Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Religious leaders challenge politicians: What would Jesus cut?

Jesus with small children. (Image Credit: My Church Journey blog)

Bible-thumping politicians abound in Arizona and across the US. You know who they are. They’re the ones who fight valiantly for the rights of the unborn, speechify about their faith and guidance from God, and go to church regularly (or claim to).

Ironically, they also are often among those who push for the most dramatic cuts in social programs while promoting guns, military spending, draconian immigration policies, union-busting, and corporate welfare. I’ve often wondered: What’s up with that? Were they sleeping during church?

Jesus said, “The meek shall inherit the Earth,” but, so far, it’s not working out that way.

Enter the Sojourners.

This past Sunday, John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the US House of Representatives and one of those stingy Bible-thumpers, told the National Religious Broadcasters annual conference that cutting spending is the “moral” thing to do.

This prompted some 30 religious denominations and organizations to take out a full page ad in Politico on Monday. The headline asked: What would Jesus cut? From the Sojourners’ website

The ad comes just a few weeks after the [US] House [of Representatives] passed a budget that disproportionately cut programs that protect the poor and help lift them out of their poverty. The House budget includes significant cuts to programs such as Head Start, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and critical international aid programs.

The advertisement calls for Congress to defend:
– International aid that directly and literally saves lives from pandemic diseases
– Critical child health and family nutrition programs — at home and abroad
– Proven work and income supports that lift families out of poverty
– Support for education, especially in low-income communities.

“… Our faith requires us to preach Jesus’ love for the poor, and to declare our conviction that the budget must not take away support from Americans who live in poverty — millions of whom are working families with children seeking a way out of their desperate situation with help only the government can provide,” Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, which represents 45 million people and 100,000 congregations in the U.S., is quoted on the Sojourners’ website.

In an open letter to Boehner on his blog, Sojourners’ leader John Wallis further challenged Boehner and the cuts supported by him and other right-wing politicians.

As religious leaders, we don’t believe that our most vulnerable people should bear more additional burdens. Do you agree? Why are there deep cuts in budget proposals to some of our most important programs that prevent deadly diseases among children in Africa and provide critical nutrition for our poorest families right here at home? These are not only cost-effective, but also relatively low in cost compared to massive expenditures in our military budget, corporate tax loopholes, and subsidies to oil, gas, and agribusiness companies — just to name a few of the things that were protected in the proposals from your House Republicans. Is that fair? Is that right? Is that moral?

Mr. Speaker, do you really believe that every weapons system and line item of spending in the military budget is necessary to keep us safe? That every dollar sent to defense contractors is more important than money for bed nets to prevent malaria or vaccinations to save lives in the world’s poorest places or for early childhood development and good education in our nation’s poorest neighborhoods? And should teachers, police officers, and firefighters bear heavier burdens than bankers, corporate CEO’s, and hedge fund operators in the name of deficit reduction? Those priorities seem backwards to many of us.

Since Sojourners started challenging politicians to act like Christians– and not just talk about being Christian– more than 10,000 people have sent e-mails to their Congressional representatives urging them to support social programs for the poor, the sick, and the defenseless– people Jesus would have comforted and defended.

The Sojourners’ website has an e-mail form if you want to send mail to Arizona Senators and hawkish Christians Jon Kyl and John McCain or any of Arizona’s members of the House of Representatives, but I would suggest going beyond our federal representatives and asking Governor Jan Brewer and state legislature: What would Jesus cut? Here is their contact information: Brewer, AZ Senate, AZ House.

20 comments on “Religious leaders challenge politicians: What would Jesus cut?

  1. Pingback: Religious leaders challenge politicians: What would Jesus cut? – Tucson Citizen | The Write Article

  2. Jim
    March 3, 2011

    It is a well known fact that Jim Wallis is a socialist and is not a Religious leader….  Great try though


    • Pamela Powers
      March 3, 2011

      Being a socialist doesn’t preclude one from being religious.


      • Fraser007
        March 3, 2011

        Don’t know too many Socialists who are Bible Thumpers. Just like there are not many free thinking conservatives. (Like me) Its lonely out there.


        • pamela
          March 3, 2011

          There is a continuum of religiosity/spirituality. Bible-thumpers as well as socialists can find a place on that continuum. God doesn’t have the exclusivity rules that humans do; he/she even accepts sinners, after all.


          • M Coz
            March 3, 2011

            I love getting in the face of leftist losers who make that idiotic statement. Jesus made what today’s politically correct commies would call the most racist, hateful, sexist, homophobic, environmentally incorrect, exclusionary statement ever uttered or recorded: John 114:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.


      • M Coz
        March 3, 2011

        Correct, they believe themselves to be god, and that’s the problem.


  3. Jennifer
    March 3, 2011

    I lived in Chicago, IL for close to 8 years and was unemployed and homeless with 2 children most of the time. A teen mother cannot receive food stamps in Melrose Park, IL until she is 21 years old. I had my son when I was 19 years old and supported him all the while remaining homeless, being evicted 3x’s, and trying to come up with the money to get around to find work. Access to WIC in Chicago? I had the door slammed in my face at a Maywood, IL office location because I asked for a bathroom key, while sitting on the floor for 6 hours with a toddler. How degrading, I never went back. They treat you like garbage.

    My family looked at me as nothing. Recently my sister called and I told her I was on my way to school as my job is paying for me to go back to college to finish my degree. She was very surprised and it was at that point my family suddenly wanted to be around me. I don’t. I have a grudge because of the homeless shelters I lived in ( my family has rental properties and a huge home, I was raised in foster care ) and the fact that my family never once offered a hand, in fact my Dad told me to come to his home then drove me to a shelter from the bus station in Portland, OR at 75 mph with no car seats for my 2 sons in mid-winter. He just kept telling me that there was too many programs for him to be bothered with me or his grandkids. Later when I went into the hospital and asked him to watch my children, he responded by telling me, “Give them to the state. Sorry can’t hear you I’m going on vacation.” He then hung up. I had to rely on a nice woman at the shelter to care for them. I left Portland to California the next day. My dad didn’t know I was gone for close to a year.

    I left for California ( to reunite with the father of my children, now my husband ). I wish I had left for here 8 years ago. When I arrived I was able to receive counseling and this last year, after 1 year in California, I obtained a position working at the highest level of a bank and immediently called my worker to cancel all public programs that had stabalized me when I was out of work. 

     My tax return this year was spent paying off lots of debt and to know I’m moving up in the world is a great accomplishment. We are happy to be a whole family and are planning on buying a house soon and its just wonderful here.

    I worry for many of my neighbors who are laid off and out of work. The fact that my landlord no longer complains when the rent is late says a lot about the economy, luckily because of my new job since February 2010 my landlord get his rent a week early.

    There’s pride in work and not being poor. Pride in having a 2 parent family. I dislike the GOP for their allegations that “welfare” is a free ride. They are cutting jobs and killing people like there is no tomorrow. If I didn’t have my children’s father I don’t know what I would’ve done.


    • M Coz
      March 3, 2011

      To live the circumstances you did, you must first have no respect for yourself; now you know why no one else had respect for you. And welfare is a free ride, ya mooch.


      • leftfield
        March 3, 2011

        I think they call people like you a troll.


        • tiponeill
          March 4, 2011

          I call him a “christian” – at least by U.S. standards.


  4. Mark B. Evans
    March 3, 2011

    Wasn’t Jesus a socialist? He owned nothing. He gave everything to everyone. He worked for the collective good. He helped the sick and the poor. And he told you to pay your taxes.

    Read the Sermon on the Mount. Here’s a few passages that might be apropos for Sen. Pearce and clan:

    Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, “You good-for-nothing,” shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, “You fool,” shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

    Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.

    You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
    But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
    For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?

    No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

    Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

    In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

    So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
    Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.

    If Pearce’s laws are his fruit, then I think we know him by them. Anyone got a match?


    • M Coz
      March 3, 2011

      Wrong on every front, and you know it. Jesus never once gave away that which wasn’t freely given. Jesus owns it all, anyway; he was not a destitute Hebrew Hippie. He never once worked for the collective good, he dealt with individuals on an individual basis: there is no record of mass baptisms, just records of masses getting individually baptized. And of course, the classic half truth, yes, he said to pay taxes, and he also commanded that civil governance be righteous. Are illegals being righteous by breaking the laws? Your next 3 quotes are from a book falsely called a bible, however, love does not exclude righteousness. Pearce’s fruit does not come from the ugly branches that self serving, self important fools such as yourself produce. He, like Jesus, loves that which belongs to Him and His father, and not that which belongs to your father, the devil. Yeah pal, gotta match- I gotta blow torch for fools like you.


      • Mark B. Evans
        March 3, 2011

        I think you missed your lithium dose this morning, Jared.


  5. Ferrari Bubba
    March 3, 2011

    From the sound of it, I’d say that the Son of God was a utopian communist. — Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba


  6. Ferrari Bubba
    March 3, 2011

    Hey Pam: What would Jesus cut? Nothing. Since he had nothing, he had no budget to cut. Ergo, it’s a moot point. Next question . . . Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba


  7. tiponeill
    March 3, 2011

    Seen recently:
    “Obama is NOT a brown-skinned peace-loving socialist who gives away free healthcare. You’re thinking of Jesus.”


  8. M Coz
    March 3, 2011

    What would Jesus cut? Easy. Jesus didn’t give away a single mite to anyone anywhere that wasn’t freely given by someone else, or else Jesus’ to begin with (loaves and fishes); in addition, they had to sit through a painful and pithy (to the average bone head commie) bit of preaching upon receiving the gift. Awwwwwww. What would Jesus cut? If it isn’t in Romans 13: 1-7, he’d cut it.


  9. Mike
    March 3, 2011

    I don’t recall in the Gospels Jesus ever asking the Caesar and/or the Roman Empire to fund any of his ministry or “programs”.  Thus, he would’nt have ever been in position to have to make cuts.


  10. Pingback: What Would Jesus Do? He’d Pay Unemployment for His Workers | Tucson Progressive

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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