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Because Christians tend to pay almost exclusive attention to relatively few (albeit important) issues, they often ignore other important policies. The passions of Religious Right flair on issues of social morality and abortion, but they rarely think about issues of economic justice. The Scriptures, especially through prophets, give a more balanced picture. The interests of Religious Left are centered more tightly around fate of poor.
But their policy attentions in that realm are relatively narrow, focusing mostly on welfare and foreign aid. Pragmatism would seem to warrant discussion of a wider set of issues. Christian Libertarians are excited about voluntary displays of charity, but saddened that political shenanigans can so easily swamp efforts of ompassionate people.
All that said, care for poor and oppressed is not a strictly Christian exercise. And very few people-Christian or not-are informed about primary and secondary consequences of significant policy issues. Although Southeast Christian Church can be pleased and honored to pay part of Uncle Sam's tax bill for Sri Lankans, perhaps all of us should pay more attention to larger issues of trade protectionism and mechanics of economic justice.
Eric Schansberg Professor of Economics Indiana University Southeast author of Turn Neither to the Right nor to the Left: A Thinking Christian's Guide to Politics and Public Policy