Ohio Christians Reject GOP Budget Agenda

A majority of Christians and Catholics in Ohio are in disagreement with the budget agenda put forth by Republican Governor John Kasich and the GOP-dominated legislature.

According to poll released yesterday by Faith in Public Life (FPL) and Public Policy Polling, over two thirds of the Christian community in Ohio say that the GOP's plans, which include slashing funding for education and health care and restricting collective bargaining for public employees while protecting tax breaks for big businesses, is the wrong thing to do.

The poll, which surveyed 2,000 respondents from March 25-27, also revealed that a similar percentage of people disapprove of Gov. Kasich's job performance and say that his approach to balancing the budget has been unfair.

"Attacks on workers' rights and reckless cuts to needed investments in education, public safety, and protections for the most vulnerable don't honor our values, and people of faith are standing up to these immoral policies," said FPL Executive Director the Rev. Jennifer Butler on Thursday.

The poll comes following Wednesday's votes by the Ohio House and Senate to pass Senate Bill 5, which overhauls collective bargaining rights for hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses, and other public employees.

The bill now heads to Kasich's desk where it is expected to be signed.

Meanwhile, public demonstrations to protect worker rights are scheduled be held in Ohio and around the nation on April 4 in a campaign called "We Are One."

Sponsored by Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) and the NAACP, the events, which include rallies and prayer vigils, will mark the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, where Dr. King was killed during an event held to support the rights of sanitation workers.

"We're standing together to make our country better for all working people. We honor Dr. King with our determination to stand up and build the future our children deserve," said Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO and national board member of (IWJ).

"We know that God is concerned about workers, who are consistently vulnerable to exploitation if they aren't protected. When workers are treated badly, that matters to us, no matter what faith tradition we come from -- including the evangelical community," said Rev. Troy Jackson, pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati, OH.

Locations for the April 4 events include Denver, Colo.; Bangor, Maine; San Diego, Calif.; Detroit, Mich.; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Columbus, Ohio.

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