The Death of Compassionate Conservatism

This paragraph from Jim Willis and, of Sojourners, concerning the proposed budget cuts before the House and the death of the idea of “Compassionate Conservatism:”

The House is scheduled to begin debate tomorrow on its budget bill, which includes $54 billion in cuts. On the table are cuts of $9.5 billion in Medicaid – by requiring co-pays for pregnant women and children for the first time; $8 billion in foster care, child support enforcement, and aid to the disabled; and $844 million in the Food Stamps Program, which would prevent 300,000 people from receiving food stamps. Forty thousand children would be cut from reduced-price school lunches. Lawmakers intend to follow these with a further cut of $70 billion in taxes that will primarily benefit the top 3% of taxpayers. The message from Congress is that in response to Hurricane Katrina, we’re going to cut services for the poor, cut taxes for the rich, and increase deficits for our children and grandchildren.

Moderation in all Things

I grew up in the Foursquare Gospel Church for most of my developmental years, after a short and irregular stint in the United Methodist Church. I am glad I grew up in this tradition, although there were the same problems inherent in all organizations.
One of the tenets of the Foursquare Church is “Moderation in all things.” I never really thought much about this growing up – frankly, I never even knew there was such a thing as a list of tenets for the church. In my adult years, however, thinking about this very simply statement of intent and believe causes me to pause as I look at what our country and government have become.
None of the vises and proclivities we recognize and find ourselves in this country is new. They are the same things humans have fought and wrestled with from the beginning, yet some of these things without question work counter to good societies, good environments for children, and for peaceable and fruitful living as individuals, families, and communities.
I was thinking this week about greed. We know that our economic system, Capitalism, is based on a form of greed. Greed run amok is counter, however, to a civil and altruistic society. We can see that even in this country the line between barbarism and civil society is thin and becoming thinner. Greed – for money, for fame, for advancement, for attention, for love, for sex, for altered states/drugs, for crass selfishness – greed is destroying society, culture, and communities, aside from the most profound destruction that takes place in the human spirit.
I do not see anything inherently wrong in the above, except perhaps for self-centered selfishness, but when we become greedy for any of them we stray into excess even to the point were we destroy ourselves, our families, and our communities to fulfill our greedy desire and want.
By practicing the disciple of “Moderation in all things,” we can avoid the illicit and alluring call of greed.