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.
About this blog
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.
Jesus, the man of simplicity and truth would ask, why did America with all it's promise, become a country of war and greed?
hey, jay-sus started one of the most successful businesses in the history of the known universe: the roman catholic church. he kicked the money-lenders out of the temple because he wanted them out on the streets doing more bizness. i doubt he would have let concern for the poor get in the way of profit margins. just ask those good xtians glenn beck and joel orstein!
21k, you've never read the books of Matthew, especially book 23, 24, 25, and 26.
First; cut out ALL foreign Aid. Enact immigration reform that will cut billions. Cut all funding of foreign relief. Next these religeous leaders should concsentrate on providing aid to americans. What is this about rendering unto Caesar? Don't rely on government to to the job you are supposed to do. You get Government involved in your business, they run your business. Keep them at arm's reach.
What Jesus having to do with this?. This is a human problems and the people responsible for their acts.
Jesus has every thing to do with every thing and any thing. Problem is these folks never read, comprehended or applied what he teaches.
Jesus would look at the obscene distribution of wealth we currently have, and he would say, "Tax the Rich!"
ur right kate.... except Mexico... we should NUKE it
how do you feel if another country to nuke you ?.
I think He would want us to stop fighting other countries.
Why the hell should we become like china
u must also never go to the CNN site for news... it is the devil. Lets get smashed
United we Stand... Against Standing United... GOP/Tea Parties Go USA!.... or as David Koch said "To beat China... We must become China."
Or become China workers.
What nonsense to feed the masses. China bailed the US out. Just as the US bailed out Germany when they were divided and conquered from within.
Jesus told Pilot my kingdom is not of this world. Jesus wouldn't be involved in the cuts one way or the other. He ran and hid when they came to make him king on another occassion. People who say they are "Conservative Christians" are not Christian. To be Christian one must follow the Christ and his view of politics.
fletch, Jesus wasn't not into materialism. He wore sandals, toga and a robe. He knew how to fish and pick berries when his belly was aching and he needed to eat.
Compare how he lived to our life styles today.
"For the money is the root of all kinds of evil" -Timothy 6:9
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17ff)
kramses86, Jesus also taught the following:
1 Thessalonians 5:6
2 Thessalonians 3:10
Fact: U have no power over my comments
Fact: U have been angered over my comment
Fact: I win..... enjoy hell
I posted a comment earlier today and now it's gone. Must be a really pathetic weenie out there who didn't like it.
Freedom of speech at it's finest with their politically correct nonsense that goes directly opposite of what Jesus teaches.
He would actually say "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's". This of course means that if all the tax cheats actually paid their fair share we would not be in this mess to begin with.
Caesar has been out of control for quite a few years now. Time for them to cut their workforce hours to at least 1/3 for starters and 1/3 salaries.
The current GOP cuts will cost the US 700,000 more jobs through 2012.
Instead of cutting jobs, why not cut the hours employees work to 1/3. This way, people keep their jobs, but with less hours and less pay. Better to have everyone help out, than making a few pay with a complete loss of employment for the majority!
"New budget campaign asks 'What would Jesus cut?'"
nasa, science, education, did i miss anything ?
U sir are a retard
Interesting. My son is much like you.
Were you diagnosed by a professional? Can you give me any advice to pass on to my son? He will be 31 next month – still has done nothing with his life, no skills, no family of his own, no home, just a manipulating liar.
Get over yourself. Christians like you crack me up... all you know how to do is judge and hate. Leonard is right... and your comment proves it.
Boby Brown, here's some scriptures to read.
1 Thessalonians 5:6
2 Thessalonians 3:10
Jesus forgive them for they not what they do
Jesus will. But everybody else can have at 'em