Sunday, May 01, 2011

Will the "Circle of Protection" be unbroken?

On yet another Sunday morning when I don't go to church, I ponder a spiritual appeal called "Circle of Protection: A Statement on Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor." Long title for a simple document that asks Pres. Obama and our Congressional leaders not to balance the U.S. budget on the backs of the poor.

I read this copy of the proclamation on Sojourners, a site where I go to find solace and inspiration and talking points for my blog. Sojourners is all about social justice. The statement below carries signatures of 50 religious denominations and organizations. On the list is Jim Wallis of Sojourners. I signed a copy and sent it off to Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis, the seventh-richest member of Congress, who already has voted for the Draconian cuts in Rep. Paul Ryan's bill. Also sent a copy to Dr. Sen. John Barrasso, who was one of the Republican talking heads on TV this morning nattering on about the need to immediately slash Medicare and Medicaid. I am always amazed by The Good Doctor's audacious denial of his Hippocratic Oath: "I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm." Some points to ponder, Doc. Sen. Mike Enzi received a copy so he can contemplate his upcoming votes to enrich corporate healthcare companies at the expense of elderly Americans. Pres. Obama also got a copy, just in case he's thinking of backsliding in his push-back against radical Republicans.

I urge you to sign "Circle of Protection" and send it off to your Congressional delegation. And don't forget the Prez.

Circle of Protection: A Statement on Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor.

As people of faith, we are committed to fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice. We are also committed to resist budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people. Therefore, we join with others to form a Circle of Protection around programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad. 

1. The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people.

2. Programs focused on reducing poverty should not be cut. They should be made as effective as possible, but not cut.

3. We urge our leaders to protect and improve poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance to promote a better, safer world.

4. National leaders must review and consider tax revenues, military spending, and entitlements in the search for ways to share sacrifice and cut deficits.

5. A fundamental task is to create jobs and spur economic growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the best path out of poverty, and restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.

6. The budget debate has a central moral dimension. Christians are asking how we protect "the least of these." "What would Jesus cut?" "How do we share sacrifice?"

7. As believers, we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to ask for guidance as our nation makes decisions about our priorities as a people.

8. God continues to shower our nation and the world with blessings. As Christians, we are rooted in the love of God in Jesus.

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