More than 300 faith leaders from 17 states were in Washington, DC with a message: Jobs Not Cuts! Find press coverage, photos, and video from the prayer vigil inside.


Gamaliel Faith-Based Organizing Network and Our DC Call for a Fair and Just Economy.

Washington, D.C.- 350 faith and community leaders shut down the Hart Senate Building Atrium Thursday with a prayer vigil, and called on Congress to resolve the fiscal debate with policies that invest in job creation. “We traveled here from 17 states,” said Rev. James Hunt of Gamaliel-Metro Chicago, “to remind Congress and President Barack Obama that it’s the role of government to care for the least among us.” Among the concerns raised were that job-creating infrastructure investments, such as High Speed Rail, are being put on hold because of the austerity-based focus on deficit reduction.

The group occupied the building, holding candles in the air while they prayed and sang together. "This is an amazing sight to see," said a Hill staffer as he gathered with other staffers and aides to watch the vigil taking place in the Atrium. "We're really getting the message that our constituents want us to build the economy from the middle outwards."

Also on their list of concerns is the protection of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs critical to the poor, elderly, and people with disabilities. “As a transit-dependent person with a disability, I could see my benefits cut at the same time as public transit funding is cut,” said Marie Malinowski of Gamaliel of Western New York, as the group marched outside singing.

“These guys think that our churches and synagogues have the capacity to provide America’s social safety net after Congress destroys it,” said Rabbi Ron Symons of Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, speaking about proposals to cut entitlements, “but we’re here today to pray that they see the light forward towards a fair and just economy.”

“Luke 12:48 tells us to whom much has been given, much is expected,” said Ana Garcia Ashley, Executive Director of Gamaliel, “and we’re calling on Congress to resolve this fiscal showdown and create a moral budget.” Gamaliel faith leaders define this moral budget as one in which the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, the economy is grown through investments in infrastructure and education, and the social safety net is protected against cuts.

View press coverage of the prayer vigil:

The Wall Street Journal
Journal Sentinel
Teamster Nation 

For more photos, visit Flickr.