Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Jim Wallis on Social Security & the Bible

From Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and Call to Renewal, and best-selling author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get it.....

Congress has approved a $2.6 trillion budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2006. Although advocates had victories in certain stages along the way, most notably protecting cuts to Medicaid in the Senate, the final budget resolution places many low-income families in jeopardy. For more details on the coming months,
click here.

Also of significance for the least, last and lost is the national debate about reforming Social Security -- the greatest anti-poverty program this country has known. Just as with budget debates, morally based priorities should influence any changes to Social Security. Budgets are moral documents; and Social Security is a covenant for the common good. A constant biblical theme is that the well-being of our parents and the next generation is spiritually connected to our own. Social Security should be an _expression of national values of opportunity and dignity - and for Christians, our biblical priorities.

Fostering dignity for families, children, and elders in need is the true measure of our compassion; the true measure of our commitment to - and covenant with - the common good. In addition to retirement insurance, Social Security pays 30% of its benefits to disabled people and widows/widowers, helps more low-income children than welfare, and provides support to children who have lost a parent to death or disability. Over one-third of benefits from Social Security go to 17 million non-retirees. Social Security benefits lift over half of seniors out of poverty and provide half or more or the total income for 60% of seniors.

As the debate about Social Security continues with media coverage, Congressional hearings, town hall meetings, and more, Call to Renewal is working on moral principles that should guide any changes to the program. As we develop these principles, we'd like your help.

Please take a look at Jim Wallis' letter to all members of Congress and our Social Security resources page.

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