We face clear moral choices in priorities of our federal budget

by Rev. Peg Chemberlin

This piece appeared in the National Catholic Reporter on June 5, 2013.

Budgets are moral documents. I first heard that conviction while at a table of the National Council of Churches many decades ago. Against the backdrop of debt ceiling drama, sequestration politics and budget battles, it is a vital call today. This conviction has been the consistent message from America's faith leaders across the theological and ideological spectrum. And it is a drum we will continue to beat until our elected officials listen. The budgets crafted by our leaders are not obscure Washington documents. They impact human lives and have real consequences, and they should reflect the values we hold as a nation.

One example of the clear moral choices we face in our federal budget is highlighted in the new report "Faithful Budget, Faithful Stewardship," released by the National Council of Churches. The report details how current policies are giving $10.17 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to the oil, gas and coal industry. For members of Congress who say they are concerned about deficits and the national debt, this would seem an obvious place to find savings. Instead, Congress has proposed slashing spending by $3.86 billion for vital social safety net programs that exist largely to ensure low-income children have access to proper health care, to food, to homes with adequate heating and cooling, and to early education.

To read the full piece, please go to the National Catholic Reporter.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the positions of Oxfam America.

The Rev. Peg Chemberlin is president of the National Council of Churches

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