The Common Good

Where is the moral high ground on the federal budget?

Source: Sojourners
Date: March 1, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

CONTACT: Evan Trowbridge at etrowbridge@sojo.net / 202-745-4625 or

Tim King at tking@sojo.net / 202-631-7763

Rev. Wallis is available for comment

Where is the moral high ground on the federal budget?

An open letter from Rev. Wallis to Speaker Boehner

WASHINGTON, DC - Rev. Jim Wallis released an open letter on Tuesday to Speaker of the House John Boehner that pressed Boehner to be accountable for his remarks on Sunday that deficit reduction is a "mortal” and "moral” issue.

The letter comes one day after Rev. Wallis organized a diverse group of 27 Christian leaders to challenged legislators with a full-page ad in Politico that carried the message that the budget should not be balanced on the backs of poor and vulnerable people.

A portion of Wallis' open letter to Boehner:

Many of us agree with you that excessive debtisa moral issue - that we should not leave a crushing financial burden for our children and grandchildren. We also believe that bringing our budgets more in line with our resources and reducing the deficit are both good, even moral, things to do. But while we agree that reducing massive deficits is a moral issue, we also believe thathowwe reduce deficits is a moral issue.

Mr. Speaker, do you really believe that every weapons system and line item of spending in the military budgetis necessary to keep us safe? That every dollar sent to defense contractors is more important than money for bed nets to prevent malaria or vaccinations to save lives in the world's poorest places or for early childhood development and good education in our nation's poorest neighborhoods? And should teachers, police officers, and firefighters bear heavier burdens than bankers, corporate CEO's, and hedge fund operators in the name of deficit reduction? Those priorities seem backwards to many of us.

You said, "We have a moral responsibility to address the problems we face. That means working together to cut spending.Let's do that. Invite us over to start talking about the moral issues at stake here. We'd love to come and meet you and have that discussion about morality and the deficit.

The full letter can be read here, and a copy of yesterday's press release regarding the Politico ad signed by 28 major Christian leaders can be read here.

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Jim Wallis is the president and CEO of Sojourners, the largest network of social justice Christians in the United States focused on the biblical call to social justice. Wallis is also author of the New York Times bestsellers God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It and The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World,Reviving Faith & Politics. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.

Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit www.sojo.net, and www.GodsPolitics.com.