WASHINGTON, DC - Rev. Adam Taylor, President of Sojourners and Rev. Jim Wallis, Founder and Ambassador of Sojourners along with 17 other Christian leaders, as a part of the Circle of Protection, have sent a letter to President Biden and every member of Congress affirming the importance of justice for poor and marginalized people in the Build Back Better legislation that they will now be considering. Although Congress passed a massive COVID relief bill earlier this month, more must be done to support recovery from the pandemic in a way that makes our country better than it was before.
“This is a moment that will define the course of our nation for generations to come,” Rev. Adam Taylor said. “As this pandemic has laid bare deep-seated racial inequities and systemic racism continues to affect the country and world, we must demand our elected officials protect the most vulnerable while we also build a green economy. We cannot allow for more people to fall through the cracks as we rebuild our economy.”
“The hardships of the pandemic have revealed deep inequities which exacerbated the suffering of many historically marginalized communities and groups,” Rev. Jim Wallis said. “Providing aid to Americans facing poverty and economic insecurity is something that is core to people of faith and essential for the common good. We must build back better with this in mind.”
The letter says: "We need to shift toward an economy that allows all people to thrive and protects the environment that sustains us. This will require concrete steps to address the legacy of racial injustice in the U.S. and commitment to rectify the structural inequalities experienced by so many, especially communities of color." It outlines areas of public investment that would provide livable-wage jobs for workers and keep people out of poverty. It also notes that hunger, poverty, and conflict around the world have surged during the pandemic and recommends funding for international aid.
The Circle of Protection supports paying for some of these public investments with increased taxes on corporations and high-income Americans. "Our shared conviction on this controversial point is grounded in Jesus' teaching," the leaders wrote. "The Hebrew prophets were clear that nations sometimes need to make big changes, and we think now is such a time.”
The Circle of Protection is a broad and unprecedented coalition of church and ministry leaders from the main families of U.S. Christianity — Catholic, evangelical Protestant, ecumenical Protestant, the Historic African American churches, and Latino churches — working to address issues of poverty and hunger through advocacy work. Together, the church bodies in the Circle of Protection have close to 100 million members. This letter is the first time since the Circle began that these leaders have outlined a vision for long-term change.