Faith Leaders Denounce Brinkmanship as Budget, Debt Ceiling Deadlines Loom

Faith Leaders Denounce Brinkmanship as Budget, Debt Ceiling Deadlines Loom

September 30, 2013

Dear Senator/Representative:

As leaders of faith communities and organizations comprising millions of people from all walks of life across our nation, we are deeply concerned by the completely avoidable budget and financial crises we are fast approaching as a nation.

Though Congress must pass the federal budget, it belongs to every American. This common fund formed of our combined tax revenues is designed to support the shared infrastructure, well-being, and long-term ethical values of our society. As people of faith we find it morally irresponsible to blockade the process by which we provide for our nation’s shared needs in a bid to force any individual legislative priority.

It would likewise be reckless to propel the United States into financial default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling for spending that Congress has already approved. Shuttering the federal government or defaulting on the nation’s financial commitments is likely to reverse our fragile economic recovery, punish the middle class, and deeply harm our most vulnerable neighbors.

Our democracy rests on principles of reason, compromise, and a commitment to the common good. To hold our governance processes and financial credibility hostage to narrow priorities is not only dangerous to the nation’s near-term financial well-being, it threatens the very foundations of our democratic process and our capacity to live united in community.

We ask that lawmakers address their concerns through the proper legislative channels. It ill serves our nation and people to stand in the way of funding federal operations or raising the debt ceiling in an effort to block implementation of health care legislation that Congress duly enacted. We ask that congressional leadership of both parties stand strong in opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good.

We commit to keeping you in prayer, asking that God continue to give you wisdom as you faithfully serve our nation during this time when the country most needs your principled leadership.


Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service

Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World

Dr. Lester A. Myers, President, Center of Concern

Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service

Dr. Jack Sullivan, President, Disciples Justice Action Network

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Linda Hanna Walling, Executive Director, Faithful Reform in Health Care

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF, President, Franciscan Action Network

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President, Interfaith Alliance

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America

Rabbi Steve Gutow, President, Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Sr. Janet Mock, CSJ, Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Fr. Tim Mulroy, SSC, U S. Regional Director, Missionary Society of St. Columban

Salam Al-Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council

Sr. Gayle Lwanga Crumbley, RGS, National Coordinator, National Advocacy Center of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Jack Payden-Travers, Director, National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund

Peg Birk, Transitional General Secretary, National Council of Churches

Nancy Kaufman, Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Jewish Women

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Rev. Kip B. Banks, Interim General Secretary, Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Sr. Patricia McDermott, RSM, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners

Rev. Peter Morales, President, Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz, President, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President, and Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries United Church of Christ

Bishop Peter D. Weaver, Executive Secretary, The Council of Bishops, The United Methodist Church

Shan Cretin, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee