Saturday, February 19, 2011

And, once again, I despair for American Christianity

So Evangelical Christians' top three choices for federal budget cuts are aid to the world's poor, unemployment benefits, and environmental spending. They were also more likely than non-Evangelicals to favor increased military spending. This is yet more proof that American Christianity has become completely disconnected from the teaching of Jesus and enslaved to conservative politics.

As the slacktivist points out, it's not only proof of Evangelicals' "politics of spite", it's proof that they don't know what they're talking about. Humanitarian aid is a tiny sliver of discretionary spending and discretionary spending is a small part of the total budget.

I'll let him have the last word:

The combination of stupidity, selfishness and resentment for resentment's sake here is an unholy abomination that makes me want to scream and throw things. And I would, if I thought screaming and throwing things would help get through to these folks, but at this point I have no idea what would get through to them. Neither facts nor faith seem to matter to them at all.


  1. Another way to look at it:

    The fact that they don't want someone else reaching into their wallets doesn't entail that they are against spending money on these things. The reason they favor defense spending is they see it as something the state must do on their behalf. I happen to think they're wrong on that point, as I don't see any necessary role for the state myself, but that's another question.

  2. It's true that conservatives are generally more charitable than liberals, but conservative giving tends to be toward religious causes. The fact of the matter is that giving to help the poor is weak overall.

  3. But your point seemed to be that somehow evangelicals had become worse than the going rate in the culture. And you chose as a measuring stick only one kind of aid, collective aid, somehow assuming that if they were against this they must be against all aid.

    Maybe we need to construct a test case for this. Perhaps relief aid for Haiti. Here is the data:

    Private aid was much higher than public aid. This is a different model for helping people and it is not theoretical. It actually functions.

  4. Jeremy,

    I'm with you on defense spending. Evangelicals are far too trusting of the military.

    On the other hand, it strikes me as is a bit simplistic to equate distrust of government anti-poverty programs, which certainly merit criticism in some cases, with an a lack of caring for the poor. Also, much if not most poverty in America is caused by the breakdown of the family. And it is conservatives and not progressives who have sought to fight that. Progressives often ignore the issue altogether. As this sad article on education and teen pregnancy notes, government spending isn't necessarily the issue:


  5. Rick: Government aid to Haiti is tied up due to political concerns.

    Rick and Bronson: I understand that not supporting government anti-poverty programs does not equate not caring about the poor. I have more graphs (hooray!) and another post in the works that may explain where I'm coming from here. You'll both have to be patient until I have time to write it. ;)


About Me

I'm Rachel's husband and Darcy's daddy. I'm a Hoosier, an accountant, and an Episcopalian. Politically, I'm a progressive who believes in the preferential option for the poor. I use the blog as a sort of journal - to interact with my reading and sketch out ideas.