“Don’t Push the Poor and Vulnerable off the ‘Fiscal Cliff'”

November 28, 2012

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, November 29 at 10:30 a.m. EST at the Bread for the World office building (425 Third Street SW), Church World Service Board Chair the Rev. Dr. Earl Trent, will join senior religious officials from 16 states and the heads of some of the nation’s most prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations to tell the Obama Administration and Congress, “Don’t push the poor and most vulnerable off the ‘fiscal cliff.’”

Rev. Trent, who is senior pastor of Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and the religious leaders are speaking up on behalf of those living in poverty in the United States and abroad; fighting for those who did the least to create the country’s deficit problems, but who may suffer the most because of it. The faith community is working through a number of national campaigns to raise the moral principle of protecting the poor and vulnerable in all federal budget debates, and to “speak the truth” to lawmakers that the deficit is the result of inadequate revenue, an unnecessary level of military spending and a recession that has pushed even more people into poverty. The faith leaders are seeking to prevent budget negotiators from preserving tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest while making deep cuts to programs that support vulnerable families here and abroad.

Religious officials from Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia as well as the District of Columbia are in Washington this week as part of a multi-denominational and interreligious effort to encourage budget negotiators to maintain robust funding for vital humanitarian and poverty-focused assistance programs.

At Thursday’s media conference, where Rev. Trent will offer the prayer, and in meetings with House and Senate leadership, the state and national religious leaders will warn that deep cuts to programs such as the International Development, Disaster Assistance and Food Aid programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program Head Start, Medicaid and other initiatives will push more people into poverty. The faith leaders are asking Congress and the Administration to instead follow the religious imperative to promote the general welfare of all individuals in the United States and around the world.

Other Speakers at the Media Conference Include:

  • Rev. Joiquim Barnes, Board Secretary, South Carolina Christian Action Council, and Pastor, Community CME Church, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dr. Iva Carruthers, representing African American Voices for Africa, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Chicago, Illinois
  • Dr. Marian McClure Taylor, Executive Director, Kentucky Council of Churches, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, New York, New York
  • Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director for Interfaith and Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America, Washington, D.C.
  • Sister Deb Troillett, RSM, Leadership Team, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Little Rock, Arkansas

425 Third Street, SW
Penthouse Suite
Washington, D.C.

Thursday, November 29, 2012
10:30 a.m.

Adam Muhlendorf, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, adam@rabinowitz-dorf.com, (202) 265-3000 (o); (202) 641-6216 (c)