As readers of this newsletter, you have received the action alert issued on Mach 25, 2015 by our National President, Sheila Gilbert, asking the Senate to preserve the funding of the programs that help the people we serve and to oppose amendments that would cut assistance to the poor and vulnerable at home and abroad.
Sheila echoed the USCCB by reminding the legislators of the three moral criteria that ought to guide these budgetary decisions:
- Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
- A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or living in poverty should come first.
- Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.
Other religious and civic organizations sent similar recommendations to our legislators, the majority of whom, however, decided not to listen and to balance federal spending by slashing $5 trillion in social, education and health programs over the next decade (for more information click on: http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-us-republicans-pass-3.8-trillion-2016-budget-2015-5#ixzz3aiNUbyde). While the 2016 federal budget, as passed by Congress, might be largely symbolic, as the President might refuse to sign it, it give us a clear indication on who is standing for fundamental Catholic principles, such as solidarity, subsidiarity, and the common good, and who is not.
As Catholics and Vincentians, who strive to help in any way people in poverty, we have a moral obligation to take exception to this type of policy decisions that undermine the work we do. We need to hold our legislators accountable for the positions they take and remember at the next elections that they did not stand for what we believe.