Friday, April 1, 2011

Ceçi n'est pas un April Fool's Joke

There are things on which people of good will can disagree while continuing to respect each other. Here are some:

1. Whether, in the wake of the recent disasters in Japan, we should continue to pursue nuclear power as an alternative to burning oil and coal.

2. Whether our recent actions in Libya were necessary to prevent a massacre, and whether they actually worked.

3. Whether the extremely rich should be taxed at a higher rate than they are now, or whether they deserve to keep nearly all of what they make.

4. Whether health care is a right and should be regarded as such.

5. Whether rights like those granted by the Second Amendment should be construed broadly or narrowly.

I could go on, but you get the idea. If you've been reading this blog, you probably know how I would argue most of these questions. Or maybe you don't. If you disagree with me, though, that doesn't mean I'll lose my respect for you. I hope you won't lose your respect for me either.

There are things, however, about which there is no room for disagreement. While no issue is ever completely black and white, the line between good and evil may be so clear that no-one with an ounce of moral sensitivity should be able to mistake it. Here is one such issue.

• Whether a budget that cuts services that are literally vital to the poorest, most vulnerable members of a society while allowing its very, very, very wealthiest citizens to become even wealthier is immoral.

There are no two positions on this question. The budget that the Congressional majority is proposing is a violation of human decency. It is wrong. No country with its morals intact could pass such a budget.

That's it. You can fill in the rest.


  1. I agree that the first 5 are subject to healthy debate by good people on both sides. I'm actually debating within myself on each one of these questions. I don't think I can come to a conclusion without more information. As for the budget cuts -- I don't know anything at all about what Congress is doing these days. The situation you mentioned makes me sick to my stomach. Our country needs a lot of prayer. It's a dark time in history. When will the tide turn to civility, honesty, generosity and compassion? Have we forgotten everything our grandparents knew about nobility and duty?
    Dr. Wallace, you've taught me a lot. Thank you. I prize what I've gained from reading your blog and witnessing your actions.

  2. Thanks so much, Nanette, for your kind words. You might find this column from the New York Times earlier this week illuminating. I'm trying to nerve myself up to join in the fast. This is the killer statement for me:

    "Though [David] Beckmann is too kind to say it, he and many other religious leaders believe that true worship can’t take place without joining this struggle: 'You can’t have real religion,' he told me, 'unless you work for justice for hungry and poor people.”

    "I don’t think you can have much humanity, either."

  3. BTW, I want to make one other thing clear. I believe in private charity. I give thousands of dollars each year to my church. I sponsor a child in the Philippines through Compassion International, and also give hundreds of dollars to their child survival program in Haiti. I donate regularly to local food banks and other local charities. I work with a community organization that provides faith-based legal services to the poor in McLennan county, and have helped raise thousands of dollars to support their work. I give blood every few months. I could go on with this list as well.

    I am emphatically *not* saying, or even suggesting, that government is the answer to world hunger and economic inequality. I'm not saying that because I don't believe it. That does not alter my perception of the moral deficiency of the budget being proposed in Congress one iota.

  4. Please sign if you agree: