Out of The Spotlight

Faith Leaders Meet with Obama to Make the Case for Antipoverty Programs

"Out of the Spotlight" Posting for July 28, 2011

A diverse coalition of faith leaders from both sides of the aisle met with President Obama last week to advocate for low-income Americans, urging the President and other top policymakers to reduce the deficit without putting critical antipoverty programs in jeopardy.

The meeting comes after months of high-profile activity by these and other faith leaders in defense of key programs for the poor.  Participants at the meeting are part of larger movement called the “Circle of Protection.”  This movement released a statement in April which calls on Christians to pray and “speak out for justice” to protect domestic and international programs that serve vulnerable populations. Over 13,000 people sent memoranda in support of the “Circle of Protection” statement to Congress.

Meeting attendee Reverend David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said “Everything we have achieved for poor and hungry people in the last 35 years is under severe threat of budget cuts.” OOTS readers will remember that Reverend Beckmann talked about the Circle of Protection in an April Spotlight webcast about why he and others were fasting to protest potential budget cuts.

Others who met with President Obama included representatives from the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sojourners, the Alliance to End Hunger, the Salvation Army, the National African American Clergy Network, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

These activities are a good reminder of the many different communities and constituencies who are watching ongoing budget negotiations with caution and concern.  OOTS will be sure to keep track of these and other developments as the tense debate moves on to its next stage.

Posted by Sarah


Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn't always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact mlaracy@aecf.org or watersboots@hotmail.com