Does Your Church Have an Extra $50,000?
By Nick Sementelli on May 14, 2012
© Faith in Public Life
$50,000 a year for the next 10 years. That’s how much each church in the United States would have to spend in order to replace the Ryan budget’s $133 billion in cuts to nutrition programs for struggling families. (That’s not counting the additional $33 billion proposed by the House Agriculture Committee).
This finding comes from a new campaign by anti-hunger group Bread for the World to protect funding for food assistance programs that save lives and keep families afloat in these perilous economic times. The statistic stands in sharp contrast to the all-too-common conservative argument that churches and private charity will “pick up the slack” created by draconian budget cuts to safety net programs.
The reality, of course, is that charities are already stretched to their limits. The scope of need in America is just too large for them to handle on their own. In fact, pastors across the country have spoken out about how they can’t do it alone and are eager to partner with federal programs that provide.
Clergy echoed this message again on a Bread for the World conference call last week:
“You can’t get blood from a turnip,” said the Rev. Barb Hobe, pastor of Bethany United Church of Christ in Lebanon, Ohio. “My congregation numbers less than 50 people, and most are in the last third of their lives. We’re already reaching out to the poorest of the poor.”
Politicians who cut necessary safety net programs to pay for tax cuts for the rich and wasteful, unwanted military spending are doing religious communities no favors, regardless of how innocuous their rhetoric sounds.