Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Faith leaders urge voters to reject Tim Eyman's immoral Initiative 1033 (Part III)

Editor's Note: Welcome to the third installment of a special series chronicling religious opposition to Tim Eyman's Initiative 1033.

On Wednesday morning, four leaders representing different faiths came together to urge the people of Washington State to reject Initiative 1033 because it is not in keeping with the values that our state and our nation were founded upon. Each installment in this series will feature a statement from one of the four faith leaders who spoke at the press conference.

We continue with the Reverend Chris Boerger, a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. His words on Wednesday morning were as follows.

We know that we're in the midst of a recession and economic issues are on everyone's agenda. We also know that the effect of 1033, while seeming to release people from tax obligations, will in fact afflict the community with fewer services and greater problems than we currently experience.

If we thought [the] last legislative session and what it did to healthcare, what it did to education, was in any way positive, we'll only see more of the same on a continual basis with 1033. And so, it's the responsibility of Christians and people of the faith community and frankly, any thinking citizen to stand up and say, This is not a rational approach to how to deal with the problems before us.

Specificially, 1033 would mandate and lock in the cuts to over thirty five thousand people in danger of not receiving healthcare. Those cuts have already taken place. But this would lock them in for the future and probably increase them in the future. Which again, will undermine public health, will undermine all of our health, not just those who are not receiving the healthcare that they so desperately need.

Secondly, it would also affect those in nursing homes. In my synod, which is essentially eastern Puget Sound, we have five nursing homes owned by the church. These nursing homes are able to make it because of the support of the church and the support of the state. If the state were to take away the support they're currently receiving, the church could not fill in the gap. And senior citizens currently receiving that care would be threatened in terms of their health and their life.

[This] would not reflect the kind of community we want to be.

[To help] the homeless and those in need, the church has stepped up through the Compass Center, through the Lutheran Alliance to create housing, and while these are church organized organizations, they also depend heavily upon on the state to contribute its part.

If 1033 were to pass, the state's part of these important social ministry organizations of the church and of the community would disappear and issues of homelessness and transitional housing would now again appear regularly on our streets and we would once again be making headlines on what the homeless are doing on our streets. So 1033 makes no sense.

It rewards those who are significantly [wealthy] property holders with significant reduction in taxes. For most of us, for me, it would be a miniscule amount, and in the end, the problems that it would create would only increase the burdens of the church and the burdens of [our] society.

We cannot, for the sake of a few people whose greed has gotten in the way, decide to make public policy on the basis of greed. We need to make public policy on the basis of what would best serve the public, and 1033 does not do that.


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