WASHINGTON -- A group of religious leaders, using strong moral language, said today President Reagan's budget shows a nation 'intent on a selfish and dangerous course of social stinginess and military overkill.'
'Most of us, perhaps in family budgets as well as the Reagan budget, can find ... real moral failure, real moral failure,' one of them, United Church of Christ President Avery Post said at a Capitol news conference.
The leaders called on Congress to refuse any more cuts in survival programs for the poor, to pass the jobs and emergency relief legislation, to cancel the MX missile and B-1 bomber and reduce military spending.
The leaders, representing religious bodies with more than 50 million members, issued what they termed 'a call for a just federal budget.' They said the federal budget was the most important moral statement the government will make this year.
'We are profoundly disturbed by the vision which emerges from this fiscal 1984 edition of our statement of moral purpose. It is a vision of a nation intent on a selfish and dangerous course of social stinginess and military overkill,' their statement said.
They said Reagan's budget:
-'Rejects the rights of the poor ... (by) enlarging further the already gaping hopes in the safety net and thereby condemning the poor to suffer even more.'
-'Rejects the rights of the unemployed ... (by) using unemployment as the principal weapon to fight inflation.'
-'Rejects the rights of all human beings to live their lives in peace and security ... (by) equating peacekeeping with firepower and thereby increasing our insecurity as more and more destabilizing weapon systems are added to an already bloated arsenal.'
The statement was signed by:
Bishop John Hurst Adams, African Methodist Episcopal Church; Robert Campbell, general secretary, American Baptist Churches; James Hornback, president, American Ethical Union; Henry Siegman, executive director, American Jewish Congress; Dr. Kenneth Teegarden, president, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Bishop Nathaniel Linsey, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
Also, Robert Neff, general secretary, Church of the Brethren General Board; Kara Cole, Friends United Meeting; Gordon Browne, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of Americas; Dr. C.J. Mallory Jr., general secretary, Progressive National Baptist Convention; Rev. Arlie Brouwer, general secretary, Reformed Church in America; Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president, Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
Also, Sandra Mitchell Caron, moderator, Unitarian Universalist Association; Dr. Eugene Pickett, president, Unitarian-Universalist Association of Congregations; Bishop Leroy Hodapp, president, United Methodist Board of Church and Society; Dr. William Thompson, stated clerk, United Presbyterian Church; Dr. James Andrews, stated clerk, Presbyterian Church, U.S.; and Post.