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New budget campaign asks 'What would Jesus cut?'
Progressive evangelical Rev. Jim Wallis is spearheading the "What would Jesus cut?" campaign.
February 28th, 2011
10:11 AM ET

New budget campaign asks 'What would Jesus cut?'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

A coalition of progressive Christian leaders has taken out a full-page ad that asks “What would Jesus cut?” in Monday’s edition of Politico, the opening salvo in what the leaders say will be a broader campaign to prevent cuts for the poor and international aid programs amid the budget battle raging in Washington.

“They’re talking about cutting bed nets for malaria and leaving every piece of military spending untouched,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, who leads the Christian group Sojourners, referring to Republican spending proposals for the rest of this year.

“Are we saying that every piece of military equipment is more important than bed nets, children’s health and nutrition for low-income families?” said Wallis, whose group paid for Monday’s ad. “If so they should be ashamed of themselves.”

The ad and the broader campaign are aimed mostly at a spending measure passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives that cuts $61 billion from current spending levels, including cuts to Head Start, the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program and international aid programs.

Senate Democrats consider those cuts draconian and won't pass them.

The faith leaders behind the "What would Jesus cut" campaign are also lobbying the Obama administration to forego proposed cuts to programs like college grants and heating assistance to low-income Americans in the 2012 federal budget.

House and Senate negotiators are trying to find consensus on a temporary spending measure to avert a government shutdown. Republican House Speaker John Boehner is pushing a short-term spending plan that would cut $4 billion.

Monday’s “What would Jesus cut?” ad is signed by dozens of Christian leaders, including evangelicals like David Beckman, president of the charity Bread for the World, and author Brian McLaren.

"Cutting programs that help those who need them most is morally wrong," Beckmann said in a statement. "Reducing the federal deficit is critical for our nation's long term health but it should not be done at the expense of the most vulnerable. When Jesus talked about how God will judge nations, he said that God will focus on what we did or did not do for the neediest among us."

Sojourners recently ordered 1,000 “What would Jesus cut?” bracelets for its supporters to send to their representatives in Congress, then ordered 2,000 more when the initial batch ran out. The group says its backers have sent 10,000 "What would Jesus cut?" emails to Capitol Hill.

Wallis said that he and other Christian leaders are meeting in Washington this week to strategize on ways to prevent lawmakers from cutting programs it supports. They are urging cuts in defense spending instead.

“The most corrupt government spending is military spending,” Wallis said. “Its cost overruns, outdated weapons systems, welfare checks to military contractors.”

“This is a biblical choice of swords into plowshares directly and the House Republicans want to beat our ploughshares into more swords," he said. "These priorities that they’re offering are not just wrong or unfair, they’re unbiblical.”

On Sunday, Boenher gave a speech that framed the government’s mounting debt as a moral issue.

"We have a moral responsibility to address the problems we face. That means working together to cut spending and rein in government - not shutting it down," Boehner said. "This is very simple: Americans want the government to stay open, and they want it to spend less money. We don't need to shut down the government to accomplish that."

Boehner's remarks were included in a speech he delivered to the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention in Nashville.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (1,281 Responses)
  1. Shakkeerpv

    every single time i visit a blog/journal and i see seomone loudly proclaiming how dangerous SARS is, i quietly point out that each day more people die slipping and falling in their bathtubs.no one ever responds.

    March 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  2. Ismail

    Hmmm, grea intrebare.Habar n-am ce simt. Cred doar, ca asa fuiotncneaza ei optim.Eu m-as ofili si as muri fara ceilalti :) (dragi)

    March 2, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  3. John

    Jesus was a socialist

    June 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  4. Mr Everyman

    With many of you Iwould agree that Jesus would not be making budget cuts, especially to poor and ill people. Congress needs to perform the miracle of the loaves and fish with the national budget.. There are ways to do that. The Evil One, bin Laden, wants to make us an authoritarian society by involvement in endless money draining wars. We can avoid this with increased production. Obama and Congress can make: 1. building desalinization plants easy, 2. gold production increase, 3. coal production increase, 4. oil and gasoline manufacturing increase but, not drilling, 5. use of these as exports to pay the national debt. Authoritarians are using economics to ration and then ruin democracies. Chelsea, MA had to have a reciever or dictator run the city. Symbiotic, mutually beneficial, business deals and relationships can give Congress the loaves and fish needed. Increased value evaporates the debt and no cuts are necessary. Call it the Jesus solution.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  5. John H

    The meek shall inherit the earth. For now, it belongs to big money. There is nothing Christian our government. Majority wins, minority looses. Right and wrong are unimportant as long as the votes are there.

    April 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  6. Kenneth Staton

    We are in this mess because we have slowly kicked God out of our schools, court rooms and even our churches. 2 commandments Jesus told us to do !. love Him with all our heart . 2. Love thy neighbor as ourselves. .2 Chronicles 7:14 says If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek his face and turn from their wicked ways then we will hear from heaven and he will forgive our sin and heal our land.

    April 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  7. jackie

    simple Let His will be done and not our own. How can we ask CHRIST to fix our problems ?When we take Him out of our schools and our lives. When our leaders have to raise millions to get elected .We complain that they have lost touch with the american people dah . if you are worth millions and have political clout why would you think that are politicians would really ask GOD for anything wake up. LOVE of CHRIST and our neighbor is the key yet we are to consumed to see . ie BLIND

    April 25, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  8. drew

    i really like democrats. I think think they are really kind hearted people. Unfortunately though, there heart to often extends to their brains.

    April 25, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  9. Angel Hurner

    Since our politicians have brought religion into our Doctors offices, it definately should apply. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    April 25, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  10. antonio

    Jesus would focus on defense spending. Jesus would not approve of funding for wars and would make line item cuts to funding that goes to corporations that create weapons or technology used to take lives.

    April 25, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  11. LJ Burton

    he wouldn't – he'd pull off a few miracles. remember? he'd make wine and seafood for dinner. nuff said

    April 25, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  12. mary church

    The teachings of Jesus are clear. IT matters not only what you do but what is in your heart. If you harbor anger and resentment, Jesus will know. If you stand by while your brother suffers, Jesus will know. Jesus can see through to your very soul. How will you stand before him and explain your selfishness? Enough of this Republican nonsense. HE will return and HE will judge how well you have followed his teachings. Remember, he has watched you always. HE is the truth and the sword. HE will exact his fiery vengeance. No man will stand in his way.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:41 am |
  13. Bloodhound

    Remind me never to attend this Progressive Pukes church! Yes, the military is more important than sending bed nets to other countries! Stop all spending to other countries, especially those who hate us, until our own country in is order! Get rid of this Worthless Excuse of a Leader, Obama, and get some Real Leadership in the Oval Office! Obama is a Joke and a Failed Person!

    Get a Real Black Man in the Oval Office in 2012! Vote for Allen West if he runs. Hopefully, he will! We need a man of Honor and Integrity, who knows how to lead, instead of a Global Citizen that has no American values and has already Failed as a Leader!

    March 6, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  14. Tim

    stealing is an WHOLE commandment... Jesus would not tolerate the immorality of the govt stealing from honest hard working tax payers to pay for whatever someone else considers important.
    Hey minister, did you think of that?
    Secondly... its not the business of govt to give to the poor

    March 4, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Pat BROWN

      well put!!! I agree. It's funny how all these bloggers can quote a Bible they know nothihg about.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Reality Strikes Down Christianity Again

      God, being quite the murderous as-shole, also commanded regular animal slaughter and burning of flesh to please him, as well as the murder of whole peoples, innocents included. Perhaps you would like that done to certain politicians, but human courts are far more reasonable than your vicious sky fairy.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  15. Republican

    Mr Jim Wallis, Would Jesus lie to get Democrats elected and push their agenda under a false pretense of helping the poor? Since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid entered congress and others, they have had their net worth increase by millions of dollars. Where did they get this money, and how come they did not donate it all to the poor as an example to us morally inferior Conservatives?

    March 4, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  16. Eilif O Aune

    Many Republicans believe in a LIE! They wrap themselves in the American Flag in a “Patriotic Disguise” to hide their prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry that they hold inside.

    The Republican Religious Right should be called the “Religious Wrong!” Many are just “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.
    Jesus warned of “False Prophets.” Stealing from the poor to give tax breaks to the rich. We are to help the poor, feed the hungry, care for the sick; we are not to ATTACK them!

    'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,
    you did for me.'
    Matthew 25:40

    March 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Paul

      Wow. You really need counseling. The Democrats are the evil ones. A party dedicated to mocking all the is good and moral in the world. A party of hypocrites, and adulterers. The party that supports everything that The Lord has taught against. Haven't you noticed that all good Christians are Republicans? What kind of denial world have you been living in. You should probably meet some Republicans before you believe the liberal lie. Education will wipe your party from the earth.

      March 3, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Robert

      "When fascism comes to America it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." – attributed to Sinclair Lewis. I've stopped calling myself a Christian because the loudest and most belligerent voices come from the religious right and the things they're saying are most unchristian and abhorrent to me. I believe in Jesus, but the one from Galilee, not the one invented by the, so called, religious right to sell their message of hate.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Republican

      As you sow, so shall you reap.

      March 4, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Republican

      It does not sound like you know what Republicans believe at all. First, studies have shown that conservatives donate more to charity than liberals. We disagree on the means by which our legally earned money will be given to the needy. You think a large government is the best way. Very little makes it to the needy because of the large government salaries, lavish benefits, and large pension absorb it all. We, unlike you, do not want to misrepresent you and say that you do not care about others. If we don't care as much than why do we give more to charity? Please pay your taxes and try not dodge them like so many Democrats have.

      March 4, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Republican

      Are Republicans stealing from the poor? They go to their house and take money from them and then write a check to the rich? Really? Lets do some teaching. California taxes the rich and gives to the poor. It has very high unemployment. Texas does not have income tax and has low taxes on businesses. It has added more jobs since 2008 than all the other states combined. The Texas government has less demand for government services than California, because they have more jobs because of the low taxes. Hmm. I wonder why more economist are conservative than liberal. Why do liberal states have higher unemployment and higher debts than conservative states? Want to help the poor, then don't abuse their employers and waste their money on a big inefficient bureaucracy.

      March 4, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Gregory Drew

      I don't believe Jesus would take what is His in the first place. That's breaking one of the ten commandments. So the question shouldn't be what would Jesus cut, it should be "would would Jesus take that didn't belong to Him?. The only answer can be... nothing.

      March 4, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • Tim

      as I just posted....stealing is a WHOLE commandment... Jesus would not tolerate the immorality of the govt stealing from honest hard working tax payers to pay for whatever someone else considers important.

      did you think of that?
      Secondly... its not the business of govt to give to the poor

      March 4, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Bob Welch

      Jesus was ALL about the poor, and helping them ."........easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven" etc.
      The so-called "Christian" right, opposes every value that Jesus taught.....that they have hijacked the name of Christianity to help NOT the disadvantaged, but the rich , is unforgiveable.SELFISHNESS is evil...ALTRUISM, "care for others" is GOOD. By that definition, the far right IS evil...

      Bob Welch (ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist/writer)

      April 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.