Interfaith Leaders Urge Congress to Remember the 'Least of These'
As presidential candidates ponder cuts to foreign assistance, leaders from a variety of faith groups held a press conference today on Capitol Hill where they urged the nation to continue funding federal programs that help poor and hungry people around the world.
"As people of faith, we believe the moral measure of the budget debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare," said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "Every proposal needs to be looked at in terms of how it treats those Jesus called, 'the least of these.'"
Foreign aid programs make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget. In 2007, slightly more than 40 percent of total U.S. foreign assistance went to programs that work in poor communities to immunize children, train teachers, build water wells, schools, and rural roads, and provide agricultural training to help farmers increase their productivity.
Left: Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, speaks at the press conference. Behind him are Rev. John McCullough (left), Executive Director and CEO of Church World Service, and Dr. Sayyid Sayeed (right), National Director for Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North America.
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