April 17, 2013

Faith Leaders Urge Congress & Obama to Stand by Americans

Faithful Budget for FY 2014 demonstrates how federal budget choices can and must reflect America’s shared values

Washington, D.C. -– Church World Service joined a coalition of America’s major national religious organization and leaders on Monday in unveiling the “Faithful Budget for FY 2014” an expression of the faith community’s budget priorities.  The spending proposal stands in stark contrast to the partisan budget proposals currently under consideration. The document is a set of comprehensive and compassionate budget principles that promotes values shared by diverse faiths: protection of the common good, the value of each individual and lifting the burden on those living at the economic margins of society.

“The Faithful Budget recognizes that our lives here in America are inextricably bound together with the lives of all others around the world,” said Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of CWS.  “God’s abundant provision means that there is enough for all, if we act with justice and compassion. As a people, we can be compassionate neighbors creating security and prosperity for ourselves and for all by helping to end hunger and extreme poverty throughout the world.”

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, Network, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby  said “The Faithful Budget reflects our vision of a responsible fiscal plan that focuses on justice and economic opportunity for all.   While ensuring adequate resources through a fair tax system, it prioritizes human security and care for Creation while it supports measures to address the moral scandal of rising inequality. We call on Congress to adopt its core principles, which exemplify the values and compassion of our faith traditions and nation as a whole.”

Joining with the release of Faithful Budget for FY2014, Sister Simone and Rev. Chuck Currie of the United Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon, published an op-ed in The Hill’s Congress Blog on Monday, detailing why President Obama’s latest budget “…falls short of the moral vision many faith leaders have for this country and the president’s own ideals as he embodied in his second Inaugural Address.” 

With the latest release, the faith community calls on Congress and President Obama to atone for their budgets’ more shortfalls by restoring economic opportunity, ensuring adequate resources for shared priorities, meeting critical human needs at home and abroad, accepting intergenerational responsibility, using the gifts of creation sustainably and responsibly, providing access to health care for all, and recognizing a robust role for government.

The Faithful Budget for FY 2014 Preamble, which has been endorsed by 44 religious denominations and organizations, calls on Congress and President Obama “to craft a federal budget that fulfills our shared duty to each other in all segments of society, to those who are struggling to overcome poverty or are especially vulnerable, and to future generations through our collective responsibility as stewards of Creation.”

"As the prophets have taught us, our community is like one body, and when one part of it aches, the entire community awakens in a fever,” said Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America. “Now is the time to awaken to the pain of those who are poor and vulnerable among us, both here in America and around the world.  As people of faith, we are committed to ensuring that our nation's federal budget reflects the moral conscience of the American people by providing protection to those in our community that need it most."

Faithful Budget for FY 2014 builds on the Faithful Budget for FY 2013 released in March 0f 2012 and the Faithful Budget Campaign, an effort launched by the religious community in May 2011 to lift up faithful voices on behalf of the nation’s most vulnerable in order to encourage the administration and Congress to maintain a robust commitment to domestic and international poverty assistance programs.

"Our Jewish tradition commands us to 'do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God' (Micah 6:8),” said Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “Is justice a father working full-time who still cannot support his family on a minimum wage salary? Is mercy a mother who is forced to choose between feeding her children and paying for their medicine? Are we walking humbly as we pass thousands sleeping outdoors each night? We can do better. We must do better. This Faithful Budget is a call to recognize the inherent dignity of each and every human being, a call to honor the spark of the divine that is present in every one of us, a call to action."

Additional details about the Faithful Budget Campaign can be found at www.faithfulbudget.org. The Faithful Budget for FY2014 was spearheaded by some of the nation’s most recognizable Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith-based organizations united by shared beliefs to lift up the nation’s most vulnerable and demonstrate that America is a better nation when we follow our faiths’ imperatives to promote the general welfare of all individuals.  For more information contact Casey Schoeneberger, 202-569-4254, casey@faithinpubliclife.org

Below is the full list of the faith-based organizations that endorsed the preamble-principles of the Faithful Budget:

American Friends Service Committee, Arkansas Interfaith Alliance Bread for the World, Center of Concern, Center on Conscience and War, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, Christian Connections for International Health, Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice, Church of the Brethren, Church World Service, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Council of Churches of Rhode Island, Delaware Ecumenical Council of Children, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Faithful Reform in Health Care, Florida Council of Churches, Franciscan Action Network Friends Committee on National Legislation, Institute Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Interfaith Worker Justice – New Mexico, Islamic Society of North America, Jesuit Conference, Jubilee USA Network, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, United States Province, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Mennonite Central Committee US, Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, Minnesota Council of Churches, Muslim Public Affairs Council, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, North Carolina Council of Churches, Pax Christi USA, Pennsylvania Council of Churches Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness, Pogressive National Baptist Convention, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness, Ministries, United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.

Priorities for a Faithful Budget