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Religious Left Chafes at Federal Spending Cuts

"These clergy seem to think only endlessly expanding Big Government can bring justice." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- As President Obama and Congress negotiate possible federal spending limits before raising the debt limit, Religious Left officials like Jim Wallis are gathering support from 5,000 clergy in an open letter calling for "a moral budget." Set to run in a Washington, D.C. newspaper on July 13, the proclamation deploys spiritual language to demand Congress protect favored federal social programs.

The effort follows an April Lenten fast and "circle of protection" campaigns by liberal religious officials to protest proposed limits on domestic and international aid programs.

"There are changes that can be made or efficiencies that can be found, but every day we see what government can do," the letter proclaims. "We believe that God is calling us to pray, fast, give alms, and to speak out for justice."

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

    "This letter cites Jesus Christ but seems to assume all good things originate from a less heavenly source: Washington, D.C. bureaucracy.

    "These clergy might instead ask whether all federal poverty programs actually help the poor and how future generations will survive under endless debt and higher taxes.

    "Calling for 'shared sacrifice,' these clergy don't seem to expect sacrifice from Big Government. They admit small business and job growth are essential to prosperity but oppose reforms and limits on government required for markets to grow.

    "These clergy seem to think only endlessly expanding Big Government can bring justice."

The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.