The Common Good

Faith Leaders Urge Compromise As Government Shuts Down

The federal government began shutting down overnight, for the first time since 1996, after Congress failed to compromise on how to fund federal agencies — battling instead over implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

From The Washington Post

The impasse means 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed Tuesday. National parks, monuments and museums, as well as most federal offices, will close. Tens of thousands of air-traffic controllers, prison guards and Border Patrol agents will be required to serve without pay. And many congressional hearings — including one scheduled for Tuesday on last month’s Washington Navy Yard shootings — will be postponed.

Faith leaders on Monday called on Congress to end partisan brinkmanship and consider the real damage their actions have on the American people. Leaders like David Beckmann of Bread for the World, The Rev. Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy of Interfaith Alliance, and Sojourners President Jim Wallis sent a letter to Congress, "that congressional leadership of both parties stand strong in opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good." (Read full letter.)

“The extreme elements that are pushing to shut down the government are not just against both Republican and Democratic traditions of governing: They are hostile to the role of government per se, and that is a biblical problem,” Wallis said in a news conference on Monday. 

In a separate statement, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops echoed the faith leaders' statement, saying "We urge wise bipartisan leadership and moral clarity in crafting a plan to ensure the government continues to operate and meet its responsibility to protect human life and dignity, care for poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, and advance the universal common good." (Read full letter.

Take Action: Tell Congress to Stop the Political Brinkmanship and End the Shutdown

Sandi Villarreal is Web Editor & Director of Online Media for Sojourners.

Image: U.S. Capitol Building, S.Borisov /

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