Friday, February 25, 2011

What Are Our Values?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a bit about the new federal budget.  An acquaintance of mine posted an article on facebook that talks about how the House has made a huge cut in the social services portion of the budget, cutting programs that care for the poor.  This section is less than one percent of our entire budget.  On the contrary, someone else pointed out that we will have the largest increase in military spending, ever.  And military spending makes up the bulk of our budget.  We are the richest, most powerful nation in the world, several times more powerful than any friend or enemy.  I wonder, how many times over do we need to be able to kill our enemies?  (And as an aside, Christians were told by Jesus to love our enemies.  Where does killing them fit into the idea of a Christian nation?)
In contrast to where our money seems to go, I think about how often Christian church leaders insist that we were founded as a Christian nation.  Usually, this belief is often brought around the 4th of July.  Although I disagree with this viewpoint, I wonder what happens to all those who believe this when it comes time to direct our representatives who spend our hard-earned tax dollars.  I’m in the process of reading though the entire Bible in a year (the Old and New Testaments simultaneously) and was struck by Matthew 25:36-46.  My reading of this passage tells me that as Christians, we are supposed to feed the hungry, to be hospitable to strangers, and to care for the sick.  And yet, I find many Christians arguing against universal healthcare because “it’s not Biblical”; fighting for stricter immigration laws because this is “our” country; and fearing the “bogeymen” rather than fighting for “the least of these.” 
As I’ve said, I don’t believe our nation was founded as a Christian nation.  I do, however, believe we are a nation made up of people of faith.  I believe that as people of faith, we need to start thinking about what we really value and direct our federal, state, and local representatives to act accordingly.


Deanna said...

You know how I feel about all this. ;) So, what do you say to the folks who claim that Jesus' instructions about caring for the poor only apply to individuals and not government? This is what I keep hearing and I think it's simply an excuse for selfishness.

Cherie said...

Deanna, I agree that it is selfishness. Since in our country, the "government" is the people and it's our tax dollars that are being spent, it would seem that people of faith would insist that the money go towards caring for "the least of these." I believe the government shouldn't force taxpayers to pay for programs that we don't want - but I think the people should be demanding those programs.