Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Unsequestering Morality

Pace Bill Maher’s aggressive atheism and the Religious Right’s heartless Puritanism, mainline Protestant leaders step forward to urge that the fiscal standoff be framed in “moral choices.”

Almost 100 leaders of the nation’s largest and most influential Christian congregations, calling themselves the “Circle of Protection,” urge Congress and the President to resist “budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity and rights of poor and vulnerable people.”

Their concern reflects a Norman Rockwell America that still exists somewhere under today’s layers of sound-bite meanness and cynicism, when “love thy neighbor as thyself” could be heard from pulpits.

As the White House warns of how the sequester would cut airport security, teaching jobs and vaccines for children, Republicans keep digging in to avoid taxes on corporations and the richest Americans.

In a reversal of traditional clich├ęs, more realism can be heard inside church walls than in the halls of Congress as Protestant leaders proclaim:

“Important choices must be made: we must weigh the benefits of tax credits for low-income people and tax breaks for high-income people; of nutrition assistance to low-income families and subsidies to agricultural businesses...

“Congress can and must develop a balanced and thoughtful path forward that protects the most vulnerable and preserves economic opportunity.”

For those who respect the faith of religious Americans even though they do not share it, this effort to unsequester their traditional moral beliefs is a heartening sign of sanity.

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