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God, Hear Our Prayer
Today, I stopped eating—and will only drink water for the rest of the week.
I usually fast in private, but I am provoked to make a public stand as Congress has proposed massive budgets cuts to programs that disproportionately affect the neediest among us. I joined four other leaders at a press conference this morning to announce our fast. More than 4,000 activists throughout the country and heads of 38 anti-hunger organizations have committed to join us in this fast.
While we need to balance the federal budget and cut the deficit, we must not do it on the backs of poor people. The legislation passed by the House of Representatives last month makes hefty cuts to federal nutrition programs, reduced-price lunches, and food stamps—roughly 22 percent of the budget. Representatives left untouched the 78 percent of the budget that contains the big-ticket items of defense, Social Security, Medicare, and tax breaks to the wealthy.
I’m a Lutheran pastor, and I have not come across any biblical injunction against taxing the wealthy. Yet the Bible constantly reminds us to take care of the least of our brethren. If our representatives and senators are unwilling to listen to the needs of hungry and poor people, maybe they will listen to God.
Our prayer is simple: We invite God to reshape our personal priorities and the priorities of our nation, and we call on God to help us form a circle of protection around programs that are needed by the most vulnerable among us. Amen.
David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.
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