If you live in Kentucky, Nevada, or Ohio and listen to Christian or country radio, you'll be hearing some of Sojourners' new radio ads calling for legislators to remember the least of these during this default crisis. For those of you who haven't completed your migration over to Google+, you might also start to see some ads popping up on your Facebook page in the next few days asking you to speak out on behalf of those in need. The reason we are running these ads is simple: The rich have lobbyists while those in need don't, and that's why Christians need to speak out and form a "Circle of Protection." If you don't live in one of these areas (or aren't listening to Christian or country radio) you can listen to the ads here.
Last night, we heard from both the president and the speaker of the House. Their speeches were very different, but both had one glaring omission: Neither of them mentioned how their plans would affect the poor. The Christian tradition teaches that if you forget about the poor, you forget about Jesus.
While many details of the plan in the House and the plan in the Senate are still unclear, both put the burden of deficit reduction on those that can least afford it. But the cuts in the House plan would be far deeper and ultimately devastating to programs that serve low-income and vulnerable people at home and abroad.
That's why we are sending emails to the political leaders in our country who are involved in the decisions about the looming default crisis. This morning, we were joined by Pastor Nan Erbaugh of Lower Miami Church of the Brethren. She lives in Speaker Boehner's district and is a Sojourners supporter who volunteered to help make a radio ad to run in Ohio. She said on the call this morning to announce the ads, "As a pastor, mother, and grandmother, it is imperative to stand together to protect those who are most vulnerable in our society and whose voices are seldom heard inside the Beltway. As Christians, there is no doubt that we are morally accountable to take care of the least of these -- hungry children are the responsibility of each and every one of us. Congress is not making decisions about issues, but about people. I cannot be silent because I am my brother and sister's keeper."
Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing at Sojourners, quoted Isaiah 10, saying it was relevant for today's debates. "Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims. Laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children. What will you have to say on Judgment Day, when Doomsday arrives out of the blue? Who will you get to help you? What good will your money do you?" (The Message).
Pastor Tom Jelinek of Heritage United Methodist Church in Las Vegas summed up the feelings of a lot people in the country when he said, "It has been very frustrating to see the kind of posturing and game playing going on with our leaders, and I think most of them and most of the folks here feel that if politicians could see what we see every day, if they could see how the people here are under great strain already, and how the impact of this default crisis would be a disaster for them, folks in Washington would be motivated to stand with us in advocacy for those are most vulnerable and for whom this default would be an absolute disaster."
Pastor Duane Beachy, co-coordinator of the Mennonite Central Committee's Appalachian Program, recorded an ad for Kentucky. While we were on the call, he was directing a team of volunteers to help install a wheel chair ramp for someone who otherwise couldn't afford one. Rev. Beachy is a great example of a committed Christian living out service to those in need in his own life while calling our political leaders to account for their responsibility to the least of these.
It was Sojourners volunteers who recorded these ads and it's supporters like you that help make sure they are heard. With your gift of $25, we'll reach hundreds more people with radio ads. Imagine how many more will be motivated with your gifts of $50 or $75.