A newly formed organization of black clergy has lashed out at supporters of the so-called 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, providing a graphic illustration of liberal America's favorite target -- the mixing of church and state.
According to The Conference of National Black Churches (said to represent nine of the largest historically black denominations with 30 million people and more than 50,000 churches in America and worldwide), the tax cuts are to be extended without any evidence that they helped the economy.
In a letter the pastors wrote: "Based on our prophetic responsibility to speak to those in power on behalf of the poor, underserved, and vulnerable, we find it utterly shameful that those who insisted that the deficit be reduced, now celebrate billions of dollars being added to the deficit as tax cuts for the wealthy. Sadly, the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy are being proposed without any serious evidence that they created jobs when they were in effect over the past several years."
That's their opinion, which many economists dispute, and they are entitled to express it as individual Americans, even when most studies show they are mistaken in the belief that the tax cuts failed to boost the economy as both the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts proved decisively.
That, however, is not what's at stake here. The real issues with which the black clergymen need to be concerned are well out of the political realm. They are, instead, centered on the serious problems that exist within the black community and cry out for church-based solutions.
Concentrating on an issue of little, if any, concern of the average black churchgoer, these pastors ignore some very unpleasant realities of life within their own black community. The pastors should direct their moral outrage at such facts as:
* Some 1,500 unborn black babies in the U.S. are being slaughtered in abortions every day;
* That black children in Kenya are getting a better education than those in the U.S.;
* That some 40 million children in the U.S. -- count 'em, 40 million -- go to bed every night without a father in their homes;
* That countless numbers of babies in their communities are being born out of wedlock;
* That, if the so-called "rich" are forced to pay even more in taxes to help the poor than they now shell out, who would not excuse them if they conclude that by so doing they have already fulfilled their moral responsibilities to help the poor and the sick?
These clergymen need to be reminded of Christ's admonition to the religious figures of His day when he called the hypercritical among them a "brood of vipers" for failing to do God's work, and instead, being immersed in secular life and pursuits.
I'm not suggesting that clack clergy should avoid commenting on political issues when those issues clearly involve matters dealing with faith and morals. Abortion is not merely a political issue that divides Americans -- it is a deeply moral issue concerned with a human being's divinely ordained right to life. It is an issue of supreme importance. It takes precedence over all other issues. A black pastor, who fails to defend the right to life from the very beginning, is a pastor who fails to live up to his responsibility to obey the laws of God and the laws of nature.
Nor am I suggesting that black pastors -- nor the pastors of any Christian sect, for that matter -- should be barred from commenting on issues that happen to involve both faith and politics. In that context, the matter of the renewal of the Bush tax cuts clearly lacks a moral basis. It's 100 percent a political matter and of concern merely to Marxists -- the most secular of all believers -- and not to men of the cloth.
It was, after all, a politician, Vice President Biden, who raised the tax-cut issue to the moral plane when he called giving tax cuts to the alleged wealthy "morally troubling."
Michael Reagan is the elder son of President Ronald Reagan and a political consultant. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. E-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.