National Lutheran News

Mainline leaders call U..S. budget proposal unjust

ELCA head, four other church leaders, invoke image of beggar Lazarus in Luke’s Gospel

Leaders of five mainline Christian denominations with a combined membership of over 20 million have called President George W. Bush’s proposed 2006 budget “unjust.”

Speaking together at a Washington, D.C., press conference on March 8, the elected leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church invoked Luke’s Gospel story of a poor man named Lazarus. The New Testament story tells of him lying at the gate of a rich man who ignores his needs. When both die, the former goes to heaven, the latter to hell.

Said the leaders’ joint statement, “The 2006 Federal Budget that President Bush has sent to Capitol Hill is unjust. It has much for the rich man and little for Lazarus.”
The statement was signed by Bishop Mark Hanson (ELCA), Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick (Presbyterian), President John H. Thomas (UCC), General Secretary James Winkler (UMC) and Bishop Frank Griswold (Episcopal).

In a separate statement, ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson said, “We believe that the Administration’s proposed federal budget priorities stand in contradiction to biblical tradition. If enacted, it will be truly devastating for people living in poverty — in this country and around the world.”
Each of the other four leaders also spoke.