President Barack Obama met with Christian leaders Wednesday to talk about the economic crisis and its impact on Christian values and the poor.
In the ongoing budget debate, of which Obama wants to reduce deficit by $3.7 trillion over ten years, Christian leaders of the Circle of Protection urged the president to protect programs and projects for the poor.
The Christian leaders at the meeting were part a group called the Circle of Protection, which consists of five major organizations: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Bread for the World and the National Council of Churches.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a member of Circle of Protection, explained to The Christian Post that the Christian leaders told Obama that they supported the stance that the deficit problem should be fixed.
He said, "We are 100 percent supporting the idea that we must eliminate the deficit and debt and have to put the fiscal house in order."
However, the core concern is that the poor, domestically and worldwide, are the ones who will suffer the most-severe consequences. Rodriguez explained that during the deficit reduction period, projects and programs in line to be eliminated included those that deal with poverty domestically and globally.
"As Christians we are committed to Matthew 25 and Luke 4 to bring the good news to the poor and we do not want those programs to be compromised or sacrificed on the altar of politics," was the message that Rodriguez and the other leaders handed over to President Obama.
Rodriquez said that the non-partisan group had no political motives but only a completely Christian agenda.
The conversation with Obama took approximately 30 minutes and the religious group also met with other representatives who are addressing the issue, Senior Advisory Valerie Jarrett, Director of Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes and Director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois.
The Christian leaders are also planning to meet with leaders of the Republican party to give the same message.
During the conversation the president "has committed, said and endorsed the Circle of Protection," pledging to do everything possible not to allow the programs and projects that address the poor to be harmed.
Next week, the Christian leaders will hold a press conference with Obama, aiming to send the message to all members of Congress: "The Christian people want the financial matter to be resolved but do not want to sacrifice the poor."