The final budget that was passed for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year began the process of attempting to balance needs of the country on the backs of America’s poorest and most vulnerable. And the Ryan budget for 2012 that was proposed in the midst of the battle over a government shutdown simply proved that Republicans were looking for even more sacrifice from those who could least afford it. Proposed cuts to medicaid, medicare and social security got the biggest play, but also in the bugest were continued decreases in funding for programs like WIC and food stamps.
Many people argued. Many rallied. Many started calling their representatives or speaking out at campaign events.
But one man stopped eating.
Jim Wallis, an author and Christian who blogs at “God’s Politics” decided that he would fast the entire four weeks leading up to Easter to serve as a reminder that a budget needs to be a “moral document.” He joined with other religious leaders to fast as a reminder that Jesus believed in caring for the poor. And now, with Easter around the corner, he is preparing to finally break his fast.
Via his blog:
The past four weeks of fasting have been personally transformative for me. Fasting has reminded me of the pain that so many in our country and world experience when they go hungry every day. They don’t get to end their “fast” at Easter. Most of all, I have been encouraged by all of those who have participated. Too often, injustice is perpetuated because good people just stand on the side lines or feel disempowered to act. The tens of thousands of people who joined in the Hunger Fast for a Moral Budget and added their own passion, creativity, and energy to the movement have confirmed for me that these cuts will not stand. While sometimes the way seems long, this Lent has been spiritual preparation for a sustained political fight. Next week, Sojourners will announce a new coalition of leaders and organizations who will work to grow a movement of Christians and other allies of faith and conscience who oppose unjust and immoral budgets.
Wallis’s religious call of “What Would Jesus Cut” and his budget fast brought in “more than 36,000 people and 28 members of Congress joined the fast in their own ways.” Now, with Easter here they can ease back on their fast, but still remember that without their vigilance, the poor may not have as much choice in whether or not they get to eat.