As famine looms in East Africa, American evangelical leaders seek to rally support for aid budget for needy

As an American Christian moralist myself, I struggle over the competing claims on our foreign policy in the context of values of compassion and honesty; basic programs to seek to assist the poorest and least powerful facing hunger and sickness are surely needed by others, necessary for us to be who we aspire to be in the world and are surely affordable in the context of our resources.

Here are excerpts from a story in Christianity Today on the public letter from Anerican evangelical leaders on the assistance budget:

The leaders of America’s top evangelical aid groups and denominations urged Congress today to reject proposed cuts to foreign aid in a letter signed by more than 100 prominent Christians, including 2 of the 6 clergy who prayed at President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
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The Trump administration released its budget blueprint Thursday, which outlines the anticipated cutbacks to international aid programs. The plan reduces the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) budget by 28 percent.

“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,’” they stated. Currently, foreign assistance—America’s contribution to health care and development efforts abroad—represents a fraction of 1 percent of the nation’s budget.

Signatories include leaders from humanitarian aid groups including World Vision USA, World Relief, Compassion International, Living Water International, Food for the Hungry, as well as denominational leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, Wesleyan Church, Church of Nazarene, the Anglican Church in North America, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and the National Association of Evangelicals. Catholic Relief Services and several Catholic dioceses also signed the letter.

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The letter sent to Congress emphasizes the Christian perspective that America cannot turn away from “those in desperate need” when it has been “blessed” with resources. Stearns went on to suggest cutting programs could halt or even undo the advancements made to eradicate diseases, reduce poverty, and improve education. “We risk losing the hard-won progress against poverty, wasting billions of dollars and decades of efforts,” he said. . . .

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