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Over 200 Evangelical Leaders Write Open Letter to Bush on Poverty and his 2nd Term

From the Evangelicals for Social Action mailing list:

"On Monday, January 17, scores of prominent evangelical leaders honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by sending to President Bush a letter urging him to strengthen and expand his efforts to overcome hunger and poverty in his second term....
ESA played the leading role in developing the letter to President Bush - copied below - seeking signatures, and getting it to the president."

"January 17, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write as evangelical leaders to urge a strengthened, expanded emphasis on overcoming hunger and poverty both here and abroad in the next four years. Precisely the commitment to moral values (including the sanctity of human life) that shapes all our political activity compels us to insist that as a nation we must do more to end starvation and hunger and strengthen the capacity of poor people to create wealth and care for their families.

We are grateful for your faith-based initiative and the way this approach is strengthening the ability of faith-based organizations to bring their unique gifts and passion to the task of overcoming social brokenness and poverty. We are also grateful for the way your administration has expanded the American contribution to economic development and the battle against AIDS in Africa and other developing countries through the Millennium Challenge Account and the AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Initiative. Thank you also for your moral leadership in the fight against human trafficking, your commitment to rebuild the U.S. refugee program, and your sustained efforts to end decades of war in Sudan.

Tragically, however, both at home and abroad, the number of people in poverty remains unacceptably high.

In 2000, virtually every nation on the planet approved the Millennium Development Goals that included a commitment to halve global poverty by 2015. But adequate funds to meet these goals are not being given, and the U.S. ranks absolutely last (as a percentage of GNP) among all developed nations in its governmental assistance to overcome global poverty. Our nation has fallen far short of the increases in health and development assistance that you proposed. The richest nation in history can and must grasp the opportunity to lead.

Poverty in our own nation has increased in the last several years and millions more working poor lack health insurance.

We agree with you that there is a poverty of the soul and a poverty of the wallet and that government should not try to solve the first. We pledge to you to strengthen the armies of compassion in order to do more through our faith-based organizations to overcome the poverty of the soul.

But our faith-based social service agencies cannot by themselves solve the problem of poverty of the wallet. As you have often said, government can and should help solve this problem. Tragically, millions of Americans today work full time and still fall below the poverty level. The moral values that shape our lives tell us this is wrong. We believe our rich nation should agree that everyone who works full time responsibly will be able to earn enough to rise above the poverty level and enjoy health insurance.

We know there will be powerful pressures, from some places, as you and the Congress work to reduce deficit spending, to cut even effective programs for poor people. We pray that you will not allow this to happen. We pray that God will give you the strength to act like the righteous king in Ps. 72:12-13 and “deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help, take pity on the weak and the needy, and save the needy from death.”

We call on you, Mr. President, to declare, in your Inaugural or State of the Union address, that it is the policy of your administration to make the necessary improvements in the next four years so that all Americans who work full time responsibly will be able to escape poverty and enjoy health insurance.

This policy would strengthen the family, discourage divorce, reduce out-of-wedlock births and strengthen moral values in our nation. If the Bible teaches us anything clearly on this issue, it is, as the recent declaration of the National Association of Evangelicals said, that “God measures societies by how they treat the people at the bottom.”

A dramatic reduction in poverty, both here and abroad, would honor our Lord who called us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. It would also be a wonderful legacy for you to leave with the American people and indeed the world. Such an outcome is clearly within the reach of the richest nation in history. The moral values you share with us demand no less.

We request the opportunity to meet with you and your administration to discuss ways that we can help you strengthen your administration’s efforts to overcome hunger and poverty.


Robert Andringa, President, Council For Christian Colleges and Universities
Paul Armes, President, Wayland Baptist University
Todd Bassett, National Commander, The Salvation Army
David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World
Esdras Betancourt, Director of Hispanic Ministries, Church of God
David Black, President, Eastern University
Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director, CRWRC
William Brown, President, Cedarville University
George Brushaber, President, Bethel College & Seminary
Gaylen Byker, President, Calvin College
Jerry Cain, President, Judson College
Galen Carey, Director, Advocacy and Policy, World Relief
R.Judson Carlberg, President, Gordon College
Joel Carpenter, Provost, Calvin College
John Castellani, President, Teen Challenge International USA
Daniel Chamberlain, President, Houghton College
Richard Chamiec-Case, Director, N. American Assoc. of Christians In Social Work
Richard Cizik, V.P. of Governmental Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals
Dennis Clements, Chairman, Reaching Indians Ministries International
John Derry, President, Hope International University
Dave Donaldson, President, We Care America
Larry Donnithorne, President, Colorado Christian University
G. Dowden, President, Huntington College
James Edwards, President, Anderson University
Bill Emery, Chairman, Virginia Round Table
Bernard Evans, President, Elim Fellowship
E.Lebron Fairbanks, President, Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Frederick Finks, President, Ashland Theological Seminary
Paul Fleischmann, President, National Network of Youth Ministries
Stan Gaede, President, Westmont College
Wayne Gordon, Chairman, Christian Community Dev. Assoc.
William Hamel, President, Evangelical Free Church of America
Doug Hodo, President, Houston Baptist University
Dennis Hollinger, President, Evangelical School of Theology
William Hossier, President, Missionary Church Inc
Clyde Hughes, General Overseer, International Pentecostal Church of Christ
William Ipema, Vice President, Leadership Foundations of America
Bruce Jackson, Director, Christian Community Health Fellowship
Bryce Jessup, President, Jessup University
Glen Kehrein, Executive Director, Circle Urban Ministries
J.Nelson Kraybill, President, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Steven Livesay, President, Bryan College
Larry Lloyd, President, Crichton College
Joel MacCollam, Chief Executive World Emergency Relief
Ronald Manahan, President, Grace College & Theological Seminary
Jim Mannoia, President, Greenville College
Josh McDowell, Author/Speaker, Josh McDowell Ministry
David Moberg, Publisher, W Publishing
Chuck Moore, President, Northern Seminary
Bruce Murphy, President, Northwestern College
George W. Murray, President, Columbia International University
David Neff, Editor, Christianity Today Magazine
Larry Nikkel, President, Tabor College
Michael Nyenhuis, President, MAP International
Glenn R. Palmberg, President, Evangelical Covenant Church
John E. Phelan, Jr, President, North Park Theological Seminary
William Robinson, President, Whitworth College
Andrew Ryskamp, Executive Director, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Scott Sabin, Executive Director, Floresta USA
Donald Sharp, Pastor, Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church of Chicago
Amy Sherman, Director, Faith In Communities
Ronald Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action
Michael Sigman, Bishop, Evangelical Congregational Church
Barry St. Clair, President, Reach Out Youth Solutions
Richard E. Stearns, President, World Vision
Loren Swartzendruber, President, Eastern Mennonite University
Pat Taylor, President, Southwest Baptist University
Steve Timmermans, President, Trinity Christian College
Joseph Tkach, President/General Pastor, Worldwide Church of God
Thomas Trask, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God
Bill Vermillion, General Superintendent, Evangelical Churches of N. America
Jon Wallace, President, Azusa Pacific University
Jim Wallis, Convenor, Call To Renewal
Craig Williford, President, Denver Seminary
James Wolff, Pastor, Lawndale Christian Reformed Church
Tim Ziemer, Executive Director, World Relief
Jason McGaughey
Rev. Delvin A. Roper, Retired United Methodist Pastor
Chad Allen, Editor, Baker Books
Virginia Mulhern
Carl Jordan, Retired teacher
Lois Jordan, Retired teacher
Ursula Kaplowitz
Matt Rindge, Writer
James R. Monroe, Pastor
Jonathan Ferguson, Ministry Coordinator
Victoria Fitoon, Counselor
Dr. CG White, Pastor
Roger Eberly, Pastor
John Stonecypher, Pastor
Dale A. Painter
Kathryn A. Painter
Paul Faber, Dean
Jacinta Faber, member, St. Andrews Episcopal
Mary Anne Poe, Director of Social Work
Laurie Gruenbeck
Joe Carson, President, Affil. of Christian Engineers
Matt Campbell
Wendy Campbell
Linda Messamore
Phil Landers, Rev.
Deborah McFatter, Evangelical Lutheran Church
Larry McFatter, Evangelical Lutheran Church
Deborah Abello, Director I, Migrant Education Region 23
Jo Kadlecek, Writer
Jennifer Fair
Nathan D. Wilson, Rev.
Becky Horst, Director of CALL
Rev. Gene Beerens, Vice Chair, Reentry Roundtable of Kent
Becky Johnson, Pastor
Leroy & Kari Huizenga
James Huff, professor
Todd M. Muller, After School Director
Rodney Steward-Wilcox, Rev.
Michael Finely, author
Daphne Krabill Hollinger, agricultural intern
Marc Averill
David Lynn Smith, M.D.
Erma Mae Perkins
Susan Gilbert Zencka, Rev., PCUSA
Wendy Tobias
Jill Shook, Pasadena/Altadena Congregations
Stan Franco, Deacon
David Wetzell, Bethel Student
Brian Heller
Heidi Muller, Youth worker
Walter Shurden, professor
Allison Caylor, Karl Road Baptist Church
Claude Good, Coordinator, Franconia Mennonite Conf
Thomas Litteer, Rev.
Kristin Stults
Elliot Hui
Walt Miller, Pastor-retired
Paul Hanneman, Program Director, Urban Ministry Center
Katherine L. Vandegrift
Robert Henderson, Pastor, Presbyterian
Jim Henderlite, Deacon
Ted Lucas, M.D.
Freda B. Schlaman
Patrick Cicero
Helena Cicero
Faithe Zercher, Director Adult Services
Boyd Holliday, Pastor, Methodist
George Patterson II
Joseph F. Gamarano Jr.
A. C. Cuppy, Rev.
Luisa Hansel, Rev.
Patrick Cabello Hansel, Rev.
Willis Sutter, Past-President, IL Mennonite Conference
Laura A. Starrett, M.D.
Richard P. Starrett, M.D.
Ken Burkholder
Stephen Valder, M.D.
Odette Valder, M.D.
Anniegrace Bassage
Lance W. Jobe, M.D.
Scott Meier
Christine M. Corneille
Kyle Small, Covenant Church
Richard Lamb
Mary Fox
Cecil Prescod
Denise Ribera Luxton, Riverside Church
Edith Johnson
Jim Johnson
Maxwell Carroll
Mike Wallens, Chaplain
Jim Bender, Deputy Director
Walter Shurden, Professor
Fredric E. Spalding, Pastor
Niles R. Sharif, Lawyer
Kenneth Hunn, Rev.
James Moore, Baptist General Conference Minnesota
Curt Dodson, Rev.
Lynn I Thrush, Pastor
Judy Harmon, Lay Church Leader
Robert Harmon, Dr.
Greg Jackson, M.D.
Scot F Martin
Peter A. Dearstyne
Michel Hostetter, Rep Eastern Mennonite Missions - Chile
Paul Burks, Rev., United Methodist Minister-retired
Steve Sharp, Upper School Director, The Kings Academy
Phil Olson, Pastor, Presbyterian
Sarita Dinnocente
James E Wolff, Lawndale Christian Reformed Church
G Peter Schrek, Prof. of Pastoral Care&Counseling, EBTS
Audrey Benjamin
Andrew Benjamin
Donald L Sharp, Pastor, Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church of Chicago
Kevin Waters, Lay Pastor, Pleasant Plain, OH
Brian Vosburg
William Calhoun
George Alcser, Professor Mary Grove College
Mike Etheridge
Janette Plunkett, Consultant
Pat Francis-Lyon "

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