For Immediate Release
February 5, 2019
Media Contact: Janine Walsh
FAN Communications Coordinator
Franciscan Action Network Fears Another Unjust Government Shutdown Over Immoral and Unnecessary Border Wall
Say current stalemate is not cause for national emergency
WASHINGTON, DC—For St. Francis of Assisi, poverty meant both serving those who are poor and marginalized, as well as living simply. At the core of spiritual poverty is the relationship one has with those who are considered unwanted, poor, and social outcasts like the lepers of Francis' time. Following in his example today, Franciscans and all who are connected with the Franciscan family are called to be with and identify with the poor, the vulnerable, and all who suffer any form of discrimination. We are called to be in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in their struggle to have their God-given dignity and rights honored by others.
With this in mind, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) considers it an injustice to use government workers and services to push forth a questionable, if not borderline immoral, agenda. The recent government shutdown is a clear example. As this Washington Post article states, those workers who make the least are not expecting to get any back-pay for the 35 day shutdown. "This is another example of how the actions of the people at the top directly affect the middle class, the poor, and those in the margins," said Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of FAN.
The National Emergencies Act was never intended to allow the circumventing of Congress to achieve a policy goal. Rather, the law was designed for situations in which Congress has no time to act. Unfortunately, right now, there are no limits on what type of event qualifies as a "national emergency." The possibility of abuse of the power given a president when an emergency is declared is eye-opening and frankly, quite unnerving. History presents us with multiple examples of why restraints on executive emergencies powers are crucial in our constitutional republic.
The current stalemate in Congress, over funding a border wall, is not a national emergency, though the administration is preparing a declaration. The border is not under attack. As Cardinal Tobin stated, "A wall would cause harm to immigrants and refugees, all of whom are equal to us in the eyes of God." It is never appropriate to take actions such as holding government workers' pay hostage in order to resolve policy disputes.