Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said today on MSNBC that the religious community needs to be more involved in sparing entitlement programs from cuts.

“What really surprises me — and I don’t want to get involved in controversy, is the absence of our spiritual community on these issues. I can’t for the life of me see how Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and education are Democratic issues. They’re humane issues. It’s what the country is about,” said the congressman, who won re-election with more than 90 percent of the vote earlier this month.

“And whether you’re Catholic or Protestant, Jew or gentile, it seems to me that this is a fight for America to protect those things that makes us different from other countries,” he said.

Rangel decried arguments of letting the private sector step in as not having “any place in our society.”

“Let capitalism do what they want, but let America take care of its sick and its aging,” he said.

Rangel did acknowledge, though, that Medicare “has to be reviewed,” but branded the looming fiscal cliff an “emergency situation.”

“If we gotta reform the tax system, we can’t do it between now and the end of the year. And that’s where most of the problems are going to exist,” he said. “If we’re going to improve Obamacare, we can’t do it this year.”

“I think there’s enough for the American people not just to get fed up; that’s the easy way out. Fed up. Don’t vote. Curse the Congress,” Rangel said. “Participate. Call, and tell them, tell us, ‘Get off the dime. You’re paying our salaries, and our pensions,’ at my age, I might add. So you might as well get your money’s worth, and insist that we produce.”