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Five Denominations, NCC Join to Declare FY2006 Proposed Budget "Unjust"

Washington, D.C., March 8, 2005 - Five major U.S. denominations today joined their voices to declare that the fiscal year 2006 budget proposed by the Bush Administration is unjust.  All five are National Council of Churches USA members, and the NCC joined them at a news conference here to say, "For the most part this is a budget that ignores the needs of the poor, children and the elderly."

The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church are part of a broader faith community effort to shape a federal budget that gives priority to the moral value of caring for society's most weak and vulnerable members. 

  • FaithfulAmerica.org, the NCC's online advocacy community working for a more just and compassionate nation, today issued "72+5=A Better Budget for America.". The campaign notes that in the FY2006 proposed budget, 72 percent of the tax cuts benefit the wealthiest one-fifth Americans and  5 percent of the tax cuts benefit the poorest two-fifths of Americans. The campaign asks each FaithfulAmerica.org member for "72 seconds of your time and 5 of your friends to help us reach our goal of a total of 72,000 signatures on a Petition calling for a higher vision for our nation's budget."
     
  • "Let Justice Roll: Faith and Community Voices Against Poverty," a joint campaign led by the NCC and Center for Community Change, issued a statement last week "A Vision of Hope and Justice" that states that the "federal budget should reflect the values of equality, opportunity, and justice that honors the poor, supports families, and builds strong, viable communities.  The Bush Administration’s FY2006 budget is morally misguided and misrepresents the true values of the American people." "Let Justice Roll" is sponsoring a March 8 National Call-In Day on the Federal Budget.
     
  • On March 14, the NCC and The Interfaith Alliance will cosponsor a noon rally at the U.S. Capitol's West Front to declare, "This budget does NOT reflect our values."  Asserts their invitation to the rally, "Budgets are moral documents, because they reflect our priorities.  Stand together with other people of faith and declare that the Administration's proposed FY2006 budget does not reflect our moral values."

Following is the statement by the NCC's Associate General Secretary for Justice and Advocacy, the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, released at today's five-denomination news conference.

Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell
Associate General Secretary for Justice & Advocacy
National Council of Churches USA

Statement on Budget

The National Council of Churches USA stands in solidarity with five of our member denominations - The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church - in declaring that the fiscal year 2006 budget proposed by the Bush Administration is unjust. For the most part this is a budget that ignores the needs of the poor, children and the elderly.

As Christians we are called to speak out against injustice. Jesus told us by his words and actions that we are to bring good news to the poor, feed those who are hungry, clothe those who are naked, care for the sick and visit those who are imprisoned. Our faith compels us to stand boldly and firmly against a budget that cuts programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, veteran’s health services and other human services in order to support military might, war spending and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, as well as to undergird the costs of a projected $427 billion deficit.

Instead we propose a budget that reflects the words of the prophet Micah “to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). That means that the federal budget that is approved should provide the poor, families and communities with the tools to meet their basic needs such as access to nutritious food and quality child care, accessible and affordable housing, comprehensive and affordable health care, a fair and just tax system and a livable income.

In his State of the Union speech, President Bush said that a “society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable” and that “one of the deepest values of our country is compassion." The National Council of Churches USA strongly urges Congress to develop and pass a revised budget - one that cares for the weak and vulnerable and is just, compassionate and truly reflects the moral values of our nation.

-end-

The National Council of Churches USA is the leading ecumenical body in the United States and includes 36 member churches - among them mainline Protestant, historically African American, Orthodox and Peace churches - which, in turn, have approximately 45 million congregants in more than 100,000 local congregations nationwide.

Media Contact: Rev. Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350 or 202-297-2191; ltune@ncccusa.org


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