[National Council of Churches] NCC Poverty Initiative Director and former NCC President Rev. Michael Livingston joined religious leaders on Capitol Hill this week for a Faithful Budget Prayer Rally to welcome the “Nuns on the Bus” tour.
The prayer rally gathered hundreds of people faith to express moral outrage against the U.S. House of Representatives’ decision to prioritize tax breaks for America’s wealthiest citizens while practically ignoring the needs of people struggling to survive.
The “Nuns on the Bus” are Catholic sisters traveling on a nine-state bus tour to highlight the immorality of the U.S. House of Representatives budget.
The Sisters boarded the bus in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 17 and made stops in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
This week’s rally, held on July 2, marked the conclusion of their trip in Washington.
The touring sisters met with multiple congressional offices to advocate for a faithful budget. They also visited Catholic-sponsored social service agencies that serve people struggling in a harsh economy.
Sr. Diane Donahue of the Sisters of Social Service, founder of Esperanza in Los Angeles, was one of many sisters who shared moving testimonies about the bus tour:
“On our way to visit Rep. Eric Cantor’s office, we met this remarkable family: Keara Campbell and her parents Tom and Judy,” Donahue said.
“Keara has cerebral palsy. She’s 32 years old. She has benefitted and grown up, is supported by, and is supporting all the kinds of programs we’re talking about that are up for cuts. She lives independently. She has incredible courage. She has gone ahead and now she works with parents who have children with autism and helps them understand the complications and challenges of autism. Here she is in her powermobile wheel chair and is just doing a remarkable job. But all of the help, the support, the kinds of things that really make her life possible are on the chopping block. I am not going to stand here and say ‘the Ryan budget is moral.’ It’s not moral! It is immoral.”
Led by Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, the “Nuns on the Bus” were joined by fellow Catholic sisters, faith leaders, civil rights leaders, and hundreds of concerned citizens at the D.C. prayer rally.
Along with Livingston and Donahue, other religious leaders who helped lead the prayer rally included Sandy Sorenson, Washington Director of Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ, Dr. Sayyid Sayeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America, and Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church.
Rev. Livingston said of the event, “I deeply appreciate the profound witness the nuns have made to their faith through the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ tour. I only hope many more people of faith can find the courage and emulate the creativity of these faithful sisters in the struggle to stand with the most vulnerable among us.”