Office of Government Relations

Letter: Faith Leaders to Congress on Possible Government Shutdown

September 30, 2013
Office of Government Relations

Dear Senator/Representative:

As leaders of faith communities and organizations comprising millions of people from all walks of life across our nation, we are deeply concerned by the completely avoidable budget and financial crises we are fast approaching as a nation.

Though Congress must pass the federal  budget, it belongs to every American.  This common fund formed of our combined tax revenues is designed to support the shared infrastructure, well-being, and long-term ethical values of our society.  As people of faith we find it morally irresponsible to blockade the process by which we provide for our nation’s shared needs in a bid to force any individual legislative priority.

It would likewise be reckless to propel the United States into financial default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling for spending that Congress has already approved.  Shuttering the federal government or defaulting on the nation’s financial commitments is likely to reverse our fragile economic recovery, punish the middle class, and deeply harm our most vulnerable neighbors.

Our democracy rests on principles of reason, compromise, and a commitment to the common good.  To hold our governance processes and financial credibility hostage to narrow priorities is not only dangerous to the nation’s near-term financial well-being, it threatens the very foundations of our democratic process and our capacity to live united in community.

We ask that lawmakers address their concerns through the proper legislative channels. It ill serves our nation and people to stand in the way of funding federal operations or raising the debt ceiling in an effort to block implementation of health care legislationthat Congress duly enacted.  We ask that congressional leadership of both parties stand strong in opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good.

We commit to keeping you in prayer, asking that God continue to give you wisdom as you faithfully serve our nation during this time when the country most needs your principled leadership.


Ruth Messinger


American Jewish World Service

Rev. David Beckmann


Bread for the World


Dr. Lester A. Myers


Center of Concern


Dr. Sharon Watkins

General Minister and President

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. John L. McCullough

President and CEO

Church World Service


Dr. Jack Sullivan


Disciples Justice Action Network

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church


The Rev. Mark S. Hanson

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Linda Hanna Walling

Executive Director

Faithful Reform in Health Care

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF


Franciscan Action Network


Diane Randall

Executive Secretary

Friends Committee on National Legislation


Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy


Interfaith Alliance

Dr. Sayyid Syeed

National Director

Islamic Society of North America


Rabbi Steve Gutow


Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Sr. Janet Mock, CSJ

Executive Director

Leadership Conference of Women Religious


Fr. Tim Mulroy, SSC

U S. Regional Director

Missionary Society of St. Columban

Salam Al-Marayati


Muslim Public Affairs Council


Sr. Gayle Lwanga Crumbley, RGS

National Coordinator

National Advocacy Center of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd


Jack Payden-Travers


National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund


Peg Birk

Transitional General Secretary

National Council of Churches

Nancy Kaufman

Chief Executive Officer

National Council of Jewish Women


Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS

Executive Director

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby


Sr. Patricia Chappell

Executive Director

Pax Christi USA

Rev. Gradye Parsons

Stated Clerk

Presbyterian Church USA


Rev. Kip B. Banks

Interim General Secretary

Progressive National Baptist Convention


Rabbi David Saperstein


Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism


Sr. Patricia McDermott, RSM

President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Jim Wallis




Rev. Peter Morales


Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz


Unitarian Universalist Service Committee


Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President  and

Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo

Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Church of Christ



Bishop Peter D. Weaver

Executive Secretary, The Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church


Shan Cretin

General Secretary

American Friends Service Committee



The Office of Government Relations