US: Churches Call For Action On Poverty
The plight of Americans living in poverty has not improved during the last year, according to newly released Census data, and Christian leaders said Wednesday (Sept. 12) that poverty must become a priority for Christians if it is not a priority for Washington.
"Across the political and theological spectrum, the faith community is putting aside differences and taking up the biblical vocation of protecting the poor and bringing their stories and struggles to light," said Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, a progressive Christian group based in Washington.
According to U.S. Census data released Wednesday, in 2011 median household income declined and the poverty rate remained mostly unchanged from 2010, at 15 percent. The federal government defines poverty as annual income of $23,021 for a family of four.
Wallis said the new data indicate that the "Circle of Protection" around the poor that he and other Christian leaders launched last year remains necessary. Advocates asked both President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to state on camera how they plan to tackle poverty.
Obama, in his video, talked about creating jobs and raising wages, health care, retirement, housing and education. "We can pay down our debt in a balanced and responsible way, but we cannot balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable," he said.
In his video, Romney said the nation "must restore our economy and reduce our debt. When our economy is healthy and growing, we have the resources to take care of those who still find themselves in need."
The Holy Qur'an commands citizens to continually donate and help the poor, saying:
If you give alms openly, it is well and good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you; and He will remove from you many of your sins. And Allah is aware of what you do. [Holy Quran, 2:272]
and for those who are able to fast only with great difficulty is an expiation — the feeding of a poor man. And whoso performs a good work with willing obedience, it is better for him. [Holy Quran, 2:185]
And when other relations and orphans and the poor are present at the division of heritage, give them something therefrom and speak to them words of kindness. [Holy Quran, 4:9]
‘You shall worship nothing but Allah and show kindness to parents and to kindred and orphans and the poor, and speak to men kindly and observe Prayer [Holy Quran, 2:84]
The Ahmadiyya Post, US. 14 Sept 2012