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Budget Foes, Unsatisfied, to Continue Fast through Easter

WASHINGTON (RNS) The congressional budget compromise reached last week did not go far enough for some progressive Christian leaders who have vowed to continue their liquid-only fast in hopes of a “better budget.”

Sojourners founder Jim Wallis and Ambassador Tony Hall, executive director of the Alliance to End Hunger, say the poor stand to lose the most in the $38.5 billion in budget cuts, and plan to continue protesting by fasting through Easter.

“This compromise represents the interests of all those who make big campaign contributions but betrays the poor and vulnerable,” Wallis said, referring to the 11th-hour compromise brokered Friday night (April 8).

“This compromise has only strengthened my resolve to continue fasting, and we call for any person of faith or conscience to keep joining the fast and spreading the word.”


The two activists were joined in their budget protest by more than 36,000 fasters who vowed to pray and advocate for the poor as Washington attempts to get its fiscal house in order.

No one at Sojourners anticipated the massive response to the hunger fast, spokesman Tim King said, noting that it was “the largest fast of its kind in recent U.S. history.”

“The budget issue really energized and mobilized the faith community,” Wallis said. “It is our vocation as the people of God to protect the poorest and most vulnerable.”

The left-leaning budget campaign has its critics, however. Mark Tooley, president of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, chided Wallis and others for misusing the holy season of Lent and Easter.


“It is inappropriate to use a Christian holiday for a political gain,” said Tooley, who said the purpose of Lent was self-reflection and self-denial, not activism.

Although Hall and Wallis have given up all solid food for only water and juice since they began their fast on March 28, participants are allowed to fast in whatever manner they choose. A group of 28 congressional Democrats are fasting a day at a time until Easter.

Wallis rejected the idea the U.S. is strapped for cash, and accused lawmakers of simply spending money in the wrong areas.

“A budget is a moral document, it expresses morals and priorities. It says who’s important and who is not,” Wallis said. “The fast will end at Easter, but the battle for a moral budget will continue in the days ahead.”

– RICHARD YEAKLEY, Religion News Service

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Henrietta22

    Because of family and my medical backgroud and interest I’ve never been an advocate of fasting. I remember going to a mainline church to visit one sunday and the kids had been on a fast for a couple of days at a church camp. They walked into the church as a group and were praised for their fasting. They looked about 10 to 13 and frankly some of them looked weak and pale. We never went back to this Church. I do not like extremism in any shape or size about anything.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    if they want to fast, let them. If I was there, I wouldn’t give in just because they were doing that. Their choice.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment nnmns

    “It is inappropriate to use a Christian holiday for a political gain,”

    You mean like Christmas? Easter? Good Friday? Hypocrisy thy name is “Republican”.

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