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Jim Wallis Rebuts False Accusations from Religious Right

September 21, 2011, 12:21 pm | Posted by Tara Culp-Ressler

Thumbnail image for WallisinDCdemo.jpgLast month, we noted conservative groups’ misguided critiques of the Circle of Protection’s call for economic justice, pointing out the logically flawed argument from Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE). Cloaking their conservative economic policy and dependency rhetoric in faith-based language, CASE seeks to portray cuts to government programs as the “moral” way to approach budget reform.

Sojourner’s Jim Wallis, a member of the Circle and a vocal advocate for a moral budget, publically responded to CASE in a recent interview with the Christian Post. Wallis asserted that CASE has attempted to misrepresent the Circle’s intentions by suggesting that the Circle favors a “blanket defense” of government programs rather than practical economic solutions to address the national debt. As Wallis explained:

“We say growth and jobs are part of the solution, so they shouldn’t say that we don’t, because we do. They shouldn’t say that we offer a blanket defense of every government program or that government is the sole answer to poverty. We say the opposite. We don’t say that, and they shouldn’t say that we do.”

In his interview, Wallis agreed that CASE and the Circle agree on some things, such as a shared concern for the poor and the need to address growing debt. However, the groups diverge on how to implement these values in policy, especially when it comes to revenue. While CASE focuses on the “threat” of government spending and opposes any kind of tax increases to address the national debt, the Circle advocates for revenue reform as an alternative to extreme spending cuts to important programs that safeguard the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

As Wallis put it, “The Bible has no objection, in my view, to making the wealthy pay their fair share, which is more than they’re paying now, and I think most Christians would agree with that.” This concept is, of course, in line with President Obama’s new tax plan to balance spending cuts with tax increases for the wealthy to address the national deficit. As the Catholic bishops and other clergy across the country call for a balanced and compassionate approach to deficit reduction rather than the anti-tax ideology of conservative lawmakers, it’s becoming clear that mainstream people of faith reject CASE’s platform. It’s good to see Jim Wallis stand up for the common good principles driving the Circle of Protection over CASE’s out of touch policies.

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