WASHINGTON – Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Florida, said Tuesday that he believes focusing on faith, family, and work are the keys to combating poverty in the United States.
Southerland addressed a full room of listeners attending the 2014 Evangelical Leadership Summit at the American Enterprise Institute's dinner on poverty, faith, and human flourishing, urging leaders of the Church to get in touch with those who are less fortunate. The congressman said that even though government has a role in helping the vulnerable population in America, it should be a small one.
"I think government clearly has a role," Southerland said in an interview with The Christian Post. "You've got some other friends of mine that believe through the tax structure that there is a public policy role for the government to incentivize work. But we also talk about programs such as social security, medicare and medicaid...what roles do those play for those in a permanent state of vulnerability? Tonight we talked about taking a holistic approach, mind, body, and soul, and no one is better suited for that than the Church."
The congressman spoke about his upbringing in the church and his mother and father working hard in their family business as morticians. Southerland said he was taught about hard work at a young age, and followed the examples of his father and grandfather to develop a work ethic that is not only beneficial but biblical.
The 2014 AEI Evangelical Leadership summit continues today with a forum on foreign policy led by former Vice President Dick Cheney and will conclude with a dinner conversation on "The Pursuit of Happiness," hosted by Arthur Brooks of AEI and Eric Metaxas of Socrates in the City.