Smiley Calls for Coordinated Responses to Poverty
Barrington M. Salmon | 1/9/2013, 11:54 a.m.
The leaders had been meeting and advocated for a "Circle of Protection" around funding programs that are vital to the continued well-being of the poor and the hungry in the United States and the world.
Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of the Diocese of Stockton, Calif., and chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, characterized elected officials' inaction as a scandal and a moral outrage.
The prelates said they see poverty as they feed and clothe those in need and provide housing and other services so that poor individuals and families can sustain themselves.
"We need robust debate for the poor. This is no surprise. Few of our leaders even mention the poor, much less offer strong strategy. Panelists in the debates should ask, voters should ask at every campaign stop. We need integrity, justice and honesty, and provide those in need with programs and funding," said Galen Carey, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals.
Smiley said he expects very robust debate at next week's forum. Among the participants will be former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, author John Graham, and author, economist and poverty expert Jeffery Sachs.
"It's time for a spirited debate. I want to see if we can come up with some ideas," he said. "I'm anxious to hear what Gingrich has to say. It will be a pleasure to have him there. We need a civil and sensible conversation on what we can agree on."
Those seeking forum information can go to the website, 2013.www.afuturewithoutpoverty.com.