Redirect Military Spending

Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? -- Matthew 7:9

 

Catholic Social Teaching says that every public policy must enhance human dignity and be measured by its effect on the poor. As Franciscans we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in society and to the cause of peace.  For these reasons, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross and our Associates endorse and collaborate in programs that will redirect excessive military spending toward diplomacy, arms reduction, and strengthening of the social safety net for the poor, especially children.

In this fiscal year, our government allocates 54% of its discretionary spending on defense and only 46% on various social programs (Compare the USA's military spending with that of other countries). It justifies this imbalance because of the global "War on Terrorism." This "War" includes the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as support of our military bases around the world.  It also includes the cost of caring for millions of soldiers who have been injured physically and psychologically by war.  These costs are staggering -- especially when our states and federal government face huge budget deficits.

However, true security is not found in our superior and costly weapons systems.  Rather, it is attained through programs directed toward full human development for all and promotion of the common good.

What You Can Do

  • Pray for true and lasting peace -- between individuals, within countries, and throughout the world.   Make the Peace Prayer of St. Francis your daily prayer.
  • Learn more about what is essential to protect and to defend our country, and also our government's spending priorities.  See the resources listed below.
  • Assess the effects of our national priorities on the poor and vulnerable.  A dollar spent on defense is a dollar that is unavailable for such basic human needs as education, health care, or rebuilding our country's infrastructure.
  • Act to educate others about the true costs of war.  Speak up, demonstrate nonviolently.  Write letters about excessive military spending to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Advocate for the poor and vulnerable, including soldiers whose lives have been devastated by war.

 

Resources

  1. Since the 1970s the Center for Defense Information has conducted research related to arms, military spending, foreign policy, and more.
  2. The Friends Committee on National Legislation presents sound research on public policy related to alleviating poverty and redirecting military spending to meet social needs.
  3. The National Priorities Project helps to make the national budget transparent and accessible to the ordinary citizen.

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