The federal budget is a reflection of our nation's values. As followers of Christ, we have an opportunity to use the power of advocacy to call for a faithful budget – one that protects and defends the vulnerable. The proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year includes dramatic cuts to international peacekeeping efforts that are vital to preventing and de-escalating religious persecution around the globe.
The budget proposal would continue funding for NATO but cut contributions to U.N. peacekeeping efforts by more than half, a $1.6 billion reduction. U.S. funding for international peacekeeping would fall to about $1.5 billion, a cut of over 50 percent from 2017 levels. The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 percent of the $5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 percent of the $8 billion peacekeeping budget.
In the Central African Republic, the primary goal of UN Peacekeepers’ mission is the protection of civilians and to assist the government in re-establishing security. The mission also facilitates humanitarian assistance, promotes and protects human rights, supports security sector reform, and promotes justice and the rule of law. According to Open Doors USA, conflict there poses a serious threat to Christians and UN Peacekeepers play an important role in their safety.
The proposed budget would likely make it impossible for the UN to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance. In the midst of the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis since WWII, pulling funding from peacekeeping operations will only make the issue of religious persecution around the globe worse, which will in turn exacerbate the global refugee crisis.
As a denomination, we’ve been called by synod to “build a movement against persecution...being willing to work across lines of difference to develop political and social virtues while allowing freedom to disagree on reasons for doing so.”
Will you join us in speaking up for a faithful budget?
Call, email, and tweet your members of Congress today urging them to create a budget that protects and defends the vulnerable.