Washington, D.C. — On Thursday, September 23, national faith leaders, along with Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), gathered for a moment of prayer and reflection, calling for a holy, just, and moral recovery as Congress debates the reconciliation bill. They prayed that Congress is able to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to put our values into action by advancing racial equity, climate action, affordable health care, and an economy that works for all.
The group of faith leaders then delivered a petition signed by nearly 7,000 people of faith to Rep. Doggett. The petition lists a number of policy demands and reads, “We come together in support of policies that recognize the dignity in all of us and invest in every community and family so we can all flourish. As our nation recovers from the devastating effects of the COVID pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, we urge you to enact legislation that is equal to the daunting challenges we face, creates a just and fair economy that honors the dignity of all people, and reckons with longstanding racial and gender injustice the pandemic has exacerbated. This moment requires a generational investment in our families and communities.”
Co-sponsoring organizations Include: Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Center for American Progress, Church World Service, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Interfaith Power and Light, Faith in Public Life Action, Faithful America, Franciscan Action Network, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Council of Churches, National Council of Jewish Women, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Pax Christi USA, Presbyterian Church USA, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, and Union for Reform Judaism.
For pictures of the event, click here.
For video of the event, click here.
For the full petition and list of signers, click here.
Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC):
Our faith calls us “to do for the least of these,” and the Build Back Better Act provides us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put this scripture into action. If we are to move closer to the promise of “liberty and justice for all,” then we must enact this historic legislation that dramatically increases access to quality, affordable health care, creates millions of good-paying jobs, opens up educational opportunity through expansions in pre-K and free community college, and takes urgent steps to ensure that we are good stewards of the planet and provide cleaner air, safer water, and a livable climate.
Rep. Lloyd Alton Doggett (D-TX):
I believe that being on the side of justice that reflects our faith has to be on the side of justice for those who have been left out and left behind in our society. For this nation to be right, we need to be concerned with those who have few lobbyists in this town, but whose needs are great.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT):
I am proud to be a part of the living Catholic tradition—a tradition that unfailingly promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life, and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to our communities most vulnerable. These traditions have guided my fight since 2003 for an expanded and improved child tax credit, to lift millions out of poverty and provide a lifeline to working families. After just the first three checks, we have seen just how transformational this policy is and what these monthly checks have meant to families across the country. This life-changing policy cannot end after one year. In order to build back better, we must make it permanent. Ending child poverty is possible, and we can do it through a permanently expanded and improved child tax credit.
Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action:
Today, my prayer for our leaders is that they find it within themselves to embrace their vulnerability, to align themselves with those who live in a permanent state of vulnerability—who know that a knock on the door could mean deportation and family separation. That they embrace the true transformational opportunity that this moment presents—and do what’s necessary. And what’s right.
Sister Emily TeKolste, SP, Grassroots Mobilization Coordinator, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:
For decades, we’ve cut and cut and cut the budget. These times call for us to raise revenue to create programs that serve us all—Black, white, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Native American. We have a shared destiny, and when one of us is suffering, we all suffer. We can do this. There is enough to go around.
The Rev. Neal Christie, Executive Minister of Connected Engagement, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church:
The expanded child tax credit will cut child poverty by 45 percent for Hispanic children, more than 50 percent for Black children, and more than 60 percent for Native American children. These investments in racial equity make health care, elder care, and child care more accessible and affordable; lift 5.5 million of God’s children out of chronic poverty; invest in women of color, who are most of our caregiving workforce; keep faith with our tremendous historically Black colleges and universities and tribal colleges; and promote Beloved Community through increased access to clean energy and transportation, especially for people of color disproportionately affected by our climate emergency.
Khizer Husain, former President, American Muslim Health Professionals:
We are hopeful and prayerful as we stand at the doorstep of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to come together and build an equitable society that works for everyone. Let us focus on that Rahma [mercy]. Rahma is also the word for womb. The merciful vessel of life. If we are to build back better, if we are to honor this merciful vessel of life, if we are to advance birth equity across all of these United States, then this is our moment.
The Rev. Susan Hendershot, President, Interfaith Power and Light:
As people of faith and conscience, we share a calling to care for the Earth and to care for our neighbors. Climate change affects both. From historic wildfires to extreme heat waves to ever more fierce hurricanes, climate change is devastating our health, our communities, and our environment. We call upon Congress to show their moral courage through big, bold investments that safeguard Creation, address the harms of climate change and pollution caused by fossil fuel extraction and related industries, and fulfill our moral obligation to leave a thriving world for current and future generations.
Min. Heather Taylor, Interim Managing Director, Bread for the World:
We know that Jesus came—as do we—to bring good news to the poor and make provision to feed those who are hungry. But what you may not know is that since expanded monthly child tax credits were first issued in July, child hunger has dropped by nearly 24 percent. I don’t know about you, my friends, but in my view, that’s good news! The child tax credit has significant potential to reduce child hunger and poverty and advance racial equity.
The Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life Action:
Paid leave, living wages, health care expansion, action on climate change, and, I pray, citizenship for our immigrant neighbors are so close now, for folks who journey too far and work too hard for too little. We can get this done if we demand that everyone start paying their fair share. When people who have been excluded are treated with dignity by our elected leaders, we become a more moral nation.
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at gro.ssergorpnacirema@lenanahs