Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bishop Griswold condemns Federal Budget

Christians rally against Bush budget -15/03/05

Members of the National Council of Churches and the Interfaith
Alliance in the US have staged a rally on Capitol Hill against
President Bush's proposed budget.

On a day devoted to lobbying members of Congress, participants heard
speakers charge that the president's budget favors military spending
and tax breaks for the wealthy while ignoring the needs of the poor.

They chanted in unison, "This budget does not reflect our values."

The president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, said
people of faith should "take back religion from those who use it for
selfish purposes" and "listen to the prophet Isaiah, who exhorts us to
share our bread with the hungry."

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop And Primate of the
Episcopal Church, USA is amongst those who have previously suggested
that the 2.6 trillion dollar spending plans for 2006, fail to reflect
gospel priorities.

Other Christian campaigners in the US have also condemned the budget
proposals as standing 'in opposition to biblical values'.

As feared by demonstrators at the President's inauguration the budget
includes increases in military spending while at the same time
proposing major cuts to domestic programs that benefit people living
in poverty, both in the US and abroad.

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal church in the US warned several
months ago that the budget was a 'moral document'.

Griswold had said; "In the life of our nation, one of the most
concrete expressions of our shared moral values and priorities is the
federal budget."

He proposed three criteria for "examining whether a budget properly
reflects America's values"; whether the budget was 'compassionate',
whether it served the 'human family', both at home and around the
world, and whether it served the 'common good'.

"While there are some areas in President Bush's budget that give me
hope" he said, "I am deeply disheartened by others."

"In particular, I am concerned that this budget neglects and
exacerbates our nation's healthcare crisis, especially for children
and seniors, and fails to honour the commitments our nation has made
to combating poverty and disease overseas. Such a budget is not a
reflection of the compassionate values of our nation, nor of the
Gospel's command to care for the least among us."

The Bishop pointed out that forty-five million Americans lack access
to quality and affordable health care, an increase of five million
over the past three years.

"This budget exacerbates the problem by recommending deep cuts in
Medicaid" the bishop said, "of which the most bruising impact of these
cuts will fall upon the neediest in our midst: the poor, children,
senior citizens, and the disabled and states will be hard-pressed to
make up the difference.

"If our federal budget is to reflect the values of the American
people, it must better care for the neediest among us."

The bishop also said that the budget proposals affecting help for
developing countries fell short of the commitments the President had
previously made.

For the second time in two years, the primate of the Episcopal Church
in the USA said, there were significant cuts to the U.S. contribution
to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and funds
the MCA at just 60 percent of its promised level.

"These figures are particularly problematic when viewed alongside the
budget's other cuts in foreign-aid programs." said the bishop.

"As the President has observed in the past, our nation's efforts to
combat poverty and disease abroad are not just a matter of
humanitarian obligation, but a necessity in building a more secure and
stable world."

However, the bishop did praise the provision of 150 million US dollars
in aid "to the Palestinian people."

"It is my sincere prayer that this is a signal that the United States
has re-committed itself to helping to lead a political process to end
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At this unique moment of
opportunity, the vision of a two-state solution is coming back into
focus, giving me hope that Palestinians and Israelis may both soon
live in freedom and security" the bishop concluded.


At 10:03 PM, Blogger The Analyst said...

As I note in my blog, I believe that it is important that we ask the question, "Is the United States' foreign aid really effective at achieving its intended goals?" I think that this article does a great job emphasizing that we should be concerned with assisting the world’s poor. However, in seeking to achieve their relief, I believe we should consider long term development in addition to meeting their daily needs. If individuals promote foreign aid as an effective tool for providing lasting relief, we need to determine if it really works.


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