The US House and Senate are considering federal budget plans right in line with the president’s budget goals: more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans paid for with cutbacks in children’s anti-poverty programs and health care. Mainline church leaders have characterized the president’s budget proposals as immoral. The National Council of Churches USA released a statement on the budget that reads in part:
Speaking as God’s messenger, the prophet Amos offered these words to the people because of their misplaced focus, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24).” To be true to our values as a nation, we strongly urge Congress to reverse the destructive course our nation is on and reject the Bush Administration’s budget. The FY2006 budget should be funded by scaling back tax relief for the wealthy, closing corporate tax loopholes, and holding military and war spending in check. We call on Congress to draft and approve a budget and policies that will provide the poor, families, and communities with the tools to meet basic needs such as access to nutritious food and quality child-care, accessible and affordable housing, comprehensive and affordable health care, high quality education at every stage of life, a fair and just tax system, job creation and a livable income to sustain their future.
Sadly, Congress seems to be moving in the opposite direction from what Christian leaders have been asking. The president and his allies seem intent on passing those tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of those who are middle class and those living in poverty. As always, this president also finds plenty of money to conduct war. The “least of these” are left out on their own. What does it say about our own commitment to God if we allow that to happen?
The United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries is urging people again to contact their Congressional representatives this week:
Religious advocates generated about 8,000 phone calls and tens of thousands of emails last Wednesday to Congress on the Federal Budget. We are hearing from our friends in Congress that they have never had so many calls and emails on the federal budget, and that it is beginning to have an impact.
Also last week, the House and Senate Budget Committees approved budget resolutions for fiscal year 2006 that included deep cuts to Medicaid, Food Stamps, child care, housing, education, Head Start, work-force training, community development, veterans' benefits, and many other important programs. These cuts could total up to $283 billion over five years if they are not stopped by advocates like you.
Inexcusably, the Senate budget also includes $70 billion in new tax cuts and the House has added $106 billion in new tax cuts that would go to people earning over $200,000 per year.
On Tuesday March 15th and Wednesday March 16th CALL YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS again, and let them know that you think this budget is unjust. Congress will be debating the budget this week.
Toll-Free Number: 1-800-247-2971
For more background on the budget, download a new Justice and Witness Ministries resource entitled Faith Reflections on the President's Proposed Budget, FY 2006 at: http://www.ucctakeaction.org/ctt.asp?u=6223&l=82826
Take action now and remind candidates who campaigned on moral values that it counts with Christians how you treat a sick child, a woman fleeing from domestic violence, or a homeless family sleeping outdoors during the winter months. How we treat these people – God’s own children – says a lot about who we are.
35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”
- Matthew 25.35-45 (NRSV)