The Common Good

Christian Leaders Oppose SNAP Cuts

Date: September 19, 2013

American Baptists joined other faith leaders in urging members of the House of Representatives to oppose cuts to food stamps proposed by Republican leaders totaling $40 billion over 10 years.

A vote is expected this week on a bill introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) to reduce costs of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that have doubled in the past five years.

An estimated 3.8 million people could be dropped from the rolls in 2014, and an average of 3 million people each year for the next decade. Opponents say the plan would hurt the most vulnerable Americans, including seniors, children and the working poor.

“Cutting SNAP and taking away vital nutrition assistance from children, seniors, low-wage workers and persons with disabilities will not address the larger economic trends or create more jobs with adequate wages,” Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, wrote House members Sept. 5. “Instead, this type of bill will punish those struggling to get by.”

Medley joined other faith leaders in appeals coordinated by the Circle of Protection, a coalition of more than 65 heads of denominations and religious organizations launched in 2011 by Sojourners head Jim Wallis.

“These immoral cuts are incongruent with the shared values of our nation,” Wallis added in a letter Sept. 9. “They demonstrate the triumph of political ideology and self-interest over sound public policy and concern for the general welfare.”