Today, IWJ's National Policy Director, the Rev. Michael Livingston, joined Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) and Sen Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and community and labor leaders, including the AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, to call on Congress to take urgent action to pass emergency unemployment benefits for our brothers and sisters who are suffering without work in this economy that continues to favor the top earners at the expense of millions of our brothers and sisters.
The Rev. Livingston called upon Congress to take urgent action to uphold the Common Good and protect the most vulnerable in our society be immediately renewing UI:
I’m standing here with unemployed workers and their advocates. When we hear about 1.3 million people affected by ending benefits we’re talking about these folks right here! The political realist applauds the passage yesterday of a procedural hurdle in the Senate that could allow debate on an extension of unemployment insurance—while benefits to these workers were cut off and the bright lights of Christmas were still shining in the dark. Yet more votes are needed, and there are more legislative hurdles to jump through make this happen. People of faith are appalled that these actions are required at all. How dare we toy with the ability of a woman to keep a roof over her head, pay her bills, and keep her children fed while trying to find a good job in a still struggling economy?
All religions believe in justice. Playing politics with the lives of people created in the very image of God may have become a democracy-defying political norm but for people of faith it is a moral collapse that offends basic values shared across the broad spectrum of religious faith. We believe we ought to treat others as we would like to be treated. We believe that God has a special concern, a bias, for those who struggle most and have the fewest opportunities. We believe the deepest value of our nation is reverence for our common good. We believe in “We the people,” these people, our friends and neighbors. The extension of these benefits without qualification is required of us if we are to be true to our democracy and to the God of all life.