Rangel: What would Jesus do on the debt talks?
July 8th, 2011
05:08 PM ET
7 years ago

Rangel: What would Jesus do on the debt talks?

Washington (CNN) - Veteran Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel made an impassioned plea to religious leaders Friday, calling on them to lobby members of Congress and the Obama administration to remember the "lesser of my brothers and sisters" during this weekend's debt negotiations.

"What would Jesus do this weekend? Or Moses. Or Allah. Or anyone else," the New York congressman said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "I don't want this book (debt negotiations) closed without the clergy having an opportunity to forcefully express themselves as well as I know they can do."

Top congressional leaders and the White House have been steeped in contentious negotiations over raising the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.Treasury Department officials, along with top economists, warn that a failure to raise the limit by August 2 could lead to a global economic crisis and dire consequences for the U.S., including skyrocketing interest rates and a falling dollar.

Rangel said he was stumped as to why Washington wouldn't be "besieged by spiritual leaders saying 'do what you have to do - but not to the homeless, the jobless and the helpless. Not to the sick. And certainly not to the aging that are sick or those depending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.'"

"I have not heard from those people who have been called by God to protect the poor. I haven't heard them," he said. "The issues that are going to be discussed this weekend involve spiritual, moral issues."

And Rangel's plea to the poor and helpless? Call your religious leaders and ask, "what is Medicare all about? What is Medicaid all about? Why do
we have taxes?'"

Filed under: Charlie Rangel • Debt
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Bill from GA

    I'm sure JC would increase the funding for the Military, like the House repugs just did.


    July 8, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. sue

    God said that when we get to Heaven we will see people that we never thought would be there (the homless man with mental illness seeking some money on the street corner, he'll be there) but he said the one's that we thought for sure would be there will nowhere be found (the rich, greedy man seeking fame and fortune, not helping the less fortunate, all the while proclaiming they are christrians.........these so called christians that seem to thing they know what is right, you won't see a one of them there........

    July 8, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Bob S Philadelphia, Pa

    This guy got caught stealing and he is worried about what JESUS would do ! He's a freakin crook what a piece of garbage he is

    July 8, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Dan

    I don't know Charlie, what would Jesus have done on his tax returns the last decade? Seems you're not exactly in tune there...

    July 8, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. sue

    Second thought......I sure don't want to see these Republicans there in Heaven because they will want to make sure GOD is a ONE TERM GOD and try to take over Heaven and run it the way they think it should be run........all the while trying to make GOD Fail........have they got a rude awakening........

    July 8, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    The moral thing to do is to not burden future generations of Americans with debt that they will work their lives to try and pay off. And the Republicans have show with the Ryan Plan a way that we can save Medicare and still get a handle on our nation's huge debt load. We do not need to keep raising the debt limit. If we are intelligent we can start lowering it without having to resort to tax increases. It will not be easy but America's future is worth the effort now.

    July 8, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Hey Charlie, I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't cheat on his taxes!

    July 8, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Unfortunately, religion is a convience to get elected and after being elected it's thrown to the wayside until the next election. What would Jesus do is a great question but we must always remember that it is "HE" whose in control and not man.

    July 8, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. Shawn

    Jesus was about the individual not government. Tax Cheat Rangel should be concerned about his own actions, Don't cheat the government out of taxes, give more to charity etc. People working in their own communities and charities will have a much greater impact on the well being of their fellow man than giving more money to a corrupt and inefficient government.

    July 8, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Republican Robber Baron

    Greed along with Gluttony were long considered the worst of all sins by the Church. Nice try Syracuse Mike. Your people are the ones trying to justify the Robber Baron elite and Corporatist getting special tax loopholes...many of whom zero out and don't pay ANY tax. While the middle class see pay the lion share, get no wage increases and have all their entitlements cut.

    July 8, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Finch

    Ok, so if we cut Social Security and Medicare to save the programs. And elderly folks begin dying from malnutrition, hypothermia (because they can't afford heat or air conditioning), or from diseases when they can't afford their care. Who will we have saved Social Security and Medicare for? For younger generations? There is nothing there for them.

    This attitude of "me first, screw the rest of you" is unsustainable as a philosophy and narrow minded as national policy.

    Is there no one to step up and lead this country?

    July 8, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "The moral thing to do is to not burden future generations of Americans with debt that they will work their lives to try and pay off."

    Is that why the GOP handed out massive inequitable tax cuts that favored the ultra-wealthy and corporations in 2001 and 2003 and which are the single biggest cause of the current deficit and debt problems we're currentlyl dealing with? Is that why they did it BEFORE cutting spending so that we wouldn't have the current debt and deficit problems? Is that why they're now arguing that those tax cuts weren't a mistake but that we should instead DOUBLE DOWN on them in order to fix the debt and deficit problems they caused in the first place and that in order to do so we should cut societal safety net programs that heled create and grow the middle class in the first place and help us do our moral duty to at least try to take care of the least among us? Wow. You're so right. If only we could make the rich truly rich enough that they finallyk reach the threshold where they actually don't want to keep any more increases in their wealth and income, then poof...what a holy society we'd be. I suppose you agreed with Orin Hatch's assessment that the poor need to do more to contribute to solving the debt and deficit problems, eh?

    July 8, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

    THAT'S what JC would do ... sounds like a Liberal to me ...

    July 8, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. Frank

    Obama and the Republicans don't give a flip about any God on any kind. Their God in Money and Obama has rolled over on his own base. He is finished as president and will never be reelected to a 2nd term. He is like a cardboard box and collapses at the slightest pressure, already 2 tax breaks for millionaires'? A Democratic president turning on Social Security to cheat the old and dying? He is a complete disgrace to himself and the office he holds. He is disgusting and vile and no longer fit for the office he now holds.

    July 8, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Four .... "The moral thing to do is to not burden future generations of Americans with debt that they will work their lives to try and pay off. "

    Were you posting these when GW Bush was taking the Clinton surplus and turning it into a huge deficit by waging two unfunded wars, cutting taxes during wartime (unprecedented in our nation's history), and pushing through unfunded programs like Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind?

    Just wondering ...

    July 8, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. JEH

    Hey Charlie! What would Jesus do with a man who's a crook?

    July 8, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. b0bc4t

    Jesus probably would NOT have legislated tax law, then ignore his personal resposibility to pay those taxes, and also would NOT claim tax advantages for his "moneychanger" office in a rent controlled apartment, under the guise of "keeping in touch with my constituents" and maintain a "holier than Thou" image all the while, even as his fellow "moneychangers" discredit him for his actions ........ beyond that, I think he would suggest that YOU, Charles Rangel, should put down the stone, rather than cast it against those who are trying to get us to get government spending in check, rather than keep taxing those who are "willing" to pay their FAIR share.

    July 8, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. nintex

    I think Jesus was a Democrat – or at the very least, a left-leaning independent. He only wanted to help the poor, the helpless, the sick; He would have been in favor of Obamacare. The Pharasees were the Biblical Tea Party – greedy, selfish, critical of everything Jesus did and only concerned about themselves and their position, and their main goal was to take Him down. May we all try to be more like Jesus and help those less fortunate.

    July 8, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. The Greedy Old Pigs are fake Christians

    Much as I dislike Rangel, I have to admit he has a point. Christ was about caring for the poor and those in need. The GOBPbaggers care only about helping the filthy rich (which Christ also preached against).

    Simple question for the Greedy Old Pigs (and their teatard supporters here on CNN):

    Average Americans have been forced to make big sacrifices because of the economic collapse. What sacrifices should the wealthy make?

    July 8, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. WDinDallas

    Jesus would say "Repent Charlie, for the time is near."

    July 8, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    WOW! A tax cheat wondering what Jesus would do? Jesus would have paid his tax Charlie and not used rental controlled apartments illegally!! Amazing how the Democrats want tyo keep religion out of government, until of course they think they can use them for their political ends. How absolutely dishonest and disingenuous.

    July 8, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. SecedingfromTexas

    "The moral thing to do is to not burden future generations of Americans with debt that they will work their lives to try and
    pay off.:
    Pretty words but too little, too late. Hide your head in the sand all you want to, but the fact remains, and will forever
    be remembered that the Bush years put us here.
    1. He never vetoed a spending bill for six years that Republicans held Congress.
    2. He strapped us with a minimum $1B monstrosity called the US Embassy in Iraq. The annual cost of this "City
    within a City" is still unknown.
    3. He started two wars with no funding.
    3. He strapped us with a prescription drug plan that is costly.
    4. His tax cuts do not work, in FACT, he created only (and this is generous) 4M jobs in eight years
    5. He pushed the "no child left behind" program, which is a dismal failure
    So, kiss Paul Ryan's ring all you want, we know his Medicare plan will cost seniors 40% more than they are
    now paying. 30% today vs. 70& under his plan.
    No, I will not do your homework for you, you have to look it up, unless "you can't handle the truth".
    We are strapped, but at least President Obama is trying, and all the Republican Tea Party can do walk out of
    meetings (Cantor), say the "major priority is to destroy President Obama" (McConnell), threaten their own
    Congressional candidates or already elected with "pledges". The only pledge that counts is the Pledge of
    Allegiance to America, and that is every American, not just the pitiful Koch brothers.

    July 8, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. Flint Rock

    Rangel has the right message, but he's the wrong messenger.

    July 8, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. Larry L

    I've noticed that every Republican sacred cow is something to help the rich. The Democratic initiatives tend to support the needs of the poor and middle class. I guess the real question is would Jesus fight a class war against the poor?

    July 8, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    It's not the proper role of religious organisations to attempt to affect American policies. If these organisations want to do things for "the homeless, the jobless and the helpless. Not to the sick. And certainly not to the aging that are sick or those depending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," they're perfectly at liberty to do so with their own resources, or resources voluntarily offered by other people. It most certainly is not their prerogative to attempt to influence legislation the net result of which is to force Americans to pay for "entitlements" many think are unwarranted, undeserved, and unearned by those who would rather benefit from the labour of others than to earn their own way in the world.

    July 8, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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