In a post earlier this week, I speculated on what would happen if churches were to shut their doors. If you missed it, you can click here.
At a recent meeting, I was asked by a reporter to ponder the moral implications of a true government shutdown. I was given an opportunity to think and write about it. Here is how I responded to the question:
A: Although temporarily suspending “non-essential” government functions would have inconvenienced millions of Americans, a closure of that nature doesn’t create a major moral conundrum. In fact, the most serious moral implications are not found in the shutdown, but in the factors leading to or initiating the shutdown itself.
It is the responsibility of Congress to pursue a budget that simultaneously does two primary things: maximize the common good, as appropriate in a Constitutional republic – and within a fiscal range that compels the nation to live within its means.
There is an old adage that suggests if you really want to know what a person cares about, don’t pay attention to what they say, but instead what they spend their money on. To be sure, a person’s checkbook is a reflection of what and who they care about. A nation’s budget is a similar representation and expression of its priorities.
In the pursuit of the common good, moral imperatives demand that lawmakers invest in policies and programs that protect and defend its most vulnerable and innocent. This is why I so strongly support our country investing in the preservation and protection of life at every stage, from the pre-born to the elderly. And this is precisely why I am categorically opposed to public funds going to any organization that either directly or indirectly supports, facilitates or performs abortions or any other procedure that compromises or diminishes the sanctity of human life.
Regarding fiscal responsibility, any family knows that it’s unwise to spend money it doesn’t have – yet our lawmakers have made a habit of doing just that for many, many years. Piling deficit upon deficit by simply printing more money is a two-pronged attack on the American family. First, it inevitably saddles future generations with mountains of debt – and devalues (through inflation) the hard-earned money many moms and dads have been saving for things like that first house and a child’s college education.
This latest budgetary battle has been resolved, but larger ones loom around the corner. Analysts suggest Friday’s compromise was over billions – the next will be over trillions. But the debate is about far more than money. It’s about ideas and priorities and the moral compass of a nation. It remains to be seen whether or not Congress’ 2012 budget will reflect what the majority of Americans believe and what our founding ideals were based upon, specifically a commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.