I have to say up front: I do not consider myself an Evangelical. I grew up Presbyterian (PCUSA) and have only gotten more “liberal” theologically from there. Jesus is still alright with me.
My friend Sarah turned my attention to recent polling of Evangelicals on the issue of the federal budget. Apparently, were they in charge of the government’s spending, Evangelicals are more likely than the average American to want to cut funding for: aid to the poor around the world, aid to the unemployed in our own country, and funding used to protect and care for our environment. From the piece: “evangelicals were more supportive of funding cuts in every area except military defense, terrorism defense, aid to veterans, and energy…Evangelicals were more likely to favor an increase in defense spending (45 percent) compared to non-evangelicals (28 percent).”
From this Jesus-follower’s perspective? Talk about bassackwards. Good gravy.
The defense spending is particularly troubling to me. We’d rather spend money to wage war against the people of the world than to spend money on foreign aid to help them build the sorts of stable economies and governments that make more less likely? And we’re not sure we’re even spending enough money on the military and war in the first place?
It makes me wonder if the translations of the Bible those other folks are reading are just WILDLY different than the TNIV I usually read. My love for Jesus compels me to care for the poor and needy and unemployed, both in my own country and around the world. My love for Jesus compels me to care passionately about God’s creation, desiring to treat it with the respect I’d treat anything I borrowed from a friend, and to preserve it so it can be enjoyed by future generations. My love for Jesus compels me to believe that even my nation’s enemies are my God’s children, and to oppose all violence and war. And if I were to be making my nation’s budget based on what I know about Jesus, I’d be cutting spending on violence and war, and increasing spending to help the most vulnerable among us, particularly during a global recession.
*Edited to add: of course I understand that many Evangelicals make care for the poor a private concern, and think that if the Church did its job, the government wouldn’t need to step in. But, when this polling data so clearly demonstrates support for militarism, I have to wonder if the public/private concern is really the issue here, and not just some really whacked out priorities.