What should Congress cut?
According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, American Evangelicals are most likely to favor reducing funding for the following items in the federal budget:
- Aid to the world’s poor
- Health care
- Scientific research
- Aid to U.S. poor
In each of these cases, Evangelicals were more likely than non-Evangelicals to favor spending cuts. At the same time, Evangelicals were considerably more likely than non-Evangelicals to favor increases in military spending.
I’m all in favor of some serious cuts in the federal budget, but what does it say about American Evangelicalism when the number one item we would slash funding for is “aid to the world’s poor?”
Note: my question is not, “Should government be involved in humanitarian foreign aid?” but more along the lines of “Why do Evangelicals view governmental humanitarian foreign aid as of such a low priority?”
Article in Christianity Today: Polling Evangelicals: Cut Aid to World’s Poor, Unemployed
Grace and Peace
3 thoughts on “Spending priorities”
It reflects the nexus between Evangelicalism and the Republican Party. The numbers would be even more skewed if we left out Black Evangelical churches. Of course, Evangelicals are also more likely to give to organizations like World Vision, so there may be a preference for private charity. The problem is that private charity is not meeting the number of people in the world whose basic needs are not being met, and the tax dollars going to meet these needs would not be supplanted by private giving if the money was back in our hands via a tax cut.
Have these American Evangelicals heard of the bloke Jesus?
Unfortunately those results don’t surprise me. Evangelicals value self-reliance (sort of the Protestant work ethic taken too far) and think many government programs encourage dependence on handouts (aid to poor, unemployment, health care). They value capitalism — let the markets sort things out (health care, environment, scientific research). They also know the man without God is totally depraved, so we certainly need government to protect us from all the evil out there.
It is too bad polls can’t be essay tests. For instance, why cut aid to the world’s poor? Because it has no value add for the US? Because the government aid is perceived as being inefficient and misguided? Because government aid often comes with strings attached that Christians object to (e.g. funds abortions)? Because it should be the job of the church (and me) to help the world’s poor, not government? A breakdown along those lines would be very enlightening.