Christian Leaders Hold Gov't Accountable on Top Social Issues

WASHINGTON – Christian leaders on Tuesday spoke out on some of the nation’s top social concerns, including global warming, Iraq and poverty.

Representatives of prominent faith campaigns convened for a teleconference to remind the new 110th Congress, which began its first week of work this week, of the issues the faith community wants to see changes in.

The Rev. Dr. Paul de Vries, a National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) board member and president of New York Divinity School, discussed the importance of the creation care agenda to NAE and Christians. He called upon the new Congress to take action on pollution reduction, raising the standard of fuel efficiency, and proper care of natural life and natural habitat.

“God made humans responsible as His image and His representatives on Earth,” said de Vries, who noted that God is present in all His creation and takes it “personally” how humans treat the things God created.

Speakers during the teleconference reminded participants that many members of the new Congress had spoken about their faith and how it influenced their positions on Iraq, poverty, the minimum wage, and other issues. The faith leaders said they aim to hold the 110th Congress accountable to the faith agendas they promised.

The Rev. Rick Ufford Chase represented the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq and discussed efforts to press Congress to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Chase said his group’s campaign aims to press Congressional leaders to end the war in Iraq and develop a clear plan to do this, support soldiers and their families, and be a Christian witness against the war.

Poverty was the focused of both Sojourners and Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign. Jeff Carr, Sojourners’ chief operating officer, said his organization has three legislative agendas this year: to make work work, reduce poverty of children by half in the course of ten years, and ending extreme poverty by committing to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

Sojourners is a supporter of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign, a nonpartisan coalition of 90 faith and community organizations, which calls on a federal raise in minimal wage from $5.15 to $7.25.

Other faith leaders who spoke include the Rev. Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, on immigration reforms and Jeanne Herrick-Stare, chair of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, on passage of legislation that would prohibit policies allowing torture.