Columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. wrote in The Washington Post this past week that we should not be afraid to remind voters that elections and budgets have moral consequences. He pointed to the Nuns on the Bus as an effective group who reminds us that our decisions have ethical consequences. The nuns made a nine-state tour this summer and recently a 1,000-mile, six-day tour across Ohio. The nuns maintain that the federal budget proposals before the U.S. Congress are immoral in that they do not address the plight of poor and working class Americans.
Sister Marge Clark, one of the Nuns on the Bus, will speak at a nonpartisan, interfaith Community Forum being held at United Christian Parish (UCP) in Reston on Oct. 25, 7 to 9 p.m. The program is sponsored by UCP’s Justice Mobilization Task Force of which I am a member. Sister Marge Clark is also one of the authors of the “Faithful Budget” that seeks to promote “a compassionate and comprehensive vision for the future.” The preamble to the budget calls on “our elected leaders to craft a federal budget that fulfills our shared duty to each other in all segments of society to those who are struggling to overcome poverty or are especially vulnerable, and to future generations through our collective responsibility as stewards of Creation” (www.faithfulbudget.org).
Budgets that fail to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us are not just a federal issue. The poverty rate in Virginia and especially the poverty rate among children continues to increase. At the Oct. 25 Forum, Jeff Connor-Naylor of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis will address the needs in Virginia. The Institute has done considerable research on the poor in the state and the lack of adequately funded programs to meet their needs. As the fabric of the social safety net at the federal and state levels has continued to unravel, the need has increased for local government to respond.
Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who has worked hard to maintain housing and other social programs in Fairfax County, will also speak at the forum.
United Christian Parish of Reston is an ecumenical congregation located at 11508 North Shore Drive, Reston. All are welcome to attend the Forum. No preregistration is required. There will be time provided for questions and answers. As Election Day approaches on Nov. 6, it is timely to reflect on the very real moral consequences of our votes.