The Moral Deficit
As the United States is racking up national debt that surpasses that of any other nation and assures economic crisis, even Dirty Harry has something to say about it. And while the spending spree goes unchecked, the poorest people in American are only getting poorer. In fact, there are now more Americans living in poverty than at any other point in the last 50 years. Both the poverty crisis and the deficit crisis point to a larger justice crisis: The richest 20 percent of Americans are growing wealthier while the country falls more deeply into debt; a debt that our children and grandchildren will have to repay.
Despite Jesus' clear teachings on money ("…what is prized by humans [the love of money] is an abomination in the sight of God"), our society has repeatedly failed to love God, serve the poor, share resources, and reject the consumerism and materialism that mark modern culture. This has created a dramatic moral deficit that must be remedied to ensure the future health of God's people.
To reform our culture of debt and neglect for the most vulnerable among us, churches must disciple their members toward stewardship, justice, and concern for the poor. Families must change their thinking and spending, and businesses must be concerned with long-term community well-being and not just profits.
And governments must play their part, as well. They have the primary responsibility to reverse at least one part of our mad rush to economic disaster—our ever-increasing government debt. Some proposals to ease the economic crisis place much of the burden on the poor. This is simply unacceptable. To reduce our federal debt at the expense of our poorest fellow citizens would be a violation of the biblical teaching that God has a special concern for the poor. Effective programs that prevent hunger and suffering and empower poorer members of society must continue and be adequately funded.
There are a number of ways that you can help ensure a financially secure future for all, from urging your legislators, pastors, and community leaders to sustain programs that help the poor to adopting simple lifestyle changes that will free you and your family to help the most vulnerable members of your community.