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100+ Christian leaders tell Congressional leadership: Protect foreign assistance

Catholic and evangelical leaders, pastors, artists, and other high-profile Christians urge lawmakers to support resources for the State Department and USAID

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 100 Christian leaders from across the United States are calling on Congress to avoid disproportionate cuts to America’s foreign assistance programs that make up less than 1% of the federal budget.

In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, the signers write: “It is our moral responsibility to urge you to support and protect the International Affairs Budget” noting “we cannot turn our back on those in desperate need.”

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.

As the budget process moves to Capitol Hill, the leaders stress that America must remain that “shining city on a hill” that “brings hope to poor, hungry, [and] vulnerable.”

106 Faith Leaders Sign Letter to Congressional Leadership
Supporting U.S. International Affairs Budget

March 16, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader
The Capitol S-230
Washington, DC 20510The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House of Representatives
The Capitol H-232
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader
The Capitol S-221
Washington, DC 20510The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader
The Capitol H-204
Washington, DC 20515

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

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

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Immediate Past President
Southern Baptist Convention

Amy Grant

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

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

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 theChurch.at

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

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

Matt Maher

Jonathan Martin
Writer and Speaker

Aaron Graham, Lead Pastor
The District Church


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