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Sep 28, 2013

New Opportunities . . . Dangerous Politics

updated Oct 5th
Just when citizen input might do some good, 
the political process seems consumed by all the 
partisan drama in Washington, DC.   And indeed, 
there are a remarkable number of new opportunities 
for peacemaking and justice seeking.  We should 
not stop encouraging our elected officials to: 

*Support international efforts to remove Syria's
chemical weapons, end the fighting, and provide aid
for civilians impacted by this war – especially refugees.

*Find ways to address the role of Syria's worst 
drought in 70 years in aggravating the humanitarian
impact of the war; these problems aren't separate.

*Pursue new openings for diplomacy with Iran.

*Pass a U.S. budget with significant and long- 
overdue cuts in defense spending.

*Push through sensible gun control legislation in 
the wake of the horrific Navy Yard mass shooting.

Now is the time to encourage our friends and
congregation members to join us in advocating
for movement on whichever of these issues 
they feel strongly about . . .

And, of course, we and our nation
are confronted by another problem
with huge peace and justice impact:

Our voice is also needed urging Congress to act 
now to end the government shutdown that has cut so
many vital services, and threatens an even more damaging
default.  And Congress needs know we strongly oppose ending
the shutdown at the expense of key service programs, especially 
for the most vulnerable.  As the default deadline approaches, 
careful reflection on America’s needs can be undercut by 
last minute – and often back-room – negotiations. The 
House voted to defund Obamacare without such open
discussion. And it has voted for a $40 billion cut to
SNAP (food stamps), one of the most effective – 
and efficient – programs serving those in need.

While we should trim spending where we can 
(and the Pentagon is one place!), many program cuts 
being considered would seriously hurt many Americans, 
especially the most vulnerable, and actually endanger the 
economic recovery. The focus should be on jobs, not 
cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social 
Security, and vital safety net programs.

The U.S. is at a critical moment. Our friends 
and members of our congregations probably need 
encouragement to set aside all the inducements to
just “zone out” on these issues. We can support 
and inspire one another as we each contact 
our elected officials and share our sense 
of where their focus might be, e.g.: 

new opportunities for 
peacemaking... justice
for the poor... jobs....

"At heaven's door, St. Peter is probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor."  E.J. Dionne quoting John Kasich, Republican Gov. of Ohio, and a top lieutenant in Newt Gingrich's revolution in the 1990s.

A few especially helpful sources:

“Why the Government Shutdown Is Unbiblical”
by Jim Wallis, Sojourners,

“8 Reasons Democrats Should Refuse a Shutdown ‘Grand Bargain’ ”
by Richard Eskow, Campaign for America's Future blog, Oct. 4, 2013

"Lasting Damage From the Budget Fight,"
editorial, NY Times, 9-26-13

"A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning"
by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mike McIntire, NY Times, 10-6-13

"Obamacare's strange bedfellows"
by E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post, 9-22-13

"Free to Be Hungry"
by Paul Krugman, NY Times, 9-23-13

"US-Iran: Breakthrough After Decades of Silence,"
ABC News, 9-28-13

"The UN Needs a Larger 'War on Poverty'"
by Ralph Nader, 9-27-13

Other useful links: - - - - -

  Please share with others. . . 
  To see previous LPF blog posts . . .
Further resources: