INDEPENDENT NEWS

A Real Christmas Scandal

Published: Mon 19 Dec 2005 10:24 AM
A Real Christmas Scandal
Self-described "religious conservatives" in the U S House of Representatives recently introduced a resolution "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected." Meanwhile, that same group of lawmakers has helped push through $50 billion in cuts for programs that provide vital assistance to the poor, including Medicare and food stamps, and passed $90 billion in tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy.
A group of over 200 religious leaders went to Washington to protest the House budget, which they called "the real Christmas scandal." The Washington Post reports,
"Outside in the frigid cold for several hours, more than 200 demonstrators sang religious and holiday songs, prayed aloud and chanted, 'Stop the cuts.'" In an act of civil disobedience, 114 religious leaders were arrested when they refused to leave the steps of the Cannon House Office Building.
Jim Wallis, founder of the Christian ministry group Sojourners who was arrested at the protest, noted, "The media seems to think only abortion and gay marriages are religious
issues." Wallis pointed out, "Poverty is a moral issue, it's a faith issue, and it’s a religious issue." Christian religious bodies that have weighed in against budget cuts to programs that serve the poor represent more than 86 million Americans.
For hardworking Americans who earn the minimum wage, "It would take almost their entire December pay check to afford the more than $700 that the average American
spends celebrating Christmas." If Congress adjourns for the holiday
without acting it would be "the eighth year in a row that Congress has failed
to enact even a small increase in the minimum wage." Rep. Steny Hoyer
(D-MD) notes, "By freezing it at an inadequate $5.15 and ignoring the
effects of inflation, Congress has essentially given a pay cut to these
workers." Hoyer asks, "How can the leadership in Congress leave
Washington this week to enjoy a plentiful Christmas and a comfortable New Year
knowing that their inaction has guaranteed another tough Christmas for
millions of Americans?"
Advance New Zealand condemns the hypocrisy in the above situation and point out it is evident in the statements of many of our elected representatives that they intend to follow a similar agenda when they return to their well paid and insulated positions of power after the Christmas break. We will be watching!
END

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