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170 posts categorized "Bible on Hunger"
At Bread, we talk about the budget as a moral document outlining our country’s priorities. Taxes are a necessary part of that equation. We often hear that Washington has a spending problem. But really, what we have is a deficit problem. Since a deficit occurs when you spend more than you take in, when people say “spending problem,” they’re ignoring half of the equation.
With all of the heated discussion about taxes, it would be convenient to turn away from the deficit issue and say, “Let’s ignore taxes: they’re complicated; they’re controversial; and they’re boring.” However, as devoted followers of Jesus, we are not the types who choose a path based on convenience. We don’t talk only on those issues that make everyone comfortable. As Christians, we speak from an understanding of the way things could be—when the stranger is given something to eat and widows and orphans are cared for.
Thus, the budget debates and the fiscal problems faced by this country lead us to talk taxes. To help move the conversation, Bread has published a new action guide on taxes, which combines our specific public policy prescriptions with underlying biblical principles—to help you speak up.
We must start talking about taxes, and we need to start talking today. If we do not push our elected leaders to bring in more tax revenue, then our voices will call out in vain to fund vital programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), poverty-focused development assistance, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, Food for Peace, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids, school lunches, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Our deficit situation is so severe in the long-term, that without additional revenue we will be unable to fund programs for hungry and poor people at anything close to their current levels over the long term—unless Congress makes unthinkable and politically impossible cuts. Nearly all mainstream economists agree that we simply cannot cut our way out of this situation. This is not calculus or complex economics. It is simple arithmetic.
Major deficit reduction packages over the past quarter century have not only maintained a commitment to not increase poverty, they’ve also all included substantial tax revenues.
Amelia Kegan is a senior policy analyst at Bread for the World.
I sat in my cubicle mesmerized by my student’s depiction of his life for 13 years in rural Africa: raised beds of vegetables, dusty dirt roads stretching to the horizon, smiling faces dripping with sweat in the bright orange sun.
As a professor at Eastern University, I traded in my life in humanitarian aid, development, and missions for the privilege of training Christian relief workers with a powerful set of program planning and economic tools set within the framework of Kingdom principles. But on days like this one, I still feel like the student.
As David recounted stories of his narrow escape from war-torn South Sudan, he transported me to the joys and struggles of life as a refugee. I learned that David alone survived from his family. I heard the story of his settlement within a refugee camp outside of his nation’s borders, the new farming techniques he mastered, and the privilege given to him to travel to other sites to teach the art of soil cultivation, crop rotation, and farming.
Photo by Flickr user upyernoz
Syria is imploding, with unspeakable massacres and civil war. Inevitably, in some way, the U.S. and its allies will step in — as we did in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Whether we like it or not, our nation is on the road to Damascus, Syria’s capital. The apostle Paul found that road deeply life-changing. What will our nation be open to learn as we turn our own journey toward Damascus?
Classics scholar Sarah Ruden, in Christianity Today in September 2010, said, “What characterizes our society at its best is the habit of looking at ourselves with a critical attitude. I think this really started for Western civilization on the road to Damascus. Paul is doing what he’s expected to do in his environment. He’s involved in persecution … .[Then] he has this revelation, and is forced to answer the questions. What are you doing? What are you actually doing? Why are you persecuting me? That is, what you do to the world, what you do to other people, is what you do to God.”
"Jesus really wasn’t about being successful. Jesus was about being faithful ..."
--Sister Simone Campbell in an interview with Bread for the World.
Yesterday, the government relations interns at Bread for the World braved the ‘July-in-DC’ humidity with more than 100 individuals, including members of Congress, NGOs, faith groups, and numerous anti-hunger advocacy organizations, to oppose the draft farm bill released by the House Agriculture Committee. Together, in front of the Capitol, we raised our voices – and our signs – against the proposed $16.5 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). These proposed cuts would cause 2 to 3 million people to lose their SNAP benefits entirely, cause another 500,000 households to see a $90 reduction in monthly benefits, and end free school meals for nearly 300,000
Hungry children and struggling families are not just numbers or statistics -- they are human lives. They are our friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans. As each Member of Congress stood up and spoke, we heard different viewpoints on the same message: “We must protect SNAP to protect these families.” The 10 congressional leaders at this event spoke with shakings fists, raised arms, and words of devout promise -- they will not stand by and allow the $16.5 billion cut to SNAP.
Sister Simone Campbell leads evening worship at Bread for the World's Hunger Justice Leaders Program in Washington, DC, on Sunday, June 10, 2012. Sister Simone leads Network, a Catholic social justice lobby group that launched a Nuns on the Bus tour to bring light to federal budget cuts that hurt poor and hungry people. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World
From June 17 to July 2, a small group of nuns toured the nation by bus to protest budget cuts that would endanger poor and hungry people in the United States. Known as the "nuns on the bus," this powerful contingent of women religious raised awareness at every stop on their tour about cuts to federal funding for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The bus tour ended Monday, July 2, with a rousing rally in Washington, DC (see our coverage of the event here).
On Tuesday, we sat down with Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network -- a primary organizing group of the bus tour -- to hear her stories from the road and find out what we can expect next from the "nuns on the bus."
Read part 2 of our interview below. (Read part 1 of our interview here.)
Where did you grow up? And were you aware of social injustice growing up?
I grew up in California. I grew up in Long Beach. But my sister and I -- this was the late '50s -- and so my sister and I really cared about civil rights when we were young. Dr. Martin Luther King was our hero, and so that shaped me early on.
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby, speaks at the "Nuns on the Bus" tour stop on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Monday, July 2, 2012. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.
From June 17 to July 2, a small group of nuns toured the nation by bus to protest budget cuts that would endanger poor and hungry people in the United States. Known as the "nuns on the bus," this powerful contingent of women religious raised awareness at every stop on their tour about cuts to federal funding for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The bus tour ended yesterday with a rousing rally in Washington, DC (see our coverage of the event here). Today, we sat down with Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network -- a primary organizing group of the bus tour -- to hear her stories from the road and find out what we can expect next from the "nuns on the bus."
Read part 1 of our interview below. (Part 2 will be posted on the Bread Blog later this week.)
Why did you want to go on a bus tour of the nation?
Well, we needed to get the story out into the country about what was going on, on Capitol Hill. People don’t understand what’s happening with the House budget. And we needed to get to places where ordinary people are. Unlike some presidential candidates, you can’t exactly fly from place to place for us. So it seemed to make sense to do a bus. And then we got to joking about nuns and school buses (laughing). But, actually, it was a genius idea.
United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic) pastors bless more than 500 letters urging Congress to protect programs that are vital to hungry and poor people. The letters were collected as part of Bread for the World’s annual Offering of Letters campaign. From L to R: Lewis Payne, Bishop, Shrewsbury, PA; Robert Williams, Bishop, Richmond Heights, OH; Izett Scott, Bishop, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Cleven Jones, Bishop, Detroit, MI; Monroe Saunders, Presiding Bishop, Baltimore, MD; Colie L. Lorick, Bishop, Columbia, SC; Don Williams, Bishop, Martinsville, VA; Louis Stokes, Bishop; Hampton, VA; John M. Lewis, Bishop, Waldorf, MD; Robert Johnson, Bishop, Baltimore, MD.
Bread for the World participated in the 46th Annual International Holy Convocation held June 20 to 23, 2012. Nearly 70 United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic) pastors -- including Bishop Don Williams, racial/ethnic outreach associate at Bread -- gathered from around the country in Baltimore, MD, for the annual event. Pastors delivered 509 hand-written and typed letters from churches all across the country for Bread’s Offering of Letters campaign.
During the closing worship service on June 23, the letters were blessed by Monroe Saunders, Presiding Bishop for the United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic.) Churches came together and over 2500 people attended the conference on the last day. The event demonstrated an important show of support for poor people by the bishop and churches.
Sister Simone Campbell (waving) and other sisters from the "Nuns on the Bus" tour wave to a crowd of about 120 people waiting for them on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Monday, July 2, 2012. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.
Crowds of reporters and enthusiastic supporters gathered in front of the United Methodist Building to welcome the "Nuns on the Bus" back to Washington, DC. The song "Eye of the Tiger" played as the nuns got off the bus, much as if they were rock stars entering a sold-out concert.
Dozens of hand-made signs with messages such as, “You speak truth and power,” colored the rally.
The sisters hope to influence Congress to create “reasonable revenue for responsible programs,” the five-word mantra for their alternative budget . Driving for “faith, family and fairness,” their journey, says the sisters was “spirit-driven.”
Bread staffers (from left to right) Carter Echols, Nancy Neal, LaMarco Cable, Jen Fraser, and Michael Smith at the Bread for the World tent at the Wild Goose Festival in Shakori Hill, NC, from June 21 to 24, 2012.
"Are you trying to bake us in these black T-shirts in this 97 degree summer sun?"
That was the first thing a festival goer said to me at the outdoor Wild Goose Festival in Shakori Hills, NC, this past weekend. I immediately doubted our decision to give away black Bread for the World T-shirts to people who stopped by Bread’s exhibit tent.
Five Bread staffers and I drove to Shakori Hills, NC, on June 21 to join 2,200 artists, faith leaders, and activists to camp at the four-day Wild Goose Festival. Inspired by the United Kingdom’s Greenbelt, the Wild Goose Festival serves as an intersection of justice, spirituality, music, and art. Over the course of the festival, hundreds of attendees stopped by Bread’s 10 by 10 tent to meet Bread staff; play educational games about hunger; contact their members of Congress through social media; eat fresh baked bread; make anti-hunger art; and, yes, receive a free black Bread T-shirt.