The Common Good

Faith leaders ask DNC, RNC to showcase anti-poverty plans

By: Staff
Date: August 12, 2008

Prominent faith leaders are calling on the United States’ two major political parties to use their upcoming presidential-nominating conventions as platforms for showcasing how they would deal with poverty.

In a recent letter to presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and likely Democratic contender Barack Obama, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant leaders requested that both use prime-time speaking slots at the conventions to outline their respective plans for combating poverty.
"As people of faith, we believe that it is immoral to ignore our nation's most vulnerable populations," the leaders wrote.

They pointed out that more than 37 million Americans, including almost 13 million children, currently live below the federally defined poverty level. Millions more, they noted, are one crisis away from joining the ranks of the desperately poor.
"As Americans, we believe enduring poverty undermines our country's economic strength and prosperity,” the leaders said, pointing out that alleviating poverty requires national effort.

Faith leaders pledged to work together in the lead-up to the general election to “build the political and public will to combat poverty in the United States.”

The letter’s signers included David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches; Richard Cizik, vice president for government affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals; Jim Wallis, Sojourners chief executive officer; Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; Steve Gutow, Jewish Council for Public Affairs executive director; David Saperstein, director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Sayyid Syeed, Islamic Society of America secretary general; and Eboo Patel, executive director of Interfaith Youth Core.