The Common Good


'Faithful Filibuster': Religious Leaders Address Government Shutdown

Wallis pointed out that the voices often missing in Washington’s ideological battles are the ones that need national attention. “That’s why we need a faithful filibuster, a vigil for the poor,” he said. “There are more than 2,000 verses in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures about the poor — about suffering and indifference, injustice and oppression — all with God inviting compassion and calling for justice.”

What Could Happen If US Defaults?

Source: Gulf News
Date: October 16, 2013
Reverend Jim Wallis (centre) leads a prayer in front of the Capitol Building yesterday in Washington, DC. Yesterday marked the 16th day of government shutdown and the last day to a solution before government could potentially begin defaulting on debts.

Religious Leader: 'Words From Capitol Hill...Make Me Ache'

Date: October 16, 2013
Jim Wallis, founder of the Christian community Sojourners, is frustrated. “The words from the Capitol this week make me ache. They really make me ache,” he said. Wallis has been at the Capitol every day for a week and he’s hurting inside. “The words from politicians and pundits make me ache. We've lost the common good,” he declared.

Joining the #FaithfulFilibuster from Des Moines

People around the country have taken notice of the #FaithfulFilibuster and want to lend their voices. From Pastor Sarah Trone Garriot in Des Moines, Iowa: "Since we couldn't be in Washington to join you, a few of us pastors got together and visited our Iowa Representative's office." 

After reading through select Bible verses, the group read the following statement: 

To the Honorable Representative Tom Latham:

We believe that the recent government shutdown is not just a failure of the process of governance.  This shutdown is born of the failure to follow Jesus’ commandment to “love our neighbor.” (Luke 10:25-37)  

We have witnessed hard hearts as our elected representatives squander their time and energy to attack one another and create failure.

We have witnessed our elected representatives acting without mercy when it comes the poor, the vulnerable, the sick, and the stranger.

As Americans, we are at our best when we come together to work for the common good.  This shutdown, and the divisive behavior that gave birth to it, is an insult to our nation.  We can do better.

[contined at the jump]

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Group Calls On Meadows To End Government Shutdown

Date: October 15, 2013
According to Faithful America, the petition was signed by more than 150 Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders, including prominent national figures such as the Rev. Larry Snyder, the president of Catholic Charities USA; Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK; Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners; the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; the Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good; and Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Agency.

Bringing Good News to the Poor

I couldn’t believe what I heard. On my television screen a member of Congress quoted the Bible in defense of cutting SNAP benefits. He stated in his testimony, “Scripture says if you don’t work you don’t eat.” The only Scripture that came to my mind as I looked on in sadness was “Jesus wept.”

You see, I had just come from the food pantry my church has operated for more than 20 years. With the economic downturn, our pantry volume has steadily increased from 15 to an average of 40-50 families each day we are open. These families are able to shop with us one time in 30 days, and we attempt to provide three meals a day, for three days, for each member of the household. Our clients are beautiful people who are struggling. Each and every day we hear statements such as, “I never thought I would have to come to a food pantry to feed my family,” or “We just can’t make it to the end of the month.” Our clients come from all walks of life and have one thing in common: they’re struggling.

So, as I listened to the congressman use Scripture to marginalize the very people I care for every day, I felt I needed to do something. I could no longer be silent as the Bible was being used to hurt vulnerable people. I had to speak, and I remembered the Faithful Filibuster. I sent a tweet to Jim Wallis asking if they needed support or extra voices, and he replied that in fact they did. This was a Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., my daughter and I were on the road from Ohio to Washington, D.C., the next morning at 5:30.

We arrived in D.C. at 1:45 just in time to change and walk to the small pulpit labeled #FaithfulFillibuster for our 2:30 time slot. As I stepped onto the grass and began to read, the long hours of the trip began to fade away as the words of the Gospel began to cross my lips. I remember feeling that I would have driven a thousand miles to be able to proclaim the good news of the message of Christ and to speak the Word out loud in a way that comforted God’s people. I would have kept on reading until I couldn’t do it anymore, true filibuster style, all the while looking at the Capitol building with all her power. Our Christian story is one of liberation, new life, abundance, and mercy. It is a story that brings good news to the poor, and I will tell it until I no longer have breath.

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Broomfield Enterprise Letter To The Editor: Ayn Rand And The Shutdown

Date: October 13, 2013
Folks who claim Christianity as their religion care more about following the teaching of an atheist Russian immigrant than the teachings of a man who they themselves claim to be the son of God. As Jim Wallis has said, what's happening is that people's politics is driving their theology rather than their theology driving their politics.

Re: Gov. Shutdown; An Appeal To Paul Krugman And The NY Times: Stop Being Polite, It's Time To Expose Extremist Religion's Threat To Our Democracy

Date: October 7, 2013
One other thing, I know from experience: Not all evangelicals or Roman Catholics are of the right or part of the problem. For instance my friend and Huffington Post columnist Jim Wallis, or the people running the Wild Goose Festival with their in-gathering of progressive believers are on the side of sanity and compassion. But the good guys don't run the religion show in America.

Inequality Means More than Just Money

Robert Reich pulls up in his silver Mini Cooper, quipping that he and his car are in proportion to each other. Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, identifies himself with the underdog, the little man.

His new movie, Inequality for All, looks into the effects of wealth inequality in the United States. Throughout this semi-autobiographical documentary, Reich consistently leans on his self-deprecating sense of humor by poking fun at his own physical stature; he’s 4’10 ½’’ tall. The jokes, however, do lead back to the heavier issue at hand – the American worker is getting squeezed out of the middle class.

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