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30+ Protestant Bishops: Budget is Morally Indefensible, Turns Back on Vulnerable

May 25, 2011, 3:13 pm | Posted by Kristin Ford

As the Senate prepares to vote this evening on the House GOP budget, more than two dozen bishops from the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church sent a letter to Congress today telling lawmakers that the budget contains immoral cuts that would harm the most vulnerable. Clergy signers include the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, and other leading church officials from NY, VA, AZ, NC, MN, OH, TX, ME, AR, IL, OH, OR, SC, MO, AL, MD, TN, WA and WV.

Full statement with signers below.

The statement from over 30 Protestant bishops follows a letter from leading Catholic bishops to Members of Congress reminding them of the moral mandate to care for the most vulnerable and to pursue the common good. Also, dozens of Catholic theologians recently sent a letter to Speaker Boehner in advance of his commencement address at Catholic University, urging him to revisit his record on economic justice issues.

Protestant Bishops’ Statement on the Budget

The federal budget debate in Congress raises essential questions about our values and priorities as a nation. As bishops compelled by the Gospel to give voice to those who suffer at the margins of society, we speak not as policy experts or politicians, but as disciples of Jesus and faithful citizens.

If the moral measure of a just society is found in how we treat the most vulnerable, the budget proposal passed by the House of Representatives, which the Senate will vote on this week, fails the basic tests of justice, compassion and a commitment to the common good.

This budget eviscerates vital nutrition programs for mothers and infants (WIC), and makes cuts to Medicaid that will hurt sick children, struggling families and seniors in nursing homes. Proposed changes to Medicare will break the promise that all American seniors get the healthcare they need by forcing them to buy private insurance without assuring that it is affordable. It asks those who need our help the most to fend for themselves in a volatile marketplace where profit, not human dignity, sets the agenda. Unlike the Good Samaritan, who stopped to care for a wounded stranger on the side of the road, the House budget turns its back on the most vulnerable at a time of grave economic uncertainty even as it endorses policies that gives tax breaks for the privileged few. This is morally indefensible.

We urge Senators voting on the House budget proposal this week to consider the human costs of massive cuts to social programs and come together across partisan lines to shape a budget that defends human dignity and basic economic security for all Americans.

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

New York, NY

Bishop James F. Mauney

Virginia Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Salem, VA

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño

Desert Southwest Annual Conference

United Methodist Church

Phoenix, AZ

Bishop Kenneth L. Carder, retired

United Methodist Church

Durham, NC

Bishop David B. Zellmer

South Dakota Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Sioux Falls, SD

Bishop Ray W. Chamberlin, Jr., retired

United Methodist Church

Winchester, VA

Bishop Wayne K. Clymer, retired

United Methodist Church

Wayzata, MN

Bishop Judith Craig, retired

United Methodist Church

Powell, OH

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire

Bishop Elias G. Galvan, retired

United Methodist Church

Scottsdale, AZ

Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn, Jr.

North Carolina Annual Conference

United Methodist Church

Raleigh, NC

Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks, retired

United Methodist Church

Little Rock, AR

Bishop Stephen S. Talmage

Grand Canyon Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata

Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference

United Methodist Church

Portland, OR

Bishop S. Clifton Ives, retired

United Methodist Church

Portland, ME

Bishop Ernest S. Lyght

West Virginia Annual Conference

United Methodist Church

Charleston, WV

Bishop Joel N. Martinez, retired

United Methodist Church

San Antonio, TX

Bishop Felton Edwin May, retired

United Methodist Church

Riverdale, NY

Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey, retired

United Methodist Church

Lake Junaluska, NC

Bishop Marshall L. Meadors, Jr., Retired

United Methodist Church

Anderson, SC

Bishop Robert C. Morgan

Bishop-in-Residence

United Methodist Church

Birmingham-Southern College

Birmingham, AL

Bishop Albert Frederick Mutti, III, retired

United Methodist Church

Kansas City, MO

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer

Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference

Immediate Past President of the Council of Bishops

United Methodist Church

Springfield, IL

Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader

Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops

United Methodist Church

Chicago, IL

Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, retired

United Methodist Church

London, OH

Bishop Forrest C. Stith, retired

United Methodist Church

Upper Marlboro, MD

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.

United Methodist Church

Holston Annual Conference

Alcoa, TN

Bishop Jack M. Tuell, retired

United Methodist Church

Des Moines, WA

Bishop Joe A. Wilson, retired

United Methodist Church

Georgetown, TX

Bishop George W. Bashore, retired

United Methodist Church

Pittsburgh, PA

Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton

Northeastern Ohio Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Bishop Mike Lowry

Resident Bishop of the Central Texas Conference

United Methodist Church

Fort Worth, TX

Bishop Beverly Shamana, retired

United Methodist Church

Los Angeles, CA

Bishop Richard B. Wilke, retired

United Methodist Church

Winfield, KS

Charles N. Crutchfield

Resident Bishop, Arkansas Conference

United Methodist Church

Little Rock, AR

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.

United Methodist Church

San Francisco Area, CA PO

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward

Mississippi Annual Conference

The United Methodist Church

Jackson, MS

Bishop Marcus Matthews

Upper New York Annual Conference

The United Methodist Church

Baldwinsville, NY

Bishop Charles N. Crutchfield

Arkansas Annual Conference

The United Methodist Church

Little Rock, AR

Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson

Nebraska Annual Conference

The United Methodist Church

Lincoln, NE

Bishop Roy Sano, retired

United Methodist Church

Oakland, CA

Bishop Callon W. Holloway, Jr.

Southern Ohio Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Bishop Neil Irons, retired

Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops

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