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Government Shutdown Update: Progressive Pastor Tells Tea Party to 'Read Their Bibles'

A group of liberal Christian leaders blasted the Tea Party today over the looming government shutdown, saying that the folks who comprise the movement should, “read their Bibles.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, who is a friend of President Obama and the president of liberal-minded Sojourners, said the following today at a press conference:

“The Bible sees the role of government to protect from evil and promote the good, especially helping and protecting the poorest and most vulnerable people. To protect the common good and the most vulnerable is being denied as the role of government by those who are so eager to push for the brinkmanship of one government crisis and confrontation after another. Those who are eager to shut down the government now and later risk defaulting on the nation’s debt need to read their Bibles—at least the ones who claim to be Christian do.”

A group of 33 progressive-minded faith leaders also released a letter today urging members of Congress to keep the government open. Among the signees were Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance.

Here’s the letter:

September 30, 2013

Dear Senator/Representative:

As leaders of faith communities and organizations comprising millions of people from all walks of life across our nation, we are deeply concerned by the completely avoidable budget and financial crises we are fast approaching as a nation.

Though Congress must pass the federal budget, it belongs to every American. This common fund formed of our combined tax revenues is designed to support the shared infrastructure, well-being, and long-term ethical values of our society. As people of faith we find it morally irresponsible to blockade the process by which we provide for our nation’s shared needs in a bid to force any individual legislative priority.

It would likewise be reckless to propel the United States into financial default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling for spending that Congress has already approved. Shuttering the federal government or defaulting on the nation’s financial commitments is likely to reverse our fragile economic recovery, punish the middle class, and deeply harm our most vulnerable neighbors.

Our democracy rests on principles of reason, compromise, and a commitment to the common good. To hold our governance processes and financial credibility hostage to narrow priorities is not only dangerous to the nation’s near-term financial well-being, it threatens the very foundations of our democratic process and our capacity to live united in community.

We ask that lawmakers address their concerns through the proper legislative channels. It ill serves our nation and people to stand in the way of funding federal operations or raising the debt ceiling in an effort to block implementation of health care legislation that Congress duly enacted. We ask that congressional leadership of both parties stand strong in opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good.

We commit to keeping you in prayer, asking that God continue to give you wisdom as you faithfully serve our nation during this time when the country most needs your principled leadership.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 3:05 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: Government Shutdown Update: Progressive Pastor Tells Tea Party To "Read Their Bibles"

They are correct. For Christians to try to kill Obamacare and shut down the government in the name of Christianity is extremely disturbing. You may think Obamacare is a bad law, but don't use Jesus and the bible as an excuse to back up your government hating political ideology. Respect for democracy and election results is lacking in most of the leaders of the Tea Party.
President Obama won the election of 2012, we have a democratically controlled US Senate and Obamacare was found to be constitutional by the US Supreme Court. Shutting down the government and damaging the full faith and credit of the United States because you are unhappy with recent elections is certainly not Christ like.
Left by WWJSay on Sep 30, 2013 4:26 PM

# RE: Government Shutdown Update: Progressive Pastor Tells Tea Party to 'Read Their Bibles'

I find it interesting that the author felt the need to identify them as "liberal Christians" as opposed to just Christians. Shall we label Brody as a "conservative Christian" with the "conservatively minded" news group CBN? Or how about we stop the divisiveness altogether and come together as the Body of Christ? If Christians can not come together, then how can we expect our government to? Very disappointing seeing this overt bias from a Christian newscaster on a Christian news site. We should expect better. God has given you an opportunity to present unbiased truth, not politically slanted commentaries meant to divide our nation, as well as God's people any further.
Left by jehu on Sep 30, 2013 5:38 PM

# RE: Government Shutdown Update: Progressive Pastor Tells Tea Party to 'Read Their Bibles'

Am I mistaken or doesn't the Bible talk about how God will deal and is dealing with the USA and how we, as Christians, have turned our back on God-- Have we, as Christians, turned toward or away from 2nd Chronicles 7:14? How do we as Christians, support a morally corrupt Congress, Senate and Judicial Branch who have no regards for God's laws and enact mans laws?
Are we no different that the Israelites who were told of no usury to their fellow brothers and that Deuteronomy 28 tells us what would happen if we discarded God's laws for man's laws. Our country was to be a republic as we use to say in the Pledge of Allegiance and not a "Democracy" so their is a major difference-- But, I guess, like this minister says I don't read my Bible and I guess I don't my History either-- Anyway, to you Pastor Jim Wallis--I thought the Church had a major role in helping and protecting the poor as well each fellow Christian-- Why do we need the government when this is our Christian duty
Left by Jeff on Oct 01, 2013 6:05 PM