For Immediate Release
February 27, 2017
Contact: Janine Walsh
FAN Communications Coordinator
(203) 685-1856 (cell)
Franciscans Deeply Disappointed by Administrative Values Revealed Through Proposed Budget Cuts and Allocations
Emphasis on aggressive military expansion at the expense of defunding agencies like the EPA is immoral and irresponsible.
Washington, D.C. - The Franciscan Action Network strongly rejects the White House budget announced today that contains cuts to the U.S. State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the social safety net, and other non-defense programs in favor of an increase of over $50 Billion in unnecessary defense spending, including for border patrol agents. Franciscans believe in the promotion of global peace, in caring for God’s creation, and in supporting quality of life for those most vulnerable populations. This budget is the antithesis of our mission as Christians to live out our faith as the Gospels call us to do. Our federal budget is a clear statement on what moral values we, as a nation, aspire to. The budget is not a political or economic document, it is a moral document. Proposing a budget that would cut funding for the poor and marginalized, or to protect God’s beautiful creation while increasing funding for war is morally and ethically wrong. It goes against the teachings of Jesus and every spiritual tradition.
These budget cuts reveal a disturbing prioritization by the administration of reinforcing and strengthening our military presence over supporting social welfare and environmental protection. By cutting funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, we can expect a massive reduction in efforts to protect and preserve our planet. By cutting funding to social safety net programs like welfare and retirement support, we can expect to see those who are already struggling encounter even more significant obstacles. By inflating the already swollen military budget - currently around $600 billion annually - we can expect increased weaponization and militarization of our country and an increase in the deportation of our immigrant sisters and brothers.
“This budget sends a clear message that our government cares more about money and power than human lives. While President Trump claims that the U.S. military budget is depleted, there is absolutely no evidence to support that claim, and promoting such rhetoric is dangerous and misleading.” said Franciscan Action Network Executive Director Patrick Carolan. “As people of faith we reject this proposed budget.”
As Pope Francis reminded us in his 2017 World Day of Peace message: “Violence is not the cure for our broken world. Countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migrations and enormous suffering, because vast amounts of resources are diverted to military ends and away from the everyday needs of young people, families experiencing hardship, the elderly, the infirm and the great majority of people in our world. At worst, it can lead to the death, physical and spiritual, of many people, if not of all.”
As we enter into the Lenten season this week, we are urged to come to a place of reflection and re-centering; we are called to renew commitments to compassion, service, and peace. This latest budget proposal reveals that we are being called to do so in the midst of a political climate defined by worship at a different altar: that of greed and power. This past Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” This administration has made it abundantly clear which master they serve.
Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of Saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and human rights. For more information: https://franciscanaction.org/