Faith leaders denounce brinkmanship as budget, debt ceiling deadlines loom

debt-news-pdfWASHINGTON/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On the eve of a possible shutdown of the U.S. government, religious leaders denounced the political brinkmanship prevailing in Congress yesterday.

“Shutting down the government will do real damage,” said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, speaking at a press conference on Mon., Sept. 30. “Risking our nation’s creditworthiness will do even more damage. Most clearly, the disruption and uncertainty will put the brakes on our economy.”

With our nation’s leaders failing to come to an agreement on appropriations for the coming months, the U.S. government closed today — the start of the 2014 fiscal year. If no agreement is reached by Oct. 17 on increasing the debt limit, the country’s creditworthiness will be compromised.

In a letter released yesterday, 33 faith leaders urged members of Congress to keep the government open. The letter states:

“Our democracy rests on principles of reason, compromise, and a commitment to the common good. To hold our governance processes and financial credibility hostage to narrow priorities is not only dangerous to the nation’s near term financial being, it threatens the very foundations of our democratic process and our capacity to live united. We ask that congressional leadership of both parties stand strong in opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good.”

The Rev. Beckmann said that the faith leaders have been careful not to side with any one party, but “in fact, the Tea Party caucus is mainly responsible for our political dysfunction.”

“We pray for a spirit of cooperation among the leaders and citizens of our nation,” Beckmann added.

Participating in the press conference yesterday morning were Sister Simone Campbell SSS, executive director, NETWORK, A National Catholics Social Justice Lobby; the Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World (press conference moderator); the Rev. John L. McCullough, president and CEO, Church World Service; Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director, Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances,  Islamic Society of North America; and the Rev. Jim Wallis, president, Sojourners.

A copy of the letter can be downloaded online.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision-makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

SOURCE: Bread for the World

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