At the National Council of Churches, I share my time between the eco-justice and poverty programs. With the latest Federal Budget negotiations, my worlds are converging.
A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, more commonly known as the “Super Committee,” has been given immense power to make recommendations to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget. Every program under the sun, from programs that care for Women, Infants, and Children to programs that care for God’s Creation is under consideration for significant cuts. An interfaith coalition has come together with a sense of urgency around protecting the most vulnerable from severe cuts. We have come together to pray and work for a “Faithful Budget.” On the front lawn of the United Methodist building on Capitol Hill, we host regular public prayer vigils for a Faithful Budget. Now we’re inviting everybody to join us.
In the coming weeks surrounding the date Nov. 20th, faith communities across the nation will hold “Super Vigils,” praying for our nation’s leaders and their decision-making processes. We pray for a just and compassionate budget that protects the most vulnerable. Click here to join the November 20th Facebook event so you can participate in the vigils on the phone or online.
Click here to learn more about the faithful budget campaign.
Below is the Faithful Budget litany, which can also be accessed online here. Please join us in prayer:
A Litany for a Faithful National Budget
(Prepared by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns)
Leader: Let us pray…
All: Blessed be our God.
Leader I: Twenty percent of all children in the United States live in poverty. We cannot leave our children a legacy of rising debt, nor can we leave them a legacy of rising poverty.
All: We pray for a just and compassionate budget that protects all our children from hunger and homelessness, from inadequate education and healthcare, from poverty. Our God hears the cry of the children who are poor. Blessed be our God.
Leader: Many older adults in the United States live near or below the poverty line. Social Security and Medicare are their lifelines. We cannot neglect the very real needs of our senior citizens.
All: We pray for a just and compassionate budget that protects our elders from poverty, financial insecurity and inadequate healthcare. Our God hears the cry of our seniors who are poor or vulnerable. Blessed be our God.
Leader: Women in the United States are disproportionately served by the social safety net. Women rely on many of the programs facing drastic cuts – from Medicare and Medicaid to SNAP and TANF, from SSI and Pell grants to domestic violence prevention to nutrition and child care. We cannot ignore the real needs of women in our society or fail to address the systemic injustice that perpetuates their vulnerability.
All: We pray for a just and compassionate budget that protects women from poverty, financial insecurity, inadequate healthcare and physical danger. Our God hears the cry of the women.Blessed be our God.
Leader: With an official unemployment rate over nine percent, millions of U.S. Americans are struggling to meet their most basic needs. Yet an unjust federal budget could reduce or eliminate assistance for unemployed families.
All: We pray for a just and compassionate budget that responds to the needs of those who are unemployed, protecting them and their dependents as much as possible from the overwhelming anxiety of financial insecurity and lost self‐esteem. Our God hears the cry of those who are unemployed. Blessed be our God.
Leader: We live in a world that is intensely interconnected. Loving our neighbors requires that we promote the global common good. Yet, programs that respond to HIV and AIDS, extreme poverty, food insecurity, overwhelming debt, violence against women, natural disasters and other urgent needs are likely to be severely cut.
All: We pray for a just and compassionate budget that responds to the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world. Our God hears the cry of those who live on the margins of our world. Blessed be our God.
Leader: God’s good creation continues to suffer from our use and abuse of its precious gifts. The enforcement of laws that protect the integrity of creation could be severely compromised by unjust budgetary decisions.
All: We pray for a just and compassionate budget that respects and protects the integrity of creation. Our God hears the cry of Earth. Blessed be our God.
Leader: For the gift of vision to see a way forward that is just and compassionate.
All: Give us your vision.
Leader V: For the gift of conviction to work with vigor for a just solution to the crises we face.
All: Give us your courage.
Leader: Spirit of God, renew the hearts of all of us who are gathered here. Inspire Congress and the administration to act justly and to protect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, here and around the world. Reinvigorate our nation’s vision of the common good.
All: May God, our Creator and parent, breathe into us new life and new meaning. May the Wisdom of God breathe into us new hope and a new awareness. May the Spirit of God breathe into us a new spirit and a new understanding of the world in which we live. AMEN.