Stop the Poor and Hungry From Going Over the Cliff

Submitted by John St. Laurent, Bethel Congregational UCC, Beaverton, OR

Budget negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff” are now underway. Pressure to cut federal spending, particularly programs for hungry and poor people, has never been higher. For the next six weeks, every Washington interest group will be pounding the halls of Congress to weigh in on a multi-trillion dollar deal that will affect every federal program and every person in this country for decades to come. Unfortunately, the media and politicians are not talking about the tremendous impact the deal will have on hungry and poor constituents. If we don’t speak up, vulnerable people could easily be forgotten.

Bread for the World, the United Church of Christ (UCC) and many interfaith partners are calling on people of faith to contact Congress. Congress needs to hear your voice—to be reminded the deficit must be taken seriously, but balancing the budget on the backs of the hungry and poor is wrong. The budget decisions of Congress are moral choices that could have devastating consequences.

Call your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative today! Use the Bread for the World toll-free number (1-800-826-3688) and tell Congress to pass a budget deal that includes a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world. A faithful federal budget would protect the most vulnerable through strong safety-net programs, maintain core government services to promote the common good, and provide adequate resources for shared priorities through a just tax system. It would also fairly balance funding for the military against other vital needs at home. Visit Bread for the World at: and scroll down the left toolbar to “Fiscal Cliff  Negotiations.”

General Synod 25 of the United Church of Christ (UCC) challenged its members to support policies that serve the common good: “Our Christian faith speaks directly to public morality and the ways a nation should bring justice and compassion into its civic life.  In the story of the last judgment, Jesus tells us that nations will be judged by how they care for their most vulnerable citizens, those Jesus describes as, ‘the least of these who are members of my family.’ This story in Matthew (Matthew 25: 34-35) is not about personal salvation; rather it is presented as a story of the judgment of nations.”

UCC General Minister and President, the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, and Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries, the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, joined other senior religious leaders from across the country on Capitol Hill Thursday, Nov. 29, to ask the Obama Administration and Congress not to place the burden of the nation’s debt on the shoulders of the poor.

You can access more information about the budget crisis here:  and personalize an email to send to Congress at the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network.

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