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Including Evangelical Christians In U.S. Foreign Aid Discussion

“Washington is in an era of budget-cutting, so we frequently hear calls to shrink or eliminate U.S. foreign-assistance programs,” which is why “several religious groups … are highlighting how these programs reduce global poverty and hunger, saving millions of lives,” Richard Stearns, president of World Vision USA, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. However, he says “evangelical Christians [are] largely absent from this religious coalition” and notes that “a Pew survey earlier this year found that 56 percent of evangelicals think ‘aid to the world’s poor’ should be the first thing cut from the federal budget.”

“Americans should understand that foreign aid strengthens democracy” and saves lives, Stearns writes, noting the successes of PEPFAR, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and Feed the Future. He continues, “One objection that I often hear from evangelicals is that while aid is good, it is not the government’s job. Yes, individuals and churches play a vital role in aid and development. But governments play a unique and vital role that private organizations cannot” because of smaller budgets. Stearns concludes, “We cannot let others suffer simply because times are tough in the U.S. All Americans must understand the urgency of the human need and the effectiveness of our government’s aid programs” (11/11).