Organized by Sojourners, a Washington, D.C.-based national network of Christians focused on social justice issues, the plea continues with the “Circle of Protection” effort launched during federal budget debates earlier this year to propose keeping cuts to social services off the table. It has culminated with an open letter begging on the behalf of the poor. Clerk Quits Rather Than Sign Same Sex Licenses As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up—how it treats those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources. The Christian community has an obligation to help them be heard, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected.This issue is nothing new. Many religious groups have been crying foul on the new proposed budget cuts. The difference this time is that the groups have laid out a 8 point list of what is needed. They are as follows:
- The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people.
- Funding focused on reducing poverty should not be cut. It should be made as effective as possible, but not cut.
- We urge our leaders to protect and improve poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance to promote a better, safer world.
- National leaders must review and consider tax revenues, military spending, and entitlements in the search for ways to share sacrifice and cut deficits.
- A fundamental task is to create jobs and spur economic growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the best path out of poverty, and restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.
- The budget debate has a central moral dimension. Christians are asking how we protect “the least of these.” “What would Jesus cut?” “How do we share sacrifice?”
- As believers, we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to ask for guidance as our nation makes decisions about our priorities as a people.
- God continues to shower our nation and the world with blessings. As Christians, we are rooted in the love of God in Jesus Christ. Our task is to share these blessings with love and justice and with a special priority for those who are poor.
An open letter stating their plea was published in Politico yesterday. In it they stated the following: “As Christian leaders, we are committed to fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice. We are also committed to resist budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people. Therefore, we join with others to form a Circle of Protection around programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad.” How do you feel about the cuts to the poor? Do you think there is something else that can be done?