July 23, 2014

Christians for a Sustainable Economy Challenge Jim Wallis and “Progressive Christians”

Christians for a Sustainable EconomyIn response to Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourner’s Magazine and leader of the Christian wing of Progressive activism, several conservative Christians gathered recently to form the Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE). We intend to counter what we see as the unjustified and irresponsible appropriation of the authority and vocabulary of the Christian moral tradition in service to ideas and policies that threaten the fiscal and cultural fiber of American society.

The “Christian Progressive” movement conflates the biblical mandate to care for the poor with the policy prescriptions of big government and deficit spending. Recently Wallis led a highly publicized White House visit of Progressive religious leaders to create the impression that any objection to the spending of the Obama administration was de-facto a threat to the poor. Needless to say he got plenty of attention. (Hear Wallis explain the purpose of the visit at the Huffington Post. Read a critique of the visit by the Institute of Religion and Democracy.)

The White House visit was a public relations gambit geared to shift opinion against bringing Congressional spending under control. Wallis formed the “Circle of Shared Responsibility,” a statement that literally bathes in the language of scripture but calculated to deliver the religious vote to Obama. How do we know this? Because George Soros, no friend of religion or nation states, funds Sojourners. See: Why Is Jim Wallis Denying that He Receives Grants from Deep-Pocketed Leftists like George Soros?

Should we Orthodox even care about these issues? Yes. Each of us owes $42,500 on the national debt. This debt will pass on to our children and grandchildren unless we stop our profligate ways. If that doesn’t worry you, visit the National Debt Clock to see how fast we are spending the money!

Further, several influential people in Orthodox circles who have jumped onto the Progressive bandwagon. one is Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations for the Orthodox Church in America, who signed the Wallis proclamation (download pdf).

In a small way I contributed to the formation and direction of CASE and am one of the early signers on a document urging more prudence about budget deficits. I also repudiate the notion that only Progressives speak for Christians. They misappropriate the Christian moral lexicon and there is no reason why we should stand by and allow it. I invite all readers to read the document and consider adding your name to it.

Also, please link to this article on your websites and Facebook and Google+ pages.

Comments

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    cynthia curran says:

    Usually, Christians that come from countries that had a history of a land gentry are more likely to be attractive to left-economics since their ancestors were taken advantaged of by the land gentry. This is one of the reasons why Orthodox and Roman Catholics and some Protestant deminationss are more attractive than Evangelicals to left wing economic views. Granted, Evangelicals arose in the early industrical period which would alsohave turn some of them to the left as well. Long work hours and child labor in factories in the US, England, Germany and so forth in the 19th centurywould do this but their was a reform movement to change this first in England and Germany, then the US. Therefore, Evangelicalsas a group tend to be less attractive to left wing politics. What is interesting in regards to theOrthodox in the book that I’m reading, the author supports the big land aristocracy theory of the Byzantine empire in the 4th to 7th centuries with freer peasantly in the smaller communties but scholars during the past 100 years changed their view on how much of an influence the land gentry had.

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    Wonderful news! We need all the help we can get to challenge the lies, half-truths, and falsehoods of the religious left.

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    Sign the petition Chris! Make your voice heard. Do not allow people like Jim Wallis and other Progressives to speak for you.

    (I know you know this. I say it primarily for the benefit of other readers.)

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    anon says:

    This CASE thing looks like a radical rupture with Orthodox Tradition and the mind of the contemporary Orthodox world. The fact that the site is rooted in radical utopian libertarian economic ideas also suggests it expresses something alien to “conservative” thinking if that is what you are going for. And frankly the WWJD snippet is blasphemous.

    I suggest readers new to Orthodoxy (recent converts and inquirers) acquaint themselves with the ideas of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil of Caesarea, and St. Gregory of Nyssa as a starting point for understanding an Orthodox mindset on economic issues before taking an “Orthodox” stand on contemporary American political issues. Orthodox Christians should be mindful that the Church has definite positions on issues related to usury and self-interest that are not compatible with the American economic model (not to mention war – the American debt is largely a function of the war machine and our non-stop interventionist foreign policy, and THAT is a moral issue).

    While I don’t think this kind of breach with Tradition is grounds for ex-communication per se, can you explicitly state whether you have the blessing of your Bishop to advocate as a priest for this organization?

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      Could you add some intellectual substance to justify this complaint? All it offers so far is a scolding. Not much to respond to here except the disapproving wagging of an anonymous finger.

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    Dean Calvert says:

    The Heritage Foundation publishes some excellent economic work which helps to illuminate the current problem. For example, 70% of income taxes come from the top 10% of wage earners (begging the question to those class warfare Democrats: How much is enough?).

    See their “2011 Budget Chartbook” at http://www.heritage.org/BudgetChartBook/contents

    Best Regards,
    Dean Calvert

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  1. [...] Economy (CASE). Orthodox priest Fr. Hans Jacobse played a role in CASE’s creation, and he reports on CASE and offers a critique of the Circle of Protection uber-supporter Jim Wallis and his liberal Sojourners group. It appears [...]

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