How many resources are spent on weaponry, especially nuclear weapons, that could be used for more significant priorities such as ensuring the safety of individuals, the promotion of peace and integral human development, the fight against poverty, and the provision of health care?
—Pope Francis, Message for the 54th World Day of Peace, December 8, 2020
As the Biden Administration prepares to introduce the largest Pentagon budget in U.S. history – almost a trillion dollars – millions of people in our nation wage a daily battle against hunger, homelessness, and rising healthcare. True security is not bought through armaments and violence, but through meeting human needs in ways that shore up our communities at home and build peace abroad. Robust human security demands a dramatic shift in government spending priorities.
Fortunately, two legislators are resonating the priorities of Pope Francis, calling for a shift in budget priorities. On February 22, 2023, Representatives Barbara Lee (CA) and Mark Pocan (WI) introduced the People Over Pentagon Act (H.R. 1134) to cut $100 billion from weapons and waste and redirect that money towards priority domestic needs. Some facts to consider:
- The Pentagon’s budget exceeds that of the military budget of the next nine countries combined
- Half the Pentagon budget goes to private, for-profit contractors and their industry lobbyists
- The Pentagon has never passed an audit
- The proposed reduction would not impact security, troop pay or health care
By choosing to invest so massively on the Pentagon’s weapons and war, we also chose to not to invest in the nutrition, health care and education of our citizens.
In addition, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns is co-sponsoring the Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2023 Conference, held virtually April 25-27 from 8AM to 6PM. This year's theme is Swords Into Plowshares: Achieving Enough for All and Pursuing Peace. Register today to join Christian advocates from around the country in advocating for spending priorities that value integral human security over weapons and war.