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More on ‘The Moral Bankruptcy Behind the Bailouts’

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“Government budgets are moral documents,” is the often quoted line from Jim Wallis of Sojourners and other religious left leaders. Wallis also adds that “When politicians present their budgets, they are really presenting their priorities.” There is perhaps no better example of a spending bill lacking moral soundness than the current stimulus package being debated in the U.S. Senate.

In my commentary this week, “The Moral Bankruptcy Behind the Bailouts,” I offer clear reasons how spending more does not equate to morality, but quite the opposite in this case.

In fact, among many believers it seems that Christian thrift is lost as a value altogether. We forget how important financial responsibility and thrift was to the entire Christian tradition as important evidence of outward faith and devotion. Jordan Ballor offers some great words in his own commentary last year titled “The Fourth Pillar of the New Economy: Spend all you can:”

The eighteenth-century theologian and pastor John Wesley once preached that we should “earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” Productivity, frugality, and generosity are the core moral virtues that have animated prosperous and free economies in the West for centuries. But now the federal government seemingly wants to add a fourth and conflicting principle to these traditional values: “Spend all you can.”

As for Jim Wallis, not surprisingly he enthusiastically supports the stimulus package, and because of the enormous stakes involved for future generations, this shows a lack of moral judgment and courage on his part. It may also be that Wallis is hesitant to pull his support for this $1 trillion spending bill because he is afraid to go against a President that reminds him of the Prophet Nehemiah.

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. 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.


  • I’ve often wondered what the best biblical proto-type is for the messianic views of Obama that seem to be everywhere nowadays.

    Nehemiah might be a good choice, but I was thinking King Josiah.

  • I have added a link to your post from

    Trillion dollar job creation would make a lot of people rich but will it create jobs

  • Jim Wallis’ idol worship amazes me. He’s got great things to say about how Christians should act in the world… if only he would drop the whole fascist Statism aspect of it. Christianity would have a much better chance of succeeding.

  • Tracy

    I think Jim Wallis and others still think we can solve our nations problem with money from State and Government. Wallis has a vision that the Goverment will use their money wisely to create a better place for underpriviledged, economy, environment and the future of our country. Honestly I thought the goverment handled their money wisely but recently CA lawmakers are burrowing money on project that don’t work well in the past. For example a demoncratic senator wants to borrow a couple million to provide birth control in the state that will prevent babies being born to prevent pollution and harm to the environment in the future. When the outcome is not enough chidren will be able to pay for these expensive bills. Whats ironic is a lot of these senators will be retired within the next five years and not have to pay taxes like their working peers. I am starting to see dismal vision of our future. We need seriously to look at our government expenditures and reevaluate our spending.