Acton Institute Powerblog

The Religious Left Offers Advice to McCain and Obama

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Mark Tooley pens another brilliant critique of the latest endeavors of the religious left in this piece titled “God’s Welfare State” in FrontPage Magazine. The commentary is a response marked with reason and clarity to left-leaning interfaith groups who are calling for more government programs and initiatives to tackle poverty. Tooley also notes in his piece that the signers of the letter calling for Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama to address their party conventions with a ten year plan to end poverty, are the usual suspects who equate “The federal welfare state with God’s Kingdom.” Tooley always seems to have a knack at getting to the heart of the issue, and he concludes by simply noting:

The left-leaning religious officials, guided by 100 years of statist Social Gospel, want to wage a government-led coercive struggle against “poverty” in the abstract. But most of their religious traditions express God’s love for specific poor people, while emphasizing voluntary and relational charity towards the needy. This historic stance of these religions towards the poor understandably has less appeal to the Religious Left, which often is more preoccupied with political power than with concrete compassion.

Ray Nothstine Ray Nothstine is Associate Editor at the Acton Institute, and Managing Editor of Religion & Liberty. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford. Before coming to Acton, Ray worked as a free-lance writer for several organizations, including the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He gained ministry experience in churches in Mississippi and Kentucky. After college, he also served on the staff of U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor (D-Miss) in Gulfport in 2001-02. The son of a retired Air Force pilot, Ray has also lived in Okinawa, Philadelphia, New England, Hawaii, and Egypt.


  • Tracy

    I definitely agree with the artcle’s point that the political candidates are only interested in the political power winning the votes of the nation from their global solution to proverty views. However, I do support the goverment addressing the problem in reducing povery. This issue needs to be addressed whether we end up spending money or not. There are so many children who lack the basic needs in poor countries and including the United States. I think specifically we need to come up with a plan to reduce poverty in this U.S. and Globally. I definitely know this is a difficult problem, but substantial measures from spending money for “Free Trade products” or providing money to end debt in poor countries, can reduce debt in order for poor countries to develop freely to trade goods or create wealth including education, health care and shelter.
    I definitely know that the Faith Based and religious organizations are realize the funds/resources must come from large majority vote from the government to win the war on global poverty.