by Karen Methot
From the United Church of Christ
New census numbers out this week revealed that our nation’s official poverty rate is at 15.0 percent - meaning that 46.2 million people, including 16.1 million children, are living in poverty. One in seven of our neighbors are suffering on the economic margins. Faith advocates, with the leadership of the Circle of Protection coalition, have asked both presidential candidates to state why they care about poverty in the United States, and what they will do to alleviate it. You can watch the videos here.
The General Synod of the United Church of Christ has long spoken out in support of our brothers and sisters living in poverty and advocated collectively in defense of the common good. UCC congregations are actively engaged in direct service in their communities throughout the country, but it is only through the combined strength of our public and private efforts that we can begin to truly address the issue of poverty.
“Our faith calls us to place the poor and most marginalized in our communities at the forefront of concern. Those who struggle economically in our society, the most vulnerable -- children living in poverty, people living with chronic health issues, seniors, women trying to escape violence in their homes – do not have a voice at the policy-making table or a hand in influencing political campaigns. The United Church of Christ has a long history of actively serving the needs of vulnerable populations in our communities and advocating for systemic solutions that lift people out of poverty and uphold the common good. We urge all people to let your voices be heard through your vote. As our faith teachings remind us, nations are judged by how they treat the poorest and most vulnerable people. Our faith calls us to consider how our choices in this election season affect the ‘least of these.’”
If all of our candidates and elected officials followed these candidates’ example and plainly stated their plans to alleviate poverty, it would dramatically change our country’s election conversations. We would re-focus on protecting the most vulnerable among us as Jesus called us to do.
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