The Common Good

Letter seeks ‘circle of protection’ for poor

Date: July 18, 2013

Christian leaders across the country released a pastoral letter July 18 urging Congress to make hungry and poor people a priority in negotiations over a new federal budget.

With Washington set to reconsider sequestration -- across-the-board spending cuts lingering from an impasse over the debt-ceiling debate between Democrats and Republicans in 2011 -- faith leaders renewed earlier appeals asking lawmakers to maintain “a circle of protection” around programs that alleviate hunger and poverty in the current stage of budget debate.

Eighty-seven signers affirmed the government’s responsibility for the poor.

“The Bible teaches that civil authority comes from God, and God calls for protection of poor and vulnerable people,” the faith leaders said. “Government is imperfect, and there are legitimate differences over how the government should carry out its responsibilities. These should be debated. Assuring government’s obligation to advance the common good, ensure fairness, and defend the most vulnerable is good religion and good politics.”