Presiding Bishop, 32 other faith leaders denounce brinksmanship

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UPDATE: Episcopal Public Policy Network urges Congress to stop playing politics. Sign their letter.


Thirty-three faith leaders (including the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori) have denounced the antics of the Republicans in Congress who are about cut off pay for government workers, cripple the U.S. and damage the economy. Bread for the World website has their letter:

Washington, DC, September 30, 2013

On the eve of a possible shutdown of the U.S. government, religious leaders denounced the political brinkmanship prevailing in Congress today.

“Shutting down the government will do real damage,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, speaking at a press conference today. “Risking our nation’s creditworthiness will do even more damage. Most clearly, the disruption and uncertainty will put the brakes on our economy.”

Unless our nation’s leaders come to an agreement on appropriations for the coming months, the U.S. government will close on Oct. 1, the start of the 2014 fiscal year. If no agreement is reached by Oct. 17 on increasing the debt limit, the country’s creditworthiness will be compromised.

In a letter released today, 33 faith leaders urged members of Congress to keep the government open. The letter states:

“Our democracy rests on principles of reason, compromise, and a commitment to the common good. To hold our governance processes and financial credibility hostage to narrow priorities is not only dangerous to the nation’s near term financial being, it threatens the very foundations of our democratic process and our capacity to live united. We ask that congressional leadership of both parties stand strong in opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good.”

The entire letter is below:

September 27, 2013

Dear Senator/Representative:

As leaders of faith communities and organizations comprising millions of people from all walks of life across our nation, we are deeply concerned by the completely avoidable budget and financial crises we are fast approaching as a nation.

Though Congress must pass the federal budget, it belongs to every American. This common fund formed of our combined tax revenues is designed to support the shared infrastructure, well-being, and long-term ethical values of our society. As people of faith we find it morally irresponsible to blockade the process by which we provide for our nation’s shared needs in a bid to force any individual legislative priority.

It would likewise be reckless to propel the United States into financial default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling for spending that Congress has already approved. Shuttering the federal government or defaulting on the nation’s financial commitments is likely to reverse our fragile economic recovery, punish the middle class, and deeply harm our most vulnerable neighbors.

Our democracy rests on principles of reason, compromise, and a commitment to the common good. To hold our governance processes and financial credibility hostage to narrow priorities is not only dangerous to the nation’s near-term financial well-being, it threatens the very foundations of our democratic process and our capacity to live united in community.

We ask that lawmakers address their concerns through the proper legislative channels. It ill serves our nation and people to stand in the way of funding federal operations or raising the debt ceiling in an effort to block implementation of health care legislation that Congress duly enacted. We ask that congressional leadership of both parties stand strong in opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good.

We commit to keeping you in prayer, asking that God continue to give you wisdom as you faithfully serve our nation during this time when the country most needs your principled leadership.

Sincerely,

Ruth Messinger

President

American Jewish World Service

Dr. Lester A. Myers President

Center of Concern

Rev. John L. McCullough President and CEO Church World Service

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

Rev. David Beckmann President

Bread for the World

Dr. Sharon Watkins

General Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Dr. Jack Sullivan

President

Disciples Justice Action Network

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Linda Hanna Walling Executive Director

Faithful Reform in Health Care

Diane Randall

Executive Secretary

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Dr. Sayyid Syeed

National Director

Islamic Society of North America

Sr. Janet Mock, CSJ

Executive Director

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Salam Al-Marayati

President

Muslim Public Affairs Council

Jack Payden-Travers

Director

National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund

Nancy Kaufman

Chief Executive Officer

National Council of Jewish Women

Sr. Patricia Chappell Executive Director Pax Christi USA

Rev. Kip B. Banks

Interim General Secretary

Progressive National Baptist Convention

Sr. Patricia McDermott, RSM

President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Peter Morales

President

Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President and

Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo

Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries United Church of Christ

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF President

Franciscan Action Network

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy President

Interfaith Alliance

Rabbi Steve Gutow

President

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Fr. Tim Mulroy, SSC

U S. Regional Director

Missionary Society of St. Columban

Sr. Gayle Lwanga Crumbley, RGS

National Coordinator

National Advocacy Center of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Peg Birk

Transitional General Secretary National Council of Churches

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS

Executive Director

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Rev. Gradye Parsons

Stated Clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Rabbi David Saperstein

Director

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Rev. Jim Wallis President Sojourners

Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz

President

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Bishop Peter D. Weaver

Executive Secretary, The Council of Bishops The United Methodist Church

Shan Cretin

General Secretary

American Friends Service Committee

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Jim Naughton
Guest
Jim Naughton

The Affordable Care Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives, went into effect today, as did the government shutdown that one faction of the Republican party engineered to punish the country for a variety of perceived sins against their conservative ideology. There's no "both sides share the blame" angle here. It's just that the Senate and the White House aren't giving the Tea Party caucus a do-over on the ACA. And, honestly, anybody who thinks that the shutdown has anything to do with spending is clueless. Even the people who engineered it aren't making that argument.

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Joe Monk
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Joe Monk

Democrats who are currently holding the country hostage for a law that the country doesnt want...

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Fr. Will McQueen
Guest
Fr. Will McQueen

It would likewise be reckless to propel the United States into financial default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling for spending that Congress has already approved.

Umm, no. It's quite responsible to refuse to raise the debt limit because Congress is authorizing spending WITHOUT THE MONEY TO PAY FOR IT! This congress has a severe spending problem and most is on programs that should be relegated to the state and local level and NOT and at a federal level.

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Fr. Will McQueen
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Fr. Will McQueen

Oh, so I see that blame can only go in one direction here. I guess Harry Reid had nothing to do with this at all. He didn't give an inch, and yet he hollered about compromise that only meant agreement with him.

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Christopher Johnson
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"Republicans in Congress...are about cut off pay for government workers, cripple the U.S. and damage the economy?" FYI, both the Senate and the Presidency are currently controlled by Democrats.

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