Thursday, April 14, 2005

Update: More on the Bankruptcy Bill

The House will take up the Bankruptcy bill today, which has already passed the Senate. In connection with this, Christianity Today published a short update, typical of the magazine's POV, titled "Debt Buster: Christians Divided Over Federal Bankruptcy Bill".

Speaking against the bill is rising evangelical financial superstar Dave Ramsey (no relation) who calls the bill: " of the worst pieces of legislation to come out of Washington in years. The legislation is based on the lie that most people who file bankruptcy are deadbeats or con artists."

Willing to repeat the lie is Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, a publicly identified Christian, who claims (perhaps while crossing his fingers): "...the bill seeks to hold accountable those who have spent recklessly while preserving the principle of a fresh start for those who are in debt by no fault of their own."

Simply within the frame of the article, the "Christian division" is accounted for by the dueling quotes from Grassley and Ramsey, along with an apparently added on quote from a group of 75 Christian bankruptcy attorneys (which I've posted on before) who have previously opposed the bill as "unbiblical". But the unspoken subtext of the short note is the remarkable fact that any self-identified Evangelical such as Ramsey is willing to break lockstep with what the Republicans want. And a more obvious subtext is that "Christian" means "Evangelical" because most liberal Christian groups and Catholics have been vocally opposed to the measure, and they get no mention.

There is a further irony here in the use of Grassley as a spokesperson for the divide among Christians, in that the Senator has said that biblical principles cannot be applied here. In response to an open from the Christian attorneys cited above, Grassley said: "I can't listen to Christian lawyers because I would be imposing the Bible on a diverse population..."

As they say here in the blog world - "Heh".

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