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People of faith respond to the tax bill

People of faith respond to the tax bill

Circle of Protection has released a compilation of responses to the tax bill Congress passed this week.

From the Episcopal Church:

The Episcopal Church: The Episcopal Church is deeply troubled by the passage of this tax bill which places political and corporate interests above the love and care of our neighbors. Over the long term, this legislation will raise taxes on the poor in order to pay for permanent tax cuts for corporations and Americans who can afford to contribute more. Economists agree that this bill will plunge our nation further into debt, and we are concerned that this tax cut will serve to justify future funding cuts for programs that feed the hungry, house the homeless, care for the sick, and provide education for our children. Our Church supports efforts to reduce economic disparities in the United States, and we will vehemently oppose any cuts to programs that help our neighbors meet their most pressing needs. The Bible calls on Christians to care for each other, and we believe that while imperfect, the federal government is one of many necessary and effective tools to care for the poor and vulnerable in this country. We take seriously the understanding of St. John Chrysostom who wrote: “This is the rule of the most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good . . . for nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors.”

Additional responses:

Rev. Amy E. Reumann, Director, Advocacy, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: “A tax policy that serves the common good will be evaluated by how it prioritizes the health, well-being and the future prospects for those most vulnerable in society. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act fails this test. Lutheran Christians should vigorously make their opinions known to their members of Congress and call for a swift commitment to children, the working poor, those living with disabilities and seniors in 2018.”

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network: “We are told that corporate profits today are about $2.3 trillion; the stock market is at an all time high and that unemployment is at 4% or nearly full employment. Economists of all political persuasions agree that there is no guarantee that the “trickle down” notion that corporations with lower tax rates will invest in American jobs and spur economic growth. What other reason would there be for taking from the poorer and giving to the richer, who do not need a tax cut except greed? What a shameful and immoral way of snatching milk and bread off the table of low income people just days before Christmas!”

Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO, Catholic Charities USA: “Throughout the tax reform negotiations CCUSA has urged you to adopt a tax reform proposal which prioritizes individuals working their way out of poverty, fosters family economic stability, promotes a culture of charitable giving and promotes access to affordable housing. . . As it stands, the bill fails to make these investments and provides only small and temporary relief for low-income and working families. CCUSA stands ready to work with you to make these meaningful investments. As you move forward, we urge you to reject efforts to use the deficit created by this bill as a pretext for even greater cuts to programs for low-income communities. Instead we urge you to address the shortcomings in this bill and recommit yourselves to the bipartisan solutions needed to lift people out of poverty.” (Letter to Congress, December 19, 2017)

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation: “Congress’ vote to pass such an unconscionable and irresponsible tax bill is gravely disappointing, violating fundamental Quaker values of equality, stewardship and economic security. Nearly every independent analysis shows this bill will leave federal deficits and debt soaring with minimal economic growth or job creation. This will harm tens of millions of people throughout our country, while giving corporations and wealthy individuals excessive benefits. That Congressional leaders are using these self-inflicted deficits to call for cuts and harmful changes to critical programs like Medicaid, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and SSI is nothing short of immoral. These very programs enable struggling families to make ends meet and help parents to provide a better future for their children. Surely, this is the common good that government can and must provide to foster equality, opportunity and a strong society. Members of Congress should search their hearts for what they will do to assure that the tax cuts they give to the wealthy do not require cutting basic assistance and opportunity programs for struggling families.”

Image: View of the United States Capitol from the United States Supreme Court building. By debaird. – Originally posted to Flickr as checks and balances., CC BY-SA 2.0


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