Faith Leaders Plan Vigils as House, Senate Vote on Cuts

The House and Senate will face the debate on spending cuts in the coming week along with a group of people from different faith traditions in front of every Senator's and Representative's district office – or that's the plan at least.

Sojourners and Call to Renewal are calling people from all faiths to organize vigils on Dec. 14 to demand the protection of America's poor. The house had passed a $50 billion budget in November cutting spending in Medicaid, agriculture support programs and food stamps. The proposed bill would take away from hundreds of thousands of poor families who benefit from the social programs.

Interfaith leaders blasted the House vote that seemed to go against all morals especially during a time when poverty is on the rise.

To help participants organize the vigils, the two sponsoring organizations have provided a tool kit of resources and strategies that would create an effective, collective voice against the budget cuts. The goal is to have vigils near congressional offices throughout America, including Washington where religious leaders will gather for a time of prayer and witness.

An agreement between the House and Senate, which had earlier approved $35 billion in cuts, is expected to be made before they adjourn for the year.

In an urgent call to rally the people of faith to protect the poorest in the nation, vigil organizers highlighted two points: to see the extent to which poverty is a problem in the world; and for it to become a national priority to fund the projects needed to provide safety for all.

Religious leaders have remained active on the budget bill with letters written to Congress, conferences held and prayers continually said on the side of the nation's poor families. The faith community remains standing as the final decision is to be made this month.