LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - U-B's pastor column misused for political views

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It was a flagrant misuse of the U-B's religion page and pastor column to have allowed Rev. Koonz to publish his totally partisan political views on the national budget debate in that position.

His biased and uninformed political statement (is there anything in it but politics?) could be accepted as a personal point of view if it were printed among letters in Our Readers' Opinions. However, to have presented his long arguments in the forum and with the stature it received on the Sunday religion page was completely unworthy of your editorial objectivity.

Any well-informed and fair-minded person could present a counter-argument against his narrow opinion that justice lies on the side of those who oppose tax increases in the current national budget debate.

I find no biblical authority whatever for those priorities, only the voice of conservative economic theory. Taxes are theft? Come on now, is that the new golden rule? I believe the true spirit of that universal rule is more closely reflected in a belief that taxes make it possible for us to "do unto others as we would have them do unto us."

With fair taxation we can provide for the public good, as well as charity for the poor and vulnerable among us. That sounds more like justice to me.

I might refer to the powerful moral vision of President Obama, a progressive Christian, in his April 2011 speech "The Country We Live In," advocating his economic policy. The president spoke straight to the heart of American democracy in calling for justice for all by working toward a more equitable distribution of income.

If Rev. Koontz and his conservative allies aren't paying any attention to President Obama, then they should at least heed this month's "Circle of Protection" (see The Hill's Congress Blog July 17), a declaration of moral budget priorities signed by over 4,000 pastors nationwide from over 50 Christian denominations and organizations.

In calling for protection of programs for the poor, those pastors agree on eight principles for ethical (read "just") decision-making. They include "protecting and improving poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance ..." and budget discussions that "review and consider tax revenues, military spending and entitlements in the search for ways to share sacrifice and cut deficits."

That is what would truly be in the interest of my children and grandchildren, much more than preventing the alleged tax code "stealing" from future generations that concerns Pastor Koonz.

Jonathan Webster

Walla Walla

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