Bishop Richard Pates is one of 100 Christian leaders around the country challenging the presidential candidates to appear on camera in a video stating how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.
Christian Leaders Challenge Presidential Candidates
to Focus on Ending Hunger, Poverty
Washington, D.C., January 15, 2015 – As President Obama prepares to present his plan for his final two years in office in the annual State of the Union address next week, a group of Christian leaders is already looking ahead to what the next president may do to address hunger and poverty.
The group of 100 Christian leaders around the country is challenging the presidential candidates to appear on camera in a video stating how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.
"We are praying for a president who will make ending hunger and poverty a top priority of his or her administration. Are you that leader?" a statement from the group asks. The full statement is available at www.circleofprotection.us.
The leaders, convened by the Circle of Protection, represent a diverse array of Christian denominations, churches, colleges, and agencies across the country. They will disseminate the videos throughout their networks and memberships in order to raise hunger and poverty as an election issue.
"We will be calling on people of faith to examine presidential candidates to see if they have a heart for poor and hungry people. We want to know how each candidate proposes to fulfill the mandate to those who govern to "give deliverance to the needy" (Psalm 72), the leaders said in their statement released today.
Bishop Richard Pates, a board member of Bread for the World, stated: “Pope Francis has drawn attention to the plight of the poor going unnoticed in a culture focused on the individual and materialism. The Circle of Protection brings to the forefront in the United States the respect and assistance which every person is deserving of, especially so in history’s wealthiest country.”
According to the latest U.S. Census data, 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger, while 45 million live in poverty. One in five children lives in poverty. That is 15 million children, 5 million of them under age 6.
The challenge to candidates was issued today during a press conference organized by the Circle of Protection. Speakers included Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals; Rev. Sèkinah Hamlin, director of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative; Rev. Carlos Malavè, executive director of Christian Churches Together; Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; and Rev. Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners.