The Common Good

Religious leaders look for ways to cut US deficit without hurting low-income Americans

Source: Deseret News
Date: December 28, 2012

Meanwhile, a broad coalition of Christian leaders has been quietly working behind the scenes advocating ways to cut the deficit that won't hurt low-income Americans. Due largely to their efforts, some programs that serve the poor were exempted from the sequestration cuts associated with the fiscal cliff — but their work isn't done yet.

"Reducing massive deficits is indeed a moral issue," said a recent statement from the group, which calls itself the Circle of Protection, "and how we do it is also a crucial moral question.”

The 65 primary signatories to the Circle of Protection represent a wide array of denominations and groups: Catholics, Protestants, conservatives, liberals, whites, blacks and Latinos — including the National Association of Evangelicals, the Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Christian social justice organization Sojourners.

Over the past 18 months, the coalition has mobilized churches, communities and campuses to raise awareness about hunger and to write politicians, urging them to protect specific programs.

“When faith-motivated voters in a given district weigh in, that causes politicians to think twice, and we’ve seen that happen,” Beckmann said.