I am waiting for the day when we can have fact based discourse where we give Americans the true choices of ideologies and their combinations by which they want to be governed. We do not have a crop of politicians on the Right willing to do that.
This week Ted Cruz was elected the Republican Party Senate candidate from Texas. He was the Tea Party candidate and many times stated that compromise is the other side seeing things his way. His side ran ads accusing his Republican opponent as being a moderate. When did a moderate become a bad thing?
My hope is that as real fact based information is released of the real intent of the Right Wing, Americans will vote appropriately. We need a purge of the current crop of Republicans so there is a real Republican party that shares the values of humanity, “real” fiscal responsibility, and morality of the Democratic and other small progressive parties.
Faith Leaders Tell Congress to ‘Get a Conscience’
by Sandi Villarreal 08-01-2012 | 2:30pm
Faith leaders on Wednesday gathered on Capitol Hill to release a letter calling on Congress to extend the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) — programs aimed at keeping the poor and most vulnerable in our country out of poverty. The call comes in advance of a U.S. House of Representatives vote to extend the Bush-era tax cuts.
In 2010, the EITC and CTC lifted about 9 million people out of poverty, including 4.9 million children, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
"The Bible confronts every Evangelical lawmaker with more than 2,000 verses, which call us to defend the poor and vulnerable. If we say we believe the Bible, we simply can’t support policies that directly reward the rich and punish the poor: Christian lawmakers can’t keep going into their prayer breakfasts and leaving their Bibles at the door," said Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners (Wallis’ full statement can be read HERE).
Wallis joined Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK; David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association; Rev. Michael Linvingston, director of the National Council of Churches Poverty Initiative; and Rev. Jennifer Butler of Faith in Public Life. The letter expresses the faith community’s disappointment, calling the congress members who talk about family values "hypocritical" for abandoning improvements to programs that support families.
"In the name of the God of love and justice … we say no to tax policies that reward the top 2 percent of us and threaten the security of the 15 million families and the 36 million children that depend on these tax credits," said Campbell, leader of the recent Nuns on the Bus campaign. "These are not family values; they are faithless immoral values and an affront to people of every faith."
The Aug. 1 House vote — to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for even the top 2 percent — would allow tax breaks expire for about 13 million low- and moderate-income families with 26 million children.
"May we dare pray that our Congress get a conscience, find its heart, reconnect with the founders who wanted a government of, by, and for the all the people." Campbell said.
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Jim Wallis’ Statement on Republican Budget
By: Sojourners Date: August 1, 2012
A budget is a moral document. That phrase was coined by the faith community and has become a refrain in the ongoing debates over deficits and budgets. But in this week’s House vote on extending the Bush era tax cuts, we see one more example of the priorities and principles of the broader GOP budget and how they apply to the rich and to the poor. Because of this, we must conclude that the Republican budget is an immoral document—in the way it treats the poor. I certainly don’t believe that all our Republican lawmakers came to Washington to hurt poor people, but it’s time for some of them to challenge the dominant forces in their party and face the consequences of such indefensible choices.
We have a genuine hope for a long term bi-partisan solution and, in particular, a moral non-partisan commitment to protect the poor and vulnerable from being expendable in these fiscal debates. We should also say that Democratic budgets have not been models of fiscal responsibility and social justice, either. But what the House budget is calling for is morally objectionable on religious and biblical grounds—and people of faith from all political stripes should say so. In particular, to roll back tax credits for the poor to help fund tax breaks for the rich is morally reprehensible, and the faith community has to speak out.
Here is what the debate reveals from the highest moral lens: the House GOP budget wants to extend tax cuts and credits for the wealthiest people of our societywhile cutting tax benefits for the poorest—including millions of low-income working families with children at risk. Proven and effective tax credits, which can lift families out of poverty, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) which have historically had bi-partisan support, are now being dramatically reduced. All the while, tax cuts for the wealthy are further expanded and the amount of money the richest can keep from their estate taxes continues to grow. This is an egregious contrast and a starkly immoral budget choice.
To reward the rich even more while actually punishing the poor is a direct offense to all of our religious traditions. For Catholic lawmakers, it is a fundamental violation of Catholic social teaching, and the Catholic bishops have said so. They called this budget choice “unwise” and “unjust.” Every Catholic lawmaker who votes for those misplaced priorities should be held accountable by their church. But that accountability can’t stop with Catholics.
The Bible confronts every Evangelical lawmaker with more than 2000 verses which call us to defend the poor and vulnerable. If we say we believe the Bible, we simply can’t support policies that directly reward the rich and punish the poor: Christian lawmakers can’t keep going into their prayer breakfasts and leaving their Bibles at the door.
The Senate Democrats should be thanked for blocking these cuts and protecting tax credits for low-income families last week. But, to be honest, neither party has clearly and publically stated a fundamental principle that the poor and vulnerable should be protected. In these critically important deficit debates, that principle is crucial and must be central to policy decisions.
Reducing excessive deficits is a moral act, but also how we reduce them is a moral issue. It’s time for both parties to commit themselves to this principle: we will not reduce the deficit in ways that increase poverty and economic inequality. This is the fundamental principle of the Circle of Protection, a broad table of more than 60 church leaders and organizations across the theological and political spectrum committed to protecting the poor and vulnerable in these crucial fiscal decisions. We will continue to press and pressure the leadership of both parties to uphold that principle. Our nation has achieved bi-partisan agreement to that principle in past deficit reduction, and we must do it again. This is a moral and religious imperative that we should hold all lawmakers to. And the Circle of Protection will do that on both sides of the aisle.
In all of our decisions, the poor and vulnerable—the ones Jesus called “the least of these”—should be protected, especially by people of faith, regardless of their party affiliations and political philosophies. It’s time to cut through all the political clutter, ideology, and self-interest. The Christian leaders of the Circle of Protection feel called by God in saying this to our political leaders: It’s time to do the right thing and protect the poor.
Copyright 2012 Egberto Willies