More than 100 Christian leaders urge Capitol Hill to protect the international affairs budget

More than 100 Christian leaders urge Capitol Hill to protect the international affairs budget

This morning, more than a hundred Christian leaders sent a letter to Capitol Hill urging our leaders in Congress to protect the international affairs budget. The signers—representing the Catholic and evangelical communities—include national leaders, pastors, heads of faith organizations, recording artists, and authors. Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who spoke at the 2017 inauguration, also are among the signers.

They delivered a simple message: “Matthew 25 tells us when we serve the least of these, we are serving the Lord.  As people of faith, we cannot turn our back on those in desperate need.” The money, time, and effort we expend on behalf of those who live in extreme poverty around the world is part of devotion to God. It’s not optional, it’s part of the mission.

Our country’s budget reflects our nation’s character. The hand up we offer to a woman seeking to leave the abuse of her trafficker is reflected in our choices. Our country’s answer to the pleading mother running from conflict is determined by whether or not we show up to help. These faith leaders stand in a long tradition of calling our nation to uphold those who live on the margins. It’s core to what it means to live as a Christian, but it’s also something that’s been true of us as Americans.

Just as we, together with our country’s leaders, stepped up to care for those suffering from HIV a decade and a half ago, so too should we continue to forestall the underlying conditions of necessity that drive education inequality and extreme poverty.

Here at ONE, we’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with pastors, bishops, artists, and ministry leaders who care about the most vulnerable. Like they said, “As followers of Christ, it is our moral responsibility to urge you to support and protect the International Affairs Budget, and avoid disproportionate cuts to these vital programs…”

We couldn’t agree more.
The letter reads:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Minority Leader Pelosi,

As Christian leaders, it’s an honor to represent dedicated and faithful citizens living in every congressional district in this country. We’re writing to share our support for the International Affairs Budget that every day brings hope to poor, hungry, vulnerable and displaced men, women and children around the world.

America is blessed with fertile land, abundant natural resources, a strong economy, and faithful citizens who value religious freedom. But beyond our borders, many countries experience unparalleled suffering and loss of life due to extreme poverty, disease, natural disasters, and conflict. Today, there are 65 million displaced people, the most since World War II, and 795 million people still go to bed hungry every night.

Matthew 25 tells us when we serve the least of these, we are serving the Lord. As people of faith, we cannot turn our back on those in desperate need. We are grateful for America’s global development and diplomacy programs that have been instrumental in saving lives, safeguarding religious liberties, and keeping America safe and secure. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have strong legacies of supporting humanitarian and development programs that enable countless people to pull themselves out of poverty and live life with dignity. It is through these diplomatic and development tools that we’ve seen countries and communities build peaceful, productive societies that do not turn to violence or terrorism.

At a time when we’re especially security conscious, the International Affairs Budget is crucial to demonstrating our values to the world, building friendships with other nations, and lowering security risks around the world.

With just 1 percent of our nation’s budget, the International Affairs Budget has helped alleviate the suffering of millions; drastically cutting the number of people living in extreme poverty in half, stopping the spread of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDs and Ebola, and nearly eliminating polio. Additionally, it promotes freedom and human rights, protecting religious freedom for millions around the world.

As followers of Christ, it is our moral responsibility to urge you to support and protect the International Affairs Budget, and avoid disproportionate cuts to these vital programs that ensure that our country continues to be the “shining city upon a hill.”

Thank you for your consideration.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals

Rich Stearns, President, World Vision USA

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, Chairman of the Board, Catholic Relief Services

Michael W. Smith, Singer/Songwriter

Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Immediate Past President, Southern Baptist Convention

Amy Grant, Singer/Songwriter

Shirley V. Hoogstra, J.D., President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

Tom Lin, President & CEO, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Third Day, Christian Rock Band

Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity

Mark Labberton, President, Fuller Theological Seminary

Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki, Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco

David Wilson, General Secretary, Church of the Nazarene

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. Archbishop of Louisville

Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, President & CEO, Compassion International

John Crosby, Senior Pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church

Rev. Johnnie Moore, Author

Bob Bouwer, Reverend, Faith Church (8 locations)

John K. Jenkins Sr., Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Glenarden

Keith Stewart, Senior Pastor, Springcreek Church

Alec Hill, President Emeritus, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief Corporation

Martha Newsome, President & CEO, Medical Teams International

J. Ron Byler, Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee

Mike Mantel, President & CEO, Living Water International

Carol Bremer-Bennett, Executive Director, World Renew

Gary Edmonds, President & CEO, Food for the Hungry

Anita Smith, President, Children’s AIDS Fund

Shepherd Smith, President, Institute for Youth Development

Bruce Wilkinson, President & CEO, Catholic Medical Mission Board

Steve Stirling, President & CEO, MAP International

Peter Vander Meulen, Coordinator in Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Joel K. Johnson, Pastor, Westwood Community Church

James H. Barnes III, President, Bethel University

Steve Moore, Board Chair, World Relief

Deborah Smith Pegues, Board of Directors, World Vision USA

Rev. Jonathan Odom, Pastor, Asbury UMC

Dr. Mark Wilbanks, Senior Pastor, Wieuca Road Baptist Church

Dr. Stephen Treash, Senior Pastor, Black Rock Church

Laura Truax, Senior Pastor LaSalle Street Church

Jeffrey Moes, Senior Pastor, Sunnybrook Community Church

Gino Grunberg, Co-Pastor, Harbor Christian Center

Rev. Jay Madden, Pastor for Mission, Peachtree Presbyterian Church

Chris Cramer, Pastor, Orchard Grove Community Church

Chad Hayward, Executive Director, Accord Network

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals

Scott Garber, Author

Ken Wytsma, Senior Pastor, Antioch Church

William Minchin, Pastor of Business Administration, Grace Fellowship Church

Rev. Eugene Cho, Lead Pastor & Founder, Quest Church/One Day’s Wages

Bishop Horace E. Smith, MD, Senior Pastor, Apostolic Faith Church

Ted Esler, President, Missio Nexus

Rev. Dr. Michael L. Henderson, Senior Pastor, New Beginnings Church

Dr. G. Craig Williford, President, Multnomah University

Carmen Fowler Laberge, President, Presbyterian Lay Committee

Colin P. Watson, Sr., Director of Ministries and Administration, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Dr. Don Argue, Ambassador at Large, Convoy of Hope

Scott Ridout, President, Converge

Rev. Dr. Liz Mosbo VerHage, Associate Pastor, Quest Church

Gregory Loewer, Pastor for Missions, Columbia Baptist Church

Jim Lyon, General Director, Church of God Ministries

Constantine M. Triantafilou, Executive Director & CEO, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)

Alan Robinson, National Director, Brethren in Christ, U. S.

Mark S. Young, President, Denver Seminary

M. Craig Barnes, President, Princeton Theological Seminary

Adam Pray, Minister,

Dennis Hollinger, Ph.D., President, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Alan Cureton, President, University of Northwestern

Jon Middendorf, Pastor, OKC First Church of the Nazarene

Rev. Bobby Griffith, Jr., Pastor, City Presbyterian Church

Rev. David Cassidy, Pastor, Christ Community Church

Dr. Timothy J. Brooks, Lead Pastor, South Portland Church of the Nazarene

Rev. Doug Serven, Pastor, City Presbyterian Church

Rev. Dan Claire, Rector, Church of the Resurrection

Rev. Joel St. Clair, Pastor, Mosaic Community Church

Dr. O. Alan Noble, Assistant Professor of English, Oklahoma Baptist University

Rev. Dr. Irwyn Ince Jr., Pastor, City of Hope Presbyterian Church

Rev. Russ Whitfield, Pastor, Grace Mosaic Church

The Right Rev. Dr. Steven A. Breedlove, Diocese, Christ our Hope, Anglican Church in North America

Rev. Alan Cross, Executive Director, Community Development Initiatives Montgomery Baptist Association

Rev. Dr. James C. Howell, Senior Pastor, Myers Park United Methodist Church

Rev. Don Flowers, Jr., Senior Pastor, Providence Baptist Church

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America

Dr. Chris Ellis, Minister of Mission and Outreach, Second Baptist Church

Dr. Stephen Cook, Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church

Dr. Christopher Pollock, Lead Pastor, Midtown Church

Peter Greer, CEO, HOPE International

David W. Kendall, Bishop, Free Methodist Church, USA

David T. Roller, Bishop, Free Methodist Church, USA

Matthew A. Thomas, Bishop, Free Methodist Church, USA

Justin B. Fung, Pastor of Teaching & Formation, The District Church

Jason Surratt, Pastor of Stewardship and Global Missions, Seacoast Church

Dr. Gregg Okkesson, Dean, Asbury Theological Seminary

Stephanie Summers, CEO, Center for Public Justice

Ruth Anne Reese, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

Brandon Heath, Singer/Songwriter

Dr. Stephen Offutt, Assistant Professor of Development Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

Matt Maher, Singer/Songwriter

Jonathan Martin, Writer and Speaker

Aaron Graham, Lead Pastor, The District Church


It's easy:

Call your senator: Tell them your name, where you are calling from, and that you want the senator to oppose the President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to foreign aid.

It's easy:

Call your senator: Tell them your name, where you are calling from, and that you want the senator to oppose the President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to foreign aid.

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