Faith Leaders from 50 States Call for PEPFAR Reauthorization
WASHINGTON – More than 80 faith and community leaders from all 50 states and across faith traditions are calling on Congress to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and maintain the US’ historic leadership in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
Christian musician Michael W. Smith, Christian hip hop artist Propaganda, Pastors Billy Schiel, Joe Hauer, and Jodi McCall, and lay leader Kenny Kamson authored a letter – cosigned by nearly 80 faith leaders – in support of PEPFAR, which has helped save 25 million lives from HIV/AIDS since its creation in 2003. Established during the Bush administration, the program would not have been possible without a group of unlikely allies, including faith-based leaders and organizations who advocated for PEPFAR and have been central to its success.
“The story of PEPFAR is a story of medical miracles and mercy, of faith and fierce advocacy,” the letter states. “Faith-based organizations were at the frontlines of the communities most affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis, and faith leaders knew the challenge at hand and the scale of intervention that was required.
“In a time when there is too much emphasis on what divides us, it’s important to rally around the tenets of faith that bring us together to do good for our fellow brothers and sisters. That’s why we faith leaders, from all 50 states, representing different denominations and traditions, are coming together in unity to ask Congress to fully support the reauthorization of PEPFAR.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will meet this morning to discuss the importance of PEPFAR and its continued work to ensure access to resources and life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS. The ONE Campaign is calling on Congress to continue strong bipartisan support for this program and reauthorize PEPFAR.