The United States Congress is currently considering a series of bold investments in American families and communities that will better enable all of us to pursue our God-given potential while protecting the most vulnerable in our society. As a Baptist pastor and as a father, I urge our elected leaders to support these critical investments, which are both a moral and prudential imperative.
The Build Back Better Act, which is currently being debated in Congress, will give states and localities the resources needed to support their communities and the families that live, work and play in them. This plan would tackle some of the most fundamental challenges facing the nation today, such as addressing the climate crisis and improving Americans’ access to health care. It would also enact some of the most pro-family and pro-common good policies we have seen in a generation, which includes sound investments proven to make it easier to have and raise a child in America, extending and expanding the Child Tax Credit, establishing universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, investing in the accessibility and affordability of child care, and creating the first-ever federal paid leave benefit.
Together, these family focused investments represent transformations in our economy that will help ensure all children and parents can thrive. Along with the bipartisan infrastructure package that recently passed Congress and the health care and climate change provisions of Build Back Better Act, these are moral investments that help create a more just and equitable society. Once enacted, Americans will be freer to live out their lives and realize their hopes and aspirations.
As a minister and leader in the faith-based advocacy community, I’m led and inspired by how Jesus himself voiced special concern for the most vulnerable among us, including children. In fact, he said in Matthew 25 we would be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable among us.
Our children are our most precious responsibility and depend on all of us to create a society that treats each of them with the care and dignity that Jesus calls on us to grant them. These pro-family and life-affirming investments will enable us to co-create the Beloved Community, the type of community that Martin Luther King and so many other civil rights leaders dreamed of and fought for in which liberty and justice is extended to all and everyone can experience lives of dignity.
And, as a father, I know families are a fundamental building block of society. Everything we can do to help families thrive and make their lives easier will reverberate in positive ways throughout our economy and society. Living through a pandemic and the daily struggle of managing parenting and work has made it abundantly clear how critical these investments are.
“Everything we can do to help families thrive and make their lives easier will reverberate in positive ways throughout our economy and society.”
We need Congress to act boldly to meet the scope and scale of this historic moment for our nation. I’ve seen the toll the pandemic has taken on my church family and community. We all have been hit hard by the pandemic — some worse than others — revealing even more clearly the inadequacies and inequities in our society.
Returning to a broken and inequitable “normal” is not an option. Instead, we must co-create a new normal, in part by passing a budget that prioritizes investments that enable us to better care for one another and protect the sanctity and dignity of every person.
Congress, alongside all of us, has a moral duty to make it easier to bring children safely into the world, support and care for children once they’re born, and enable children and families to thrive. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to pass a budget package that helps us build the Beloved Community by building a more just and caring economy.
Adam Russell Taylor is president of Sojourners and author of the new book A More Perfect Union: A New Vision for Building the Beloved Community. He is a Baptist minister and serves at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va. with his family.