CNN 'Belief Blog' Hypes Ad by Liberal Christian Group Asking 'What Would Jesus Cut?'
Imagine that Pat Robertson or Dr. James Dobson took out a full-page ad in a mainstream media publication hinting that Jesus himself is squarely behind the Republicans' efforts to curb spending and curtail the size and scope of the federal government.
The media would certainly cover the interesting theological and political claims at hand but they'd also be certain to cite apolitical and/or liberal Christian thinkers who would decry the crass and cynical exploitation of Christ for political matters upon which Scripture is silent, such as the U.S. federal budget.
Yet when it came to the liberal group Sojourners asking "What Would Jesus Cut" in an ad in today's Politico, CNN's Belief Blog failed to report the objections of concerns that conservative Christians and apolitical Christian theologians would raise
From Dan Gilgoff's Feb. 28 CNN.com Belief Blog post (emphasis mine):
A coalition of progressive Christian leaders has taken out a full-page ad that asks “What would Jesus cut?” in Monday’s edition of Politico, the opening salvo in what the leaders say will be a broader campaign to prevent cuts for the poor and international aid programs amid the budget battle raging in Washington.
“They’re talking about cutting bed nets for malaria and leaving every piece of military spending untouched,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, who leads the Christian group Sojourners, referring to Republican spending proposals for the rest of this year.
“Are we saying that every piece of military equipment is more important than bed nets, children’s health and nutrition for low-income families?” said Wallis, whose group paid for Monday’s ad. “If so they should be ashamed of themselves.”
The ad and the broader campaign are aimed mostly at a spending measure passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives that cuts $61 billion from current spending levels, including cuts to Head Start, the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program and international aid programs.
“The most corrupt government spending is military spending,” Wallis said. “Its cost overruns, outdated weapons systems, welfare checks to military contractors.”
“This is a biblical choice of swords into plowshares directly and the House Republicans want to beat our ploughshares into more swords," he said. "These priorities that they’re offering are not just wrong or unfair, they’re unbiblical.”
The only opposing point of view CNN.com's Dan Gilgoff quoted was that of Speaker John Boehner, and that briefly at the end of his Feb. 28 post:
On Sunday, Boenher gave a speech that framed the government’s mounting debt as a moral issue.
"We have a moral responsibility to address the problems we face. That means working together to cut spending and rein in government - not shutting it down," Boehner said. "This is very simple: Americans want the government to stay open, and they want it to spend less money. We don't need to shut down the government to accomplish that."
Boehner's remarks were included in a speech he delivered to the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention in Nashville.