The Norman Transcript

Opinion

November 1, 2012

Some perspective required

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

There are times when our religious convictions and our secular obligations come into conflict. This is not one of those times.

The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers, has denied “all bloody principles and practices” for more than 350 years— “all outward wars, and strife, and fightings with outward weapons for any end or under any pretense whatsoever” (Communication of George Fox and others to King Charles II of England, 1660).

In the United States, we call these outward wars — namely Iraq and Afghanistan — part of our “overseas contingency operations.” This fiscal year (October 2011 to September 2012), those conflicts will cost the United States $115 billion.

As Quakers, we call on the United States to lay down its weapons and do “that which tends to the peace of all.”

As Americans, we echo that call in the name of fiscal responsibility.

Our ungodly commitment to bloody principles and practices has gone hand-in-hand with our unsustainable commitment to spending beyond our means.

No nation — East or West, religious or secular, ancient or modern — can perpetually spend far more than it collects in taxes.

Our nation’s lawmakers continue to act as though immune to this law. This fiscal year, the United States will spend $3.8 trillion but collect just $2.5 trillion. This will only swell a national debt that currently stands at $15.7 trillion.

Some perspective is required here. Imagine a person carrying $157,000 in debt, with $25,000 in yearly income. Now imagine that person spending $38,000 in one year despite those numbers.

America is that person.

Laying down our weapons will not solve these problems. In truth, it represents but a fraction of the belt-tightening that is required, joined with other fiscal measures. And yet, this is a course we can and must pursue.

The divine imperative to seek peace and the secular obligation to balance our books are not at odds: in fact the first is a necessary step toward the second. Indeed, with targeted spending cuts, we can — in a single stroke — “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

We respectfully recommend this course to Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma’s delegation to the House of Representatives, all of their peers in Congress and President Barack Obama.

Norman Friends Meeting

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