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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Churches v. Texas Cuts

In our textbook, we explain that religious groups have long been active across the political spectrum. One current example comes from Texas, where church groups are mobilizing against state budget cuts. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

Similar efforts are occurring nationally, as some progressive Christian groups have unveiled "What Would Jesus Cut?" campaigns against proposed reductions to the federal budget.

Jim Wallis, president of the Sojourners, a progressive Christian group, has called on people of all faiths to fast in protest, saying budget proposals cross a moral line because "we are moving from neglecting the poor to targeting the poor."

Religious political activism occurs in cycles throughout U.S. history, said Jim Riddlesperger, a professor of political science at Texas Christian University.

There are times "when it is very active and times when it is kind of quiet."

In general, the groups that are now active tend to be more left-leaning and concerned with social injustice, he said. Conservative Christian organizations more often focus on issues relating to social behavior, like abortion and prayer in school.

"Right now, there is an agenda in government to cut spending because of limited resources," Riddlesperger said. "When you begin to make cuts that start impacting people, you expect those from more liberal denominations to be more plugged in."