Christian Leaders Urge Bipartisan Solutions That Protect Poor People As Sequestration Looms

February 26, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Nearly100 national Christian leaders released a letter February 25, to PresidentObama and the leaders of Congress "affirmingthe government's responsibility concerning poor people."The letterfurther stated "Assuring government's obligation to advance the commongood, ensure fairness, and defend the most vulnerable is good religion and goodpolitics."Theletter was sent on behalf of the ecumenical "Circle of Protection" coalition.

"Weappreciate that President Obama has kept his promise to the Circle ofProtection to protect the poor, and that Republicans and Democrats agreed toshield many core programs benefiting people living in or near poverty from thesequestration cuts," wrote the leaders. "The focus of our nation's budgetnegotiations should not be about which politicians win or lose, but aboutwhether our budget decisions reflect our values. We will ask our churches topray as you continue to work together on the budget."

Signers of the letter included representatives of theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), National Association ofEvangelicals, Bread for the World, the United Church of Christ, the ChristianReformed Church in North America, the Reformed Church, the Wesleyan Church, theEvangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church and severalOrthodox Churches.

"Help us reduce hunger and poverty by expandingopportunity and justice, promoting economic growth and good paying jobs,stabilizing family life, and protecting the well-being of children," theywrote. "We celebrate the progress the world is making against hunger, poverty,and disease, and we are encouraged by the possibility of ending extreme hungerand poverty globally."

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, BishopRichard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, and Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishopof Baltimore, signed the letter. The bishops chair the USCCB Committees onDomestic Justice and Human Development, International Justice and Peace andEcumenical and Interreligious Affairs, respectively.

Other Catholic signers included Carolyn Woo, Ph.D.,president of Catholic Relief Services; Father Lary Snyder, president ofCatholic Charities USA; Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic HealthAssociation; and James F. Ennis, executive director of the National CatholicRural Life Conference.

More information is availableonline: www.circleofprotection.us

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Keywords: Circle of Protection,federal budget, poverty, domestic justice, ecumenical, Catholic Church, BishopStephen E. Blaire, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Bishop Denis Madden, CatholicRelief Services, Catholic Charities USA, President Obama, Congress,sequestration, poor people, programs

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