Thursday, February 10, 2005

Religious Call Bush Budget a Moral Outrage

From Jim Wallis of Sojourners. I signed the petition linked at the end of this article, and urge you to do the same.

"Budgets are moral documents that reflect the values and priorities of a family, church, organization, city, state, or nation. They tell us what is most important and valued to those making the budget. President Bush says that his 2006 budget 'is a budget that sets priorities.' Examining those priorities ... is a moral and religious concern....

The cost of the deficit is increasingly borne by the poor. The budget projects a record $427 billion deficit, and promises to make tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest permanent. Religious communities spoke clearly in the past years about the perils of a domestic policy based primarily on tax cuts for the rich, program cuts for low-income people, and an expectation of faith-based charity. We must speak clearly now about a budget lacking moral vision. A budget that scapegoats the poor and fattens the rich, that asks for sacrifice mostly from those who can least afford it, is a moral outrage.

Low-income people should not be punished for the government decisions that placed us in financial straits....Our future is in serious jeopardy if one in three proposed cuts are to education initiatives..., if there will be less flexibility to include working poor families with children on Medicaid, and if reductions in community and rural development, job training, food stamps, and housing are accepted as solutions for reducing the deficit.

Cutting pro-work and pro-family supports for the less fortunate jeopardizes the common good. And this while defense spending rises again to $419 billion (not including any additional spending for war in Iraq).

These budget priorities would cause the prophets to rise up in righteous indignation, as should we. Our nation deserves better vision. Morally-inspired voices must provide vision for the people when none comes from its leaders. We must believe that such vision can change the hearts of those needing new grounding and direction.

The Bible talks often of the need to repent - to turn and go in another direction. If we do not now "Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets" (Habakkuk 2:2), others cannot follow. If we do, we act to secure the future of the common good. + Take action to protest Bush's budget priorities "

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