Friday, January 20, 2006

Can we handle this?

I regret being so slow to find any news from this protest in Washington, D.C. in December. Apparently the mainstream media didn't pick up the story. Only the internet seemed to carry the story, and then only from the perspective of the protesters.

Dr. John Perkins is led away by police.

"115 religious leaders were arrested in front of the Cannon House Office Building while kneeling in prayer to protest the immoral budget and tax agenda which slashes spending on the poor to finance tax breaks for the rich. Led by Jim Wallis of Call to Renewal, national faith leaders, clergy and faith-based providers of services to the poor held a press conference."

Reverend Jim Wallis

[Jim Wallis' article and set of pictures]

What shall we make of all this? Seeing our beloved Dr. Perkins in handcuffs should not surprise us. He has always tried to be seen standing with the poor. Reverend Jim Wallis being led away in handcuffs? No surprise either, if you've read his book, "God's Politics".

It all begs the question for the Church at large though -- can we handle this? Can we handle political dissent among Bible-believing Christ-followers? I mean, after all, for some of us it defies our Christian experience to date. Surely God wants everyone to be saved, firstly and foremostly... followed shortly thereafter by becoming good Republicans... Right?

We wouldn't be caught dead in chains. [Well, except for an occasional abortion protest perhaps.]

Personally, my economic background leads me to a different point of view than Pastor Wallis regarding the economy, taxation, and budgets. Since we 'work for the government' from January to May each year, it's hard to imagine that we aren't 'over-taxed'. And it only makes sense to me that if the major tax burden has fallen on those in the upper-income brackets, they should get the biggest proportion of the relief. And they're still by far paying the greatest percentages of taxes. [...not to mention, the sound economic theory that these business folks will be much more productive with their re-investment of these returned funds... thus producing more jobs for everyone.]

So I'm not one to begrudge how much tax relief 'the rich' are getting.

But who can't appreciate a pastor or other leader going to bat for those least able to successfully fend for themselves economically?

So right or wrong on taxation theory, I hope we can give great grace to leaders who stand with the poor.

"The poor of this world are rich in faith."

"It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

And it bears repeating: If Bible-believing churches would come together and 'be the Church'... we wouldn't need our government to help the poor.

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