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Faith Leaders Strongly Oppose Government Shutdown
Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical pastors, professors and leaders have called on congress to reopen government. The shutdown is seriously hurting low-income pregnant women and infants.

By Michael McGovern

Washington, DC – One-hundred Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders issued a statement sharply rebuking irresponsible elected officials for pursuing an “extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families” by shutting down the federal government.

Signed by prominent pro-life Catholic and evangelical clergy and scholars, as well as progressive Christian leaders, the statement highlights the fact that federal funding for Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – which provides low-income pregnant women and infants with vital nutrition and health care support — will be cut off as a result of the shutdown.

“We especially challenge those Members of Congress who call themselves pro-life to cease their political posturing on Capitol Hill,” the leaders said. “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.”

Signatories include two former U.S. Ambassadors to the Vatican from Republican and Democratic administrations; Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK; Rev. Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners; the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good; and Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Agency.

More than 28,000 members of Faithful America — a fast-growing online community dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right and putting faith into action for social justice — have also signed the statement.

“It’s time for extreme factions in Congress to stop this reckless behavior, grow up and demonstrate real leadership,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. “There is no justification for playing politics in Washington when struggling families, pregnant women and seniors are getting hurt.”

“This shutdown will cause unnecessary pain to families already struggling to make ends meet,” said Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association. “Congress has a moral responsibility to act now and do what’s right for the country.”

“The low-income families and hardworking people across Ohio who will suffer because of this shutdown deserve better,” said Rev. Tim Ahrens, Senior Minister of First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio. “We all do. It’s time for the tiny political faction that caused this crisis to stop playing games and get back to work.”



The complete statement and list of signatories 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.

Sr. Simone Campbell Executive Director NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Jim Wallis President Sojourners

Noel Castellanos Chief Executive Officer Christian Community Development Agency

Rev. Jennifer Butler CEO Faith in Public Life

Timothy Collins Executive Director (retired) Catholic Campaign for Human Development U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Francis X. Doyle Associate General Secretary (retired) U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. Richard Cizik President New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

Amb. Thomas P. Melady U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (retired) President Emeritus, Sacred Heart University

Miguel Diaz U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (retired) University Professor of Faith and Culture University of Dayton

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale Ray of Hope Christian Church Decatur, Georgia

Stephen Schneck Director Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies

J. George Reed Executive Director North Carolina Council of Churches

Brian McLaren Christian author and activist

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Leadership Team

Rev. Michael Livingtson Past President National Council of Churches

Eli S. McCarthy Director of Justice and Peace Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Marie Dennis Co-President Pax Christi International

Rev. Troy Jackson Director Ohio Prophetic Voices Cincinnati, Ohio

Rev. Tim Ahrens Senior Minister First Congregational Church Columbus, Ohio

Rev. Dr. Kendrick Curry Pastor Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church Washington, DC

Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch, Sr. New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church Chicago, Illinois

Kit Danley Founder and President Neighborhood Ministries Phoenix, Arizona

Rev. Chuck Currie Minister, Sunnyside Church and University Park Church Portland, Orego

Dominican Sisters of Houston Houston, Texas

Rev. Dr. John Brisco Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church Norfolk, Virginia

S. Maxine Johnson New Destiny Bible Fellowship Camp Springs, Maryland

Sr. Rose Marie Tresp Director of Justice Sisters of Mercy South Central Belmont, North Carolina

Sister Rosemary Welsh, RSM, RN Executive Director Casa de Misericordia/Domestic Violence Shelter Laredo, Texas

Terry Lynch Executive Director The Downtown Cluster of Congregations Washington, DC

Bishop Michael Kelsey New Samaritan Baptist Church Washington, DC

Minister Mack Baugh Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church Washington, DC

Debra James Senior Pastor Zion Hill Baptist Church Washington, DC

Pastor Bruce Jones First Baptist Church Louisa, Virginia

Dr. James C. Perkins Greater Christ Baptist Church Detroit, Michigan

Fr. Rafael Garcia, S.J. Immaculate Conception Church Albuquerque, New Mexico

Marva Riley Deacon Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church Washington, DC

Pastor Calvin A. Durham New Hope Church of God in Christ Norfolk, Virginia

Pastor Orlando Bego CenterPoing Baptist Church Camp Springs, Maryland

Pastor Bob Hake Orangewood Church of the Nazarene Phoenix, Arizona

Adam Estle Social Justice and Missions Pastor Orangewood Chuch of the Nazarene Phoenix, Arizona

Rev. Sean Carroll, S.J. Executive Director Kino Border Initiative Nogales, Arizona

Bishop Lanier Twyman St. Stephen Baptist Church Temple Hills, Maryland

Rev. Anne S. Howard Executive Director The Beatitudes Society

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite Professor of Theology Chicago Theological Seminary

Patrick Carolan Executive Director Franciscan Action Network

Rev. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM Chair, Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate of the Franciscan Province of Holy Name

Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J. Founders Professor in Theology Boston College

David O’Brien Professor Emeritus College of the Holy Cross

M. Shawn Copeland Professor of Systematic Theology Boston College

Francis Schüssler Fiorenza Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Theological Studies Harvard Divinity School

Christopher Pramuk Associate Professor of Theology Xavier University

Alex Mikulich Jesuit Social Research Institute Loyola University, New Orleans

Kathleen Maas Weigert Assistant to the Provost for Social Justice Initiatives Loyola University, Chicago

Rev. Bryan N. Massingale Professor of Theological Ethics Marquette University

Lisa Fullam Associate Professor of Moral Theology Jesuit School of Theology Santa Clara University

Rev. Tom Reese, S.J. Senior Analyst National Catholic Reporter

Tobias Winright Associate Professor of Theological Ethics Saint Louis University

Nicholas P. Cafardi Dean Emeritus Duquesne University School of Law

William J. Collinge Knott Professor of Theology Mount St. Mary’s University Emmitsburg, MD

Susan H. Collinge Catholic Campus Minister Gettysburg College

Rev. T. Michael McNulty, S.J. Adjunct Professor of Philosophy Marquette University, Jesuit Residence

Vincent J. Miller Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture University of Dayton

Dennis Doyle Professor of Religious Studies University of Dayton

John Inglis Department of Religious Studies University of Dayton

Una M. Cadegan Department of History University of Dayton

Marian K. Diaz Lecturer, University of Dayton

Sr. Paulette Skiba, BVM Professor of Religious Studies Clarke University

Nancy Dallavalle Associate Professor of Religious Studies University Facilitator for Mission and Identity Fairfield University

Sr. Nancy Sylvester, IHM, President Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue

Eleonore Stump Professor of Philosophy St. Louis University

Eugene McCarraher Associate Professor of Humanities Villanova University

Bradford E. Hinze Professor of Theology Fordham University

Mary E. Hines Professor of Theology Emmanuel College Boston, Massachusetts

Danielle Poe Associate Professor of Philosophy University of Dayton

Elena G. Procario-Foley Chair, Religious Studies Department Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies Associate Professor of Religious Studies Iona College

Sandra Yokum Associate Professor Religious Studies University of Dayton

Mary Ann Hinsdale Associate Professor of Theology Boston College

Mark J. Allman Professor of Religious & Theological Studies Merrimack College

Marian K. Diaz Lecturer University of Dayton

Susan A. Ross Professor of Theology and department chair Loyola University, Chicago

John Sniegocki Associate Professor of Christian Ethics Xavier University

Anthony B. Smith Associate Professor Department of Religious Studies University of Dayton

Michael E. Lee Associate Professor of Theology Fordham University

Anthony J. Godzieba Professor of Theology & Religious Studies Villanova University

Meghan J. Clark Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies St. John’s University, New York

Doug Pagitt Solomon’s Porch CANA Initiative Minneapolis, Minnesota

Valerie H. Phillips Associate Pastor Steele Creek Presbyterian Church Charlotte, North Carolina

Ralph W. Milligan Pastoral Psychotherapist in Residence St. John’s Episcopal Church, Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. T.J. Thompson Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian Church Charlotte, North Carolina

William P. Wood Presbyterian Minister (Retired) Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Everdith Landrau Associate Pastor Caldwell Presbyterian Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

Jonathan Dula Trustee, Dulatown Presbyterian Church (USA) Presbytery of Western North Carolina

M. Elaine Rhodes Presbyterian Minister (retired) Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Dr. Bill Lindeman Philadelphia Presbyterian Church (USA) Mint Hill, North Carolina

Rev. Amantha L. Barbee Pastor Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church (USA) Charlotte, North Carolina

Betty Meadows Transitional General Presbyter Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Dr. James A. Thomas, Sr. South End Presbyterian Church Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Robyn M. Bles Minister of Growth Crestwood Christian Church Lexington, Kentucky

Rev. Dr. Priscilla B. Durkin Correctional Chaplain II Southern Correctional Institution Troy, North Carolina

Neil M. McMillan Retired Minister Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

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Date Added: 10/9/2013 Date Revised: 10/9/2013 3:24:41 PM

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