(Photo: AP /Mark Humphrey)
NASHVILLE - House Speaker John Boehner told Christian media leaders Sunday that the national debt is a moral threat to the country.
Speaking at the Media Leadership Dinner at this year's National Religious Broadcasters Convention, Boehner referred to the nation's $14.1 trillion debt as America's “Sputnik moment” - the moment that shocks the nation.
"Yes, this debt is a mortal threat to our country. It is also a moral threat," said the Ohio Republican.
"It is immoral to bind our children to as leeching and destructive a force as debt. It is immoral to rob our children’s future and make them beholden to China. No society is worthy that treats its children so shabbily."
In addition to citing statistics that show a child born today in the United States inherits $45,000 in debt to make his case, Boenher, a Christian, also cited the Bible.
"A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, as Proverbs reminds us."
Boehner spoke against more taxes and more regulations, saying that as the government gets bigger the people get smaller. He said the government's borrowing money also creates a cycle of dependency between the government and the people. He also noted how "cold" automated process by which government uses to borrow money within a matter of minutes doesn't befit the moral danger the nation faces.
Boehner’s comments come as the House and Senate are looking to agree on a temporary spending measure to avert a government shutdown. The House has passed legislation that would keep the government running through October, but the Senate has refused to allow a vote on the legislation, he said.
The House Speaker said representatives are working on a shorter term bill that would keep the government running while including reasonable spending cuts at the same time.
"They won't eat the whole loaf at one time. We will make them eat it one slice at a time," said Boehner.
He urged religious broadcasters to speak on the national debt issue on their programs in the same way they have stood up for family principles in the past.
"America needs to hear the truth and they need to hear it from you," he said.
Earlier in his speech, Boehner spoke about freedom – which he called a "God-given right" – and the freedom of expression, as being under attack by Federal Communications Commission regulations such as the Net Neutrality and the Fairness Doctrine.
He said Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is working to block net neutrality while Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana proposed a bill that would prevent the FCC from regulating political speech on the airwaves.
In his concluding remarks, Boehner asked religious broadcasters to pray for Israel's peace and stability, that religious minorities in Iraq may witness God's unconditional love without persecution, for President Obama and other U.S. representatives that they may serve wisely, and for unemployed Americans.
Many prominent evangelical Christian leaders attended the event including Frank Wright, president and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters; James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family who now heads Family Talk; and Joni Eareckson Tada of Joni and Friends; among others.