National Debt as a Biblical Issue: Did Selfishness Lead to Giant Deficit?

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"We're already hearing, as we did during the State of the Union address, that the worst of this is over," Beck shared in February 2010. "They'll start pointing to the GDP growth in the fourth quarter of around 5.7 percent as proof that they have fixed the problem. But they haven't. They haven't spent two-thirds of the stimulus money yet because they're saving it for election season this fall. The Democrats need it to look like our economic problems have been solved."

Beck could not be reached for comment.

"They weren't asking these questions while George Bush had been in office," said Campolo, who pointed out that Bill Clinton left a surplus of billions of dollars. "It's almost as if this is brand new."

Campolo agreed with McCormack that the national debt is not only an issue for Democrats, Republicans or evangelicals. But if evangelicals cite Scripture as a basis for cutting spending to decrease the debt, Campolo said, they should also examine what other parts of Hebrew Scripture they should obey, including forgiving the debts of others.

The Year of Jubilee

"In the 25th chapter of Leviticus, Scripture demands that every 50 years all debts are canceled," said Campolo, describing what is known as the Year of Jubilee. "If you want to use Old Testament to make your case and apply Scriptures, you have to apply them down the line."

Jim Wallis, founder and editor of the progressive evangelical magazine Sojourners, said he hopes Christians take an active stance politically on behalf of the poor. He said thousands of supporters have sent e-mails to Congress asking, "What Would Jesus Cut?" a reference to the popular question, "What Would Jesus do?"

"Excessive deficits are indeed a moral issue, but how we got into this deficit and how we now address it are also moral concerns," said Wallis. "Budgets are moral documents. They reveal where our priorities lie as a nation. To protect the rich instead of the poor in the name of deficit reduction is immoral."

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