Praying for a Compassionate Budget
By Diane Randall on 07/26/2011 @ 05:23 PM
Today, I participated along with a dozen other faith community leaders in a series of meetings in the offices of congressional leaders. Set up by a coalition of faith-based organizations, the focus of this coalition during the past few weeks has been on both lobbying and praying. Praying for our elected officials and their staffs to act responsibly to raise the debt ceiling, to address the budget fairly in a way that represents ALL the people, particularly those who are vulnerable by poverty, ability or age.
Today's prayer vigil included messages of faith from Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders and began this way:
We are gathered on Capitol Hill as people of faith to pray for a just and compassionate federal budget. Inspired by a common spiritual conviction that God has called on all Americans to protect the vulnerable and promote the dignity of all individuals living in society, we are an interfaith coalition aiming to protect those struggling to overcome poverty in the U.S. and abroad, and to exclude programs that protect people in poverty from the U.S. budget deficit debates.
It ended with a wonderful benediction by Shan Cretin, General Secretary for AFSC.
In the way that FCNL works to engage our network of activists, these faith leaders are committed to reaching out to their constituencies and asking them to send messages to their members of Congress. The consistent theme in our meeting with Speaker John Boehner's office was not only to protect those who are vulnerable but also to assure that reducing military spending and increasing revenue through a more equitable tax system are part of the solution.
At FCNL, we've worked for many years to assure that federal budget includes money for programs that provide essential needs such as food, housing, and healthcare. Our active network has also consistently made the case that Pentagon spending must be reduced--not only our of fairness for human priorities, but because the expenditures are excessive to the needs of the United States. Others in the faith community are carrying this message as well.
Given what's at stake here in Washington with regard to our federal budget, our prayers and our voices in congressional offices are needed--now more than ever.
See our analysis of the federal debt, deficit and current budget debates, prepared by FCNL's legislative director and veteran lobbyist, Ruth Flower.