Nicholas Kristof's New York Times Sunday column praised John Stott, who died last week. That was good. Kristof also used the death to attack his usual suspects, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, and to praise liberal evangelicals Rich Cizik and Jim Wallis.
Stott, of course, was all about the gospel. He rightly didn't put politics first, and I'm tired of evangelicals who get more excited about politics than the gospel. I'm also tired of Wallis's Sojourners, which claims biblical warrant for welfare spending that helps posturing politicians but not the poor.
A year ago Sojourners was embarrassed when WORLD and others publicized its record of funding from George Soros, Barbra Streisand, and others who don't exactly have the gospel at heart. Nevertheless, Sojourners has been running down the field this year largely unopposed in its claim to represent evangelicals.
That's why I'm glad a new group, Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE), is today scheduled to send a letter to President Barack Obama that sets the record straight. (I signed it.) The letter states, "Although they claim to speak for 'the faith community,' it needs to be clear that Jim Wallis and the 'Circle of Protection' do not speak for all Christians. However laudable their intention, the consequence of their action is to provide a religious imprimatur for big government and sanctify federal welfare programs that are often ineffective-even counterproductive."
The letter continues, "We do not need to 'protect programs for the poor.' We need to protect the poor themselves. . . . We believe the poor of this generation and generations to come are best served by policies that promote economic freedom and growth, that encourage productivity and creativity in every able person, and that wisely steward our common resources for generations to come."
The CASE letter argues that skyrocketing federal debt is a moral problem, and notes that "all Americans-especially the poor-are best served by sustainable economic policies for a free and flourishing economy. When creativity and entrepreneurship are rewarded, the yield is an increase of productivity and generosity."