A collaboration of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities and organizations, the Faithful Budget promotes comprehensive and compassionate budget principles that help lift the burden on the poor, rather than increasing it while shielding the wealthiest from any additional responsibility. This interfaith document is offered as an alternative to the federal budget visions we see from the Administration and the Congress.
The yearly debate over the federal budget is vitally important. It is – at its heart –a struggle for our nation's moral conscience. It is also one of the only things Congress is likely to work on in what is already shaping up to be an intense election cycle. As advocates who care about any number of issues - from health care to education, from the environment to job creation, for hungry people here and around the world - this is an area where we must engage.
Please read the preamble of the Faithful Budget document. If you have a particlar issue you care about we encourage you to seek it out in the larger document. Take this moment to prepare and reflect for the advocacy to come this year.
"We do not wish to leave a legacy of debt to our children, nor do we believe that a legacy of poverty and underinvestment is any better." - Faithful Budget coalition letter to Obama and Congress
All our faith traditions place people who are impoverished and marginalized at the forefront of concern. The current fiscal debates – at their heart – are a struggle for the soul of our nation and its moral conscience. As people of faith, we grieve at the soaring gap between rich and poor; faith and fairness require that we preserve and strengthen vital lifelines for people who are struggling to overcome hardship and poverty in the US and abroad. The faithful way forward to fiscal health calls for a focus on job creation, revenue increases, a shared commitment to the common good, and cuts in unnecessary military spending.
In Summer 2011, an interfaith coalition in Washington, DC began daily Capitol Hill prayer vigils and worked together out of our common sense of urgency around the need to protect social safety net programs that serve people living in poverty and The Faithful Budget Campaign continues this work in this critical 2012 election year.
How we got started
For 18 days during the height of the debt ceiling debate, members of the faith-based advocacy community gathered in front of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill for daily prayer vigils urging a fair and just resolution of political debate and the protection of programs serving the most vulnerable communities. The vigils caught the attention of CNN, the Washington Post, the Odyssey Network and many curious tourists visiting Washington. Faith advocates coupled prayer with advocacy visits to members of Congress and encouraged phone calls and e-mails from people of faith around the country urging Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. On July 29th, nearly a dozen leaders from the faith community were arrested while engaging in an act of civil disobedience by kneeling in prayer inside the U.S. Capitol Building. Participating in this action was Sandy Sorensen, director of the UCC Washington office and former General Minister and President Paul Sherry.
Ultimately, the debt ceiling was raised, but the Super Committee tasked with creating a deficit solution failed. This failure will trigger automatic, across the board budget cuts that will kick in in 2013. This will have serious ramifications for poor and vulnerable communities. Much of our work lies ahead as we try to address these looming cuts.