Religious leaders ask congressional budget cutters to remember the poor
Religious Americans sent a clear message to members of the so-called Congressional Super Committee this weekend, and to all members of Congress and the Administration, that cuts to programs that assist the most at-risk families and children in the United States and abroad will not be tolerated on their watch.
Throughout the weekend, thousands of Americans of all faiths united in prayer at public rallies in Washington, D.C. and across the country calling on members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to not reduce the deficit by placing an undue burden on the poor while shielding the wealthiest from additional sacrifice.
In D.C., the prayer rally was held across the street from the White House at Lafayette Park. A large crowd was on hand to hear numerous national religious figures from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths impart their moral perspective on protecting the most vulnerable among us.
Inspired by a common spiritual conviction that God has called on all Americans to protect the vulnerable and promote the dignity of all individuals, the religious community has worked beside the U.S. government for decades to protect those struggling to overcome poverty. Without a sustained federal commitment to these programs, the religious community fears that Houses of Worship will be unable to solely support the country’s most vulnerable in their time of need.
In addition to the D.C. prayer rally, religious Americans gathered this weekend for prayer demonstrations and other acts of religious activism in Richmond, VA; Pittsburgh, PA; Harrisburg, PA; and Philadelphia, PA as well as in Dallas, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Cincinnati, OH, and Sarasota, FL. Prayer vigils were also held in Midland, TX and Seattle, WA.
Also, in Los Angeles, CA, the Sisters of Social Service are celebrating their 85th anniversary as a congregation and are holding a Super Vigil as part of their basic mission to respond to the social needs of our society and in keeping with Catholic Social Teaching. In Juneau, AK, the faithful who serve their homeless neighbors each day are coming together this week to pray that federal cuts do not drastically impact their ability to serve all those in need.
The prayer rallies in D.C. and across the country are a continuation of the Faithful Budget Campaign, an effort launched by the religious community in July 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.
In July, the campaign organized high-level meetings with policymakers, a Washington fly-in of top religious leaders, daily prayer vigils near the U.S. Capitol Building and culminated with the arrest of 11 faith leaders in the Capitol Rotunda for refusing to stop praying for the nation’s most vulnerable just days before Congress passed the debt ceiling compromise.
Over the past six weeks, the Faithful Budget Campaign has tapped into its network of religious worshipers — flooding congressional offices with telephone calls and letters encouraging them to support the nation’s most vulnerable.
Additional details about the Faithful Budget Campaign can be found at www.FaithfulBudget.DomesticHumanNeeds.org
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