How to End
A Circle of
Protection: A Statement on Why We Need to
Programs for the Poor
The nation faces
unavoidable choices about how to balance
needs and resources and allocate burdens
and sacrifices. These choices are
economic, political—and moral. As a
community of faith, we believe the moral
measure of the debate is how the most poor
and vulnerable people fare.
We look at every budget
proposal from the bottom up—how it treats
those called “the least of these” (Matthew
25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but
they have the most compelling claim on our
consciences and common resources. The faith
community has an obligation to help them be
heard, to join with others to insist that
programs that serve the most vulnerable in our
nation and around the world are protected. We
know from our experience serving hungry and
homeless people that these programs meet basic
human needs and protect the lives and dignity
of the most vulnerable. We believe that God is
calling us to pray, fast, give alms and to
speak for justice.
leaders, we are committed to fiscal
responsibility and shared sacrifice. We
are also committed to resist budget cuts
that undermine the lives, dignity, and
rights of poor and vulnerable people.
Therefore, we join with others to form a
Circle of Protection around programs that
meet the essential needs of hungry and
poor people at home and abroad.
1. The nation
needs to substantially reduce future
deficits, but not at the expense of hungry
and poor people.
focused on reducing poverty should not be
cut. It should be made as effective as
possible, but not cut.
3. We urge our
leaders to protect and improve
poverty-focused development and humanitarian
assistance to promote a better, safer world.
leaders must review and consider tax
revenues, military spending, and
entitlements in the search for ways to share
sacrifice and cut deficits.
5. A fundamental
task is to create jobs and spur economic
growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the
best path out of poverty, and restoring
growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.
6. The budget
debate has a central moral dimension. People
of faith are asking how we protect “the
least of these.” “How do we share
sacrifice?” "How do we make 'Justice
7. As believers,
we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to
ask for guidance as our nation makes
decisions about our priorities as a people.
8. God continues
to shower our nation and the world with
blessings. As believers, we are rooted in
the love of God. Our task is to share these
blessings with love and justice and with a
special priority for those who are poor.
are moral documents, and how we reduce
future deficits are historic and defining
moral choices. As faith leaders, we urge
Congress and the administration to give
moral priority to programs that protect
the life and dignity of poor and
vulnerable people in these difficult
times… It is the vocation and obligation
of the church to speak and act on behalf
of “the least of these.” This is our
calling, and we strive to be faithful in
carrying out this mission.
"Speak up for
those who cannot speak for themselves, for
the rights of all who are destitute. Speak
up and judge fairly; defend the rights of
the poor and the needy" Proverbs 31:8-9