Oregon’s Measure 30 is drawing national attention. The question before Oregonians is pretty simple: will the voters raise taxes to help erase a budget deficit or allow massive cuts in health care programs and other services for the poor and elderly?
Christians have a special responsibility to speak up on such issues. Jesus’ ministry was filled with calls for social justice that would lift up the poor. Through Jesus and the prophets of the Old Testament we know that God is upset with those who put their own interests ahead of the least of these.
It is obvious that Christians of good faith can have different opinions on tax policies and ballot measures. We can legitimately argue over the right path that lifts people out of poverty. But I do not believe Christians can legitimately vote to abandon health care programs for the poor and services for the elderly. It just doesn’t seem like something Jesus would do.
Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth, so as not to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain? For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still.
- Isaiah 10: 1-5 (NRSV)