Washington, D.C., June 21, 2017–Christian leaders from across the theological and political spectrum, including Ecumenical Poverty Initiative Director Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, today expressed opposition to federal budget cuts that would harm people living in hunger and poverty. Their statement represents the first broad-based, ecumenical response to the ongoing budget debates since the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.
The Christian leaders belong to the Circle of Protection, a broad coalition of leaders from all the families of U.S. Christianity who have come together around the biblical mandate to protect poor and vulnerable people. They are calling on “political leaders in the House and the Senate to express their faith convictions in their votes.”
The statement reads in part, “The Trump Administration’s budget proposal has now been presented to Congress. We believe budgets are moral documents; they reveal our values and show our priorities, whether for families, churches, organizations, or governments. Budgets show who and what we view as important, and, likewise, who and what are not. We have deep moral concerns about the way this budget would impact those we are called to protect…”
In her remarks at the press conference, Dr. Copeland-Tune stated, “This proposed budget will starve the hungry, jeopardize the lives of the sick and sanction the polluting of the water we drink and the air we breathe. All of this, to give tax breaks to the wealthiest in our nation. If I were to use a biblical example, I would say that this budget is one that requires the poor, elderly, and low and moderate income families to make bricks without straw!”
The church leaders also reiterated their commitment to working with all members of Congress to build a budget that defends those who need protecting. They urged Congress to improve the U.S. healthcare system in ways that guard the health of people who are most at risk.
“As Congress considers budget and appropriation bills and potential health care legislation, we urge our leaders to approve bills that do not put the lives of the most vulnerable in danger…”
The Trump administration has proposed significant budget cuts to programs for people who are poor, hungry, weak, sick, and vulnerable. This includes cuts to programs such as SNAP (formerly food stamps), Medicaid, and foreign assistance.
Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune’s statement can be found here.