Faith Leaders Denounce Brinkmanship As Budget, Debt Ceiling Deadlines Loom
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.”
Rev. Beckmann said that the faith leaders have been careful not to side with any one party, but “in fact, the Tea Party caucus is mainly responsible for our political dysfunction.”
“We pray for a spirit of cooperation among the leaders and citizens of our nation,” Beckmann added.
Participating in the press conference this morning were Sister Simone Campbell SSS, executive director, NETWORK, A National Catholics Social Justice Lobby; Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World (press conference moderator); Rev. John L. McCullough, president and CEO, Church World Service; Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director, Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America; and Rev. Jim Wallis, president, Sojourners.
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
Kristen Y. Archer, Media Relations Manager, 202-688-1118
Fito Moreno, Media Relations Specialist, 202-688-1138