Why I'm Joining the Fast for a Better Budget

It’s been an explosive spring.
Keeping up with the daily news and your schoolwork is a juggling act at best. 
Things WILL slip by you.
Especially complex economic/numbers things — the budget.

I’ve done my share of non-profit grunt accounting work but I’m not a math whiz.
Numbers don’t get my heart beating. 
Budgets can intimidate me. But they shouldn’t, because they’re as much about policy as they are about numbers.
The budget bill in the House, H.R. 1, certainly is.
It’s a terrifying bill.
It proposes cuts in WIC, a program that supports women, infants and children, [and] international food and health aid (18 million people would be immediately cut off from a much needed food stream and 4 million would loose access to malaria medicine.) Farmers in underdeveloped countries would also be profoundly affected by the cuts.

I fully agree in reducing deficit spending. We need to make cuts. But cutting at the expense of poor folk, who literally have no voice on the Hill, is unjust. 
As some of us know all too well, there’s a huge wealth divide in the States.
The richest 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all American households combined.
Those 400 have leagues of lobbyists with unending pockets to protect their voice in Washington. The poor don’t have that power.
They don’t have enough money for groceries and rent, let alone to buy the favor of politicians.
There are plenty of other places to cut that wouldn’t end with folks going to bed with empty stomachs.

Growing up in the Episcopal Church, I’ve been taught that budgets (household and national) are a moral issue. 
If I spend all my money on workout clothes and soy lattes and I haven’t set aside money for charity, the collection plate, or to buy my friend a cup of tea when her heart is broken — it says a good deal about the state of my soul. 
Budgets show what you value, what you deem worthy.
And poor folks are certainly more important than how I look at the Rec. They’re also more important than tax loopholes.

So when Jim Wallis of Sojourners and David Beckmann of Bread for the World called for a fast for a better budget, I jumped on board.
In Wallis’s words, throughout April, 20,000 folks will “fast before God, to whom we turn in prayer and hope to change hearts — our hearts, the hearts of our lawmakers and the heart of the nation. We will pray and fast, each of us in our own ways, for mercy, compassion, wisdom, strength and courage as we make the critical budget choices about who and what are most important.”

This is religion at its best.
This is the Church affirming God’s commitment to the poor and the needy and the Church’s own commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.
Starving folks wont get us out of this financial crisis.

Beckmann claims that “you can’t have real religion unless you work for justice for hungry and poor people.”
The Times food critic Mark Bittman joined the fast and claims you can’t have humanity without these things either.
Whether you follow Beckmann or Bittman’s line of thought, I hope you join this fast, this time of prayer and action.

One thought on “Why I'm Joining the Fast for a Better Budget

  1. I love that you speak to this idea that we don’t have to cut from those of us who need it the most. Great reminder to all of us.

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