WASHINGTON, July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, a group of Christian leaders is releasing videos in which U.S. presidential candidates explain how they would work to address poverty both in the United States and around the world as president.
The videos were made by Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Bernie Sanders. The videos will go live on July 21, 10:00 a.m. EDT at www.circleofprotection.us.
Additional videos will be posted as they are received. The Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham, Martin O'Malley, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio campaigns have already indicated that they plan to make videos.
The 100 Christian leaders, as part of the Circle of Protection coalition, sent each presidential candidate a letter asking him or her to produce a video stating how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.
The videos are being disseminated among the Christian leaders' wide networks and members in order to raise hunger and poverty as an election issue. They can also be seen at www.circleofprotection.us and on YouTube.
"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?" the letter asked. The letter is available at www.circleofprotection.us.
The Circle of Protection represents a diverse array of Christian denominations, churches, colleges, and agencies across the country. They will not publicly evaluate the policy positions or endorse any candidate.
"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 added in the letter.
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 Christian leaders see the videos as the beginning of an active debate about how to alleviate hunger and poverty, and hope these issues will be at the center of the presidential campaign.
Quotes from some of the leaders of the Circle of Protection follows:
Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World
"The experience of God's love for all people in Jesus Christ moves us to urge changes that will make our nation and the world better reflect God's love for all people. We are making hunger and poverty an election issue, so that the president and Congress who take office in 2017 will put us on track toward ending hunger and poverty. God has made it possible for our generation to dramatically reduce – perhaps even end – hunger in our country and around the world."
Galen Carey, vice president for government relations, National Association of Evangelicals
"Christians are deeply concerned about the suffering of hungry and poor people. We expect our presidential candidates to move beyond platitudes about the middle class and inspirational rags-to-riches stories. We are looking for well-conceived initiatives that can actually be implemented and that will help millions of people rise out of poverty at home and abroad."
Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO, Catholic Charities USA
"As an active member of The Circle of Protection, Catholic Charities USA applauds the group's collective efforts to elevate the issue of poverty to a national level. By inspiring Presidential candidates to share their ideas and policies to help reduce poverty, The Circle of Protection embodies and emboldens Pope Francis' imperative for world leaders to address the plight of poor persons. Catholic Charities USA and its member agencies will continue to respond to this call to provide the compassionate care so desperately needed by those on the margins and to continue to advocate tirelessly for just policies that strengthen our social safety net."
Rev. Gabe Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
"At the heart of our Christian faith is advocacy and care for poor and hungry people. As a Latino evangelical leader I am glad that presidential candidates are responding to our collective call to act on their behalf. The greatness of a nation rests, in part, on how we act toward the most vulnerable. Silence is not an option."
Rev. Jim Wallis, CEO and president, Sojourners
"The extensive poverty still present in the world's richest nation is a continuing moral scandal, as is the extreme poverty in many countries around the world. The good news is that these are both problems that we can now solve. The only real question is whether we have the moral and political will to do so. So Christian leaders intend to put poverty, both at home and around the world, on the election agenda in 2016.
"We are starting by asking each presidential candidate—from the two major political parties—what he or she will do to overcome poverty. We are encouraged by more conversation about poverty and economic inequality than we have heard for some time—on both sides of the political aisle—so it is time to ask each person who wants to be president what his or her approach and strategy will be. We need a national debate in this election year on how to reduce and end poverty—a goal we all can help achieve. So let the debate begin!"
The Circle of Protection is a coalition of many and diverse Christian leaders working together for help and opportunity for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world. www.circleofprotection.us
SOURCE Circle of Protection