Interfaith advocates organize budget prayer rallies
Written by Wire Reports and Gregg Brekke November 18, 2011
members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the so-called "Super
Committee", struggle to foster an agreement before their congressionally
mandated deadline next week, faith groups across the country are joining forces
to encourage the Super Committee not to reduce the deficit by placing an undue
burden on the poor while shielding the wealthiest from additional sacrifice.
Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend a prayer
rally at Lafayette Park on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 3pm EST to pray and
encourage Super Committee members to preserve funding for programs that assist
the most at-risk families and children in the United States and around the
addition to the D.C. prayer rally, numerous churches, synagogues, mosques and
other houses of worship across the country are holding similar prayer gatherings
this weekend outside of the district offices of members of the Joint Select Committee
on Deficit Reduction and congressional leadership.
as we approach the 11th hour to the deadline for the congressional Super
Committee to issue its recommendations for federal deficit reduction to the
full Congress, it appears that many members of Congress continue to place
political posturing ahead of the difficult task of governance and moving the
country forward," said Sandy Sorenson, director of the UCC's Washington,
federal deficit cannot and should not be addressed solely by draconian cuts to
federal programs, especially at a time when those on the economic margins risk
falling even further into poverty" said Sorenson. "Tax cuts and
military spending are the greatest contributors to the current deficit, and
they must be included in any plan for deficit reduction."
prayer rallies in D.C. and across the country have been spearheaded by a coalition of leading
Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations affiliated with many of the
major religious denominational movements, including the Church of the Brethren;
Church World Service; Franciscan Action Network; Islamic Society of North
America; Jewish Council for Public Affairs; National Council of Churches;
NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; Presbyterian Church (USA);
United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church.
prayer rallies 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.
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 while
praying in the Capitol Rotunda just days before Congress passed the debt
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.
ever there was a time for moral imagination and courageous leadership, it is
now. It is all too easy to focus on individual interests and quick fixes.
It is all too easy to pretend that we may not be affected by distant budget
cuts that seem to have no relation to our own lives. But Martin Luther King,
Jr. had it right: we are all 'caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.'"
prayer vigil follows the UCC's Mission:1
campaign where the denomination's 5,300 congregations and 1.1 million
members were asked to help collect more than 1
million food and household items for local food banks, as well as $111,111 in
online donations for hunger-related ministries and $111,111 in online donations
for East Africa famine relief. As of Nov. 18, more than 1.37 million items of
food had been collected and 36,000 letters written to Congress. The financial
goals have both topped $100,000 and are expected to far exceed their $111,111
goals once all churches have reported.