ attempt to merge Christianity and socialism is revealed here. Family, church, city, state, and nation are very different sorts of entities. Wallis’ attempt to lump them all together is also an attempt to hide something very significant here.
Family budgets are voluntary. Families can spend what they have, but as a family they cannot spend what other families have. (Unless, for example, your mother’s name is Bonnie and your father’s name is Clyde.)
Churches can spend what their members contribute. Churches, as such, cannot force their members to contribute nor can they (or at least should they) force others to give to them.
Governments (city, state, nation) are another matter. They spend what they take by force. The scope of governments must be very limited if there is to be any place for families or churches in society. In this they are very different from families and churches.
This being the case, I can agree with Wallis that how the over-spending of governments is reduced is a moral issue. The proper scope of government is a moral issue. Governments will always over-spend when they engage in matters that are outside their proper scope.
So when our government over-spends, we need to think carefully about the limited range of things government should be doing. We should then shrink government back to its proper role, and thus proper size, and therefore it proper budget.
It is not the proper role of government to make sure everyone tends toward economic equality. The only way a government can do this is to be like a massive, powerful Bonnie and Clyde. The problem is that this is evil.
Jim Wallis and his kin do not understand what governments are meant to do, and what they are NOT meant to do. This is a moral issue. And the Sojourner view of this issue is immoral.