Brothers and sisters, I have spent a long time wrestling with how to phrase and post this blog – as the conversation in Washington, DC, has gotten more and more heated around issues of our debt and deficit, and around cutting spending and not increasing taxes to do so. Action alerts have been going out from Peace Witness Ministries asking you to call on your Senators, Representatives, and the Obama Administration from a variety of angles – from a Brethren sense of mutuality, from a sense of seeking things that make for peace, from our predisposition toward service, and from the perspective of standing with those in poverty and who hunger.
All of those perspectives are extremely important, but today I want to just say it bluntly – government spending matters. It is how we take a world and economic system that is certainly not based on scripture, and seek to give everyone as equal an opportunity as possible to establish self worth, to know themselves to be the beloved children of God that they are. Government spending matters.
I want you to consider the story of Nancy – and watch her story in the youtube video below:
Nancy’s story is just one of many. Half in Ten, a coalition of poverty and hunger related groups, has been collecting these stories to give a face to these programs. When you consider what the voice of the church should be in advocating about government programs, I want you to think about people like Nancy. They are people in our churches, whom our Brethren homes serve, and who come to soup kitchens in our churches. They are your friends and neighbors, and, brothers and sisters, they are the faces and realities of the programs that are now in danger of being cut.
There are lots of reforms we need to do to government spending. It is certainly true that we need to contain the deficit, and not allow it to spiral out of control. But the voice of the church says that what we spend our money on – where we put our wealth, is a foundational statement about who we are as a people. And right now, we are choosing to invest in wars and things that make for wars, and in tax breaks so that individuals can keep more of what they have – rather than extending the table, as we talked about at Annual Conference, and meeting the needs of the broader community around us.
Church, it is time to say no more. Call your Members of Congress today, and tell them you will not stand by while they keep playing these games with programs that are life and death to those most in need amongst us.