Finding the Political Will to End Hunger
“God is moving in our time to end hunger, and we are invited to be part of this great liberation.” —David Beckmann
God suffers when one child dies, let alone when thousands die needlessly every day from hunger-related causes. Yet God is also undoubtedly part of the drive to liberate humanity from hunger. Significant success in reducing global hunger and poverty over the past 30 years has given us reason to be optimistic. Our faith in God further reinforces this hope. But an end to hunger will not come automatically; we still have a long way to go.
At Bread for the World, we believe that it is our duty as Christians to urge Congress and the administration to create policies that help hungry and poor people at home and abroad. Doing our part to help those most in need is crucial to our religious integrity. When we fail to help needy people, our religion becomes self-centered and lacks a true connection to God and Jesus. I kept this belief firmly in mind while writing Exodus from Hunger, and I hope it will guide fellow Christians to action.
I have been fortunate enough to have diverse experiences that allowed me to broaden my religious and professional horizons; these aided me in writing this book. I have studied in various places (from Yale to Ghana), visited dozens of countries, and worked as an economist for the World Bank. The knowledge I gained enables me to consider the issues of hunger and poverty with a mind that is open to different perspectives.
I believe that political advocacy is the best route to follow for an Exodus from Hunger. While charitable donations are certainly important, they are not enough. We cannot “food bank” our way out of hunger and poverty. As Christians, we have to go a step further. This is what I really wanted to convey in my book: it is God’s will that Christians go forward and actively work to win policies that benefit hungry and poor people everywhere in God’s world. This is how we will change history for hungry people. This is what Jesus would want from us.
Recently, some House Republicans have launched an effort to drastically cut the budget of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—the agency that delivers a major portion of U.S. assistance to those in need in developing countries. Most observers agree that USAID needs to be restructured and revitalized, but drastic cuts to its budget will not accomplish this. Rather, it will take much-needed help and opportunities from some of the world’s poorest people while doing very little to reduce the U.S. budget deficit.
As Christians, we must embrace our ability and our duty to help those who suffer. We must advocate on behalf of hungry and poor people in God’s name. Every year, Bread for the World invites churches, campuses, and other organizations to organize Offerings of Letters-- opportunities for Christians to come together and write letters to members of Congress on issues important to hungry people. Then, they prayerfully dedicate these letters as an offering to God. I urge all of us, as people of faith, to keep in regular touch with our members of Congress. Remind them to keep the needs of hungry and poor people in mind as they vote on legislation.
Exodus from Hunger:
We Are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger
By David Beckmann
Available @ www.TheThoughtfulChristian.com
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