Tim, Hannah, Elizabeth, Duane, and the rest of the Sojourners team.
This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!
Right now Congress is considering a budget plan that would make a 9 percent cut in discretionary spending while giving a 2 percent increase for military spending. This would be devastating for domestic programs that provide basic nutrition, health, and opportunity to poor children and international aid programs that save lives every day.
As a country, we face difficult financial choices, but one thing that should not be on the table is to abandon the poor and vulnerable while allowing more military spending.
Tell Congress to get its budget priorities in order.
As Christians we ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” to make sure our actions reflect our deepest held values. So when it comes to decisions about our national budget, we ask, “What would Jesus cut?”
Military and defense spending make up over half of the federal discretionary budget. If instead of a 2 percent increase the defense budget took a 2 percent cut, it would save almost $10 billion this year(1).
The biblical prophets make clear that a nation’s righteousness is ultimately determined not by its GNP or military might -- but by how it treats its most vulnerable people. Jesus says our love for him will be demonstrated by how we treat the “least of these.”
Urge your legislators to remember our moral priorities when they vote on the budget.
We can’t move backwards on programs proven to work: international aid targeted at empowering women; vaccines and bed nets combating deadly diseases; school lunch programs and early childhood education that give poor children the opportunity to thrive; tax credits that reward work and help stabilize families. These are dollars we can’t afford not to invest.
In Great Britain, Prime Minister Cameron made the choice to delay a costly nuclear submarine program while also increasing funding for international aid. We can do the same(2).
As we have all learned from the Great Recession, our economic choices matter. We must make financial decisions based on our values and not just short-term goals. We must remind our members of Congress to remember what is at stake when they decide what to fund and what to cut.
Before the budget vote in early March, the military-industrial complex will have lobbyists fighting for every dollar they can get. As people of faith, we need to speak out for the poor and for programs that support the common good.
In appreciation for your advocacy,
1.) Horney, James R. "House GOP Plan Cuts Non-Security Discretionary Programs 15 Percent Through End of Fiscal Year." Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 4 Feb. 2011.
2.) "Top 10 Fiscally Responsible Defense Cuts." Center for American Progress. 2 Feb. 2011
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