Using Scripture to Guide the Federal Budget
One of the more disturbing trends in American politics is the way Scripture has been selectively used and discarded in countless policy debates in the public square. Again and again elected officials, especially on the GOP side of the aisle, will make pious statements about Christian values and quote Scripture in speeches on gay marriage and anti-abortion bills never expected or intended to pass. Yet, as soon as "God's Only Party" finishes its symbolic bills and moves into more concrete conversations about the budget and taxes, they put away their Bibles and turn instead to Darwinian social and economic theories to support their policy positions.
Progressives cannot continue to allow this hypocrisy to go unchallenged. As we engage in heated budget debates, we believe that one aspect of the progressive response to budget proposals by the Republican leadership must be a willingness to discuss budget and tax policies from a moral perspective. We must challenge Republicans to continue during this debate on the budget the faith-laden dialogue that they so eagerly embrace on other issues.
It would be a mistake for every government leader to begin using scripture to support progressive budget positions, and that is not our intention with this document. Progressives must strive above all else to be authentic and humble when and if we bring faith into the public square. On the other hand, since so many leaders can speak authentically about faith, we firmly believe that progressives should not cede the prophetic language of scripture–and its ability to inspire and frame issues in a moral context–to the other side. Progressives should not be losing on the Bible.
The language of scripture calls people to turn their attention away from selfish desire and personal gain and to focus instead on serving God and their neighbors. It is a language that speaks with moral clarity and purpose. Therefore it speaks with authority to the policy debates currently underway in our country. In short, it is a language progressives cannot afford to ignore. Our hope is that this document (which is organized by theme, with scripture passages in italics) will help its readers better understand this rich language and will serve as a resource that will assist them in the upcoming debates that will shape our country’s priorities and demonstrate where its heart truly lies.