Religious groups want to cut DoD budget
March 16, 2023

A coalition of religious organizations in the United States is urging Congress to reduce the Pentagon budget for the fiscal year 2024.

The group, which includes the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Pax Christi USA, and the Presbyterian Church argues that the current proposal of $753 billion is excessive and unnecessary. Instead, they are calling for a reduction of at least 10% to redirect funds towards other pressing domestic needs.

The Pentagon budget has been on a continuous upward trajectory over the last few years. In 2021, it reached $740.5 billion, and in 2022, it was increased to $752.9 billion. The proposed budget for 2024 represents the highest ever, and the coalition believes that this trend is unsustainable. The group argues that the country has other critical issues that need funding, including healthcare, infrastructure, and education.

The coalition’s call comes amid a debate in Congress over the budget’s direction. Some lawmakers have voiced concerns over the Pentagon’s priorities and its allocation of funds, especially with the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Others argue that a robust defense budget is necessary to maintain the country’s security and protect its interests.

The religious organizations involved in the coalition argue that excessive military spending is incompatible with their faith’s principles. The Friends Committee on National Legislation, for example, is a Quaker organization that promotes peace and social justice. The organization’s legislative director, Laicie Heeley, says that “the U.S. military budget is a moral issue” and that “our choices about how we allocate our resources reflect our values.”

The coalition’s call for a reduction in the Pentagon budget is not new. In 2020, a similar coalition, including over 100 organizations, sent a letter to Congress calling for a 10% reduction in the defense budget. However, their call went unheeded as Congress increased the budget by $2 billion instead.

Despite the challenges, the coalition remains committed to its cause. They believe that reducing the Pentagon budget will send a powerful message about the country’s priorities and values. They argue that it is time to reevaluate the country’s defense spending and redirect funds towards areas that will benefit more Americans.

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