Christian Group Petitions for Immediate End to ShutdownPosted: Updated:
With the federal borrowing limit set to run out Thursday, Congress is getting pushed hard to do something about it. Tuesday, a Christian organization dropped off thousands of petition signatures, pushing for an immediate end to the government shutdown, at Congressman Robert Hurt's office in Charlottesville.
Members of Faithful America and people who were simply concerned about the issue gathered at Hurt's office and, even though the congressman was in Washington, he got the message.
The petition cited Hurt's religious obligations as a Christian, quoting James 1:27, which says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress." That's what they say is being lost in Washington's budget battles.
"We hope that he hears us and we'd like to remind him that, as a Christian, the Bible has a moral imperative to care for the needy, the poor," said Melanie Miller, a member of Faithful America.
Faithful America set its original goal at 15,000 signatures, but it has already grown to more than 33,000.
Hurt released a written response to the petition, saying he always appreciates hearing from 5th District voters and that he remains committed to making every effort to fund critical government programs.
The House will vote on a plan to reopen the government and avoid default later this week. Faithful America hopes Hurt takes its petition into consideration when voting.
Statement from Congressman Robert Hurt (R) 5th District:
"I always appreciate hearing from Fifth District Virginians, especially during this very difficult time. Two weeks into this lapse in federal operations, I remain committed to making every effort to fund critical government programs. Of the fifteen bills passed out of the House to fund the federal government since the beginning of this impasse, all but one have been blocked by our colleagues in the Senate, including a bill to restore funding for nutrition programs for low-income persons. If they will not negotiate on a plan to fully reopen the government, the least the Senate can do is bring our legislation to the floor to vote to fund crucial programs on a short-term basis. I am hopeful that the conversations currently taking place will lead to a resolution to this situation so that we can move forward and concentrate on implementing fiscally sound policies on behalf of the American people." – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-VA)
Faithful America Press Release
Local Christians challenge Rep. Hurt to end government shutdown
"There is nothing 'pro-life' or Christian about taking food away from the hungry"
Charlottesville, VA - Today local Christians gathered at Rep. Hurt's office to deliver over 32,000 signatures on a statement condemning the government shutdown as immoral and questioning how a self-described "pro-life Christian" can support cutting off nutritional support for children and pregnant women.
"As a Christian, I can't sit by idly and watch while Rep. Hurt's actions harm the most vulnerable in our community. This government shutdown isn't just bad politics -- it's immoral," said Rev. Melanie Miller of Sojourners United Church of Christ.
The petition delivers a strong moral rebuke to those responsible for the shutdown. "There is nothing ‘pro-life' or Christian about taking food away from pregnant women and babies," it reads. "It is hypocritical and shameful for those who tout their commitment to family values to show such callous indifference."
While House Republicans play politics with the lives of countless Americans, seniors are seeing "Meals on Wheels" cut, pregnant women and infants are losing vital nutrition support, workers are locked out of their jobs as bills pile up, and veterans are facing benefit cuts.
The petition comes in support of a statement by more than 150 Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders, including Rev. Larry Snyder, the president of Catholic Charities USA, Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, and Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners.
The complete statement is below:
As Christians and citizens, we are appalled that elected officials are pursuing an extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families.
We especially challenge those Members of Congress who call themselves pro-life to cease their political posturing on Capitol Hill. Shutting down the government in a futile effort to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act will hurt low-income pregnant women and infants who receive vital nutrition support. The Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will receive no additional funds during the shutdown.
There is nothing "pro-life" or Christian about taking food away from pregnant women and babies. It is hypocritical and shameful for those who tout their commitment to family values to show such callous indifference.
The shutdown hurts all Americans, including seniors who will see "Meals on Wheels" cut, preschoolers who will be turned away from Head Start, and public servants who will be locked out of their workplaces without pay as bills pile up. This failure of political leadership and responsible governance exposes our nation's misplaced values.
Struggling families, seniors and pregnant women don't deserve to be victims of a manufactured crisis in Washington.