Washington Post Examines Conservative Christian ‘Priorities’ on AIDS in Africa, Abortion Versus Cuts to U.S. Poverty Programs
The Washington Post on Wednesday examined how conservative Christians in recent years have "asserted their influence" on efforts fighting AIDS in Africa, promoting debt relief and curbing international sex trafficking but have "remained on the sidelines while liberal Christians protest domestic spending cuts" to programs for the poor. About 300 religious advocates from "mainline" Protestant and evangelical groups on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., will "try to get arrested" when they protest a House-approved measure that would cut $50 billion over five years from the federal budget by reducing food stamp rolls and child-support enforcement funds, instituting new fees on Medicaid recipients and paring agriculture programs, the Post reports. The groups protesting the measure in a statement asked Congress to create a budget that brings "good news to the poor." However, "prominent conservatives" will not be protesting with them because some conservative Christian groups, such as Colorado-based Focus on the Family, say the issue is not among their "priorities," which include abortion, same-sex marriage and confirming conservative judges, according to the Post. "It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," Paul Hetrick, a spokesperson for Focus on the Family, said, adding, "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that." Jim Wallis, editor of the liberal Christian journal Sojourners and an organizer of the protest, said that conservative religious leaders "have agreed to support cutting food stamps for poor people if Republicans support them on judicial nominees," adding, "They are trading the lives of poor people for their agenda. They're being, and this is the worst insult, unbiblical" (Weisman/Cooperman, Washington Post, 12/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.