The Common Good

Faith in Public Life

Faith in Public Life Press Items
“This is an important victory for millions of uninsured people in our country and ultimately a triumph of the common good. Children, young adults, and families will have access to basic health care, adding security and stability to their lives. While I believe the decision is reason to celebrate, it doesn’t mean that this legislation is somehow the flawless will of God; it is an important step in expanding health care coverage and reducing long term costs, but it still is not perfect and more work is yet to be done.” Full statement available here. – Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners
Sojourners is launching its new “Voting for Us” campaign highlighting the way that Christians (particularly young Christians) are concerned about a broad array of issues that go beyond traditional stereotypes about “values voters.”
Half-in-Ten, Sojourners, and Faith in Public Life hosted a telephone press briefing this morning with faith leaders and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to highlight the faith community’s opposition to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) immoral, irresponsible “Path to Prosperity” budget plan that prioritizes tax cuts for the wealthy over the basic human needs of the hungry and most vulnerable Americans. Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing for Sojourners, said Rep. Paul Ryan “Has a religion problem, and it’s a big one. The Christian tradition and most other religious traditions for that matter call for people of faith to stand up and defend the poor and vulnerable…Congressman Ryan’s budget is the opposite. It slashes effective programs for low-income people and increases their tax burden at the same time it cuts taxes further for the wealthy and increases military spending without justification. “ As Harper unapologetically stated, the Ryan plan is not an act of bravery (as some on the right have claimed) but merely an act of “moral cowardice”.
Faith leaders, who rallied last year to urge Congress to reject Ryan’s budget, are springing back into action to denounce the proposed budget for its cuts to programs that protect the poor. We worked with Half-in-Ten (a project of the Center for American Progress) and Sojourners to compile quotes from prominent faith leaders reacting to the budget. Check out the full list of quotes here.
President Obama’s decision yesterday to reject a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline came as great news for progressives around the country who have been working to stop this dangerous project from getting started. As we documented last year, people of faith have been a key, visible part of this coalition and were particularly excited about the news. Sojourners rounded up some reactions from various faith leaders.
But one courageous media figure has been ahead of the curve. Taking an in-depth look at the growing inequality gap in America, PBS host Tavis Smiley embarked on an ambitious 18-city bus tour with Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West to expose the scandal of nearly 50 million Americans now living in poverty. "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience" was the focus of five special episodes that aired last week on PBS, the last of which featured the Rev. Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners and tireless champion for the poor.
Sojourner's Jim Wallis, a member of the Circle and a vocal advocate for a moral budget, publically responded to CASE in a recent interview with the Christian Post. Wallis asserted that CASE has attempted to misrepresent the Circle's intentions by suggesting that the Circle favors a "blanket defense" of government programs rather than practical economic solutions to address the national debt.
FOX executives deny the move had anything to do with outside pressure, but it's hard to see how FOX could ignore more than 300 lost advertisers and continuous criticism from the faith community.
The drumbeat continues, with more and more faith leaders speaking out to send a message to Rep. Peter King on today's Homeland Security Committee hearings: an attack on one faith is an attack on us all:
This week as Congress debates deficits and spending, faith leaders are speaking up to make sure our elected leaders remember that budgets are moral documents.