About this time last year, on the eve of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, I joined with other leaders of denominations and religious organizations in pledging to end hunger at home and abroad. Read more about that here. My actions, on behalf of Women of the ELCA, stood in a long line of hunger and poverty advocacy and service carried out by Women of the ELCA participants in the last 30 years.
Earlier this year, on behalf of Women of the ELCA, I signed on to a letter prepared by the Circle of Protection that was sent to the two presidential candidates, asking how they will address poverty and hunger in their administrations. More than 500,000 Americans, motivated by their faith, have signed pledges telling the candidates to share their plans for offering help and opportunity to hungry people and those living in poverty. You, too, can take that pledge.
I’ve joined hundreds of others in asking Lester Holt, the moderator for tonight’s presidential debate, to press the candidates on how they will alleviate hunger and poverty. Among the three topics identified for tonight’s debate is “prosperity.” How we can focus on prosperity when 43.1 million Americans live in poverty? When 1 in 5 children in the U.S. lack adequate food? These facts cannot be ignored.
[bctt tweet=”My invitation to you comes as a bipartisan request, Christian to Christian.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
My invitation to you comes as a bipartisan request, Christian to Christian. Jesus calls us to love and serve the neighbor and that includes making sure the neighbor has adequate food. Will you ask the debate moderator and the presidential candidates to discuss how they will provide help and opportunity to those who are hungry and those who are living in poverty? It’s the least we can do. Use the following tweets or adapt them yourself. Tweet right now.
@LesterHoltNBC will you ask @realDonaldTrump & @HillaryClinton how they will alleviate hunger & poverty? @TheCofP #WeAreWELCA
@LesterHoltNBC I’m counting on you to ask critical questions about hunger and poverty during tonight’s debate. @TheCofP #WeAreWELCA
If you’d like more resources to help you raise hunger and poverty issues, both in national and local elections, Bread for the World has resources just for this purpose.
[bctt tweet=”If you question whether you and I should be involved in this, you need only look to Scripture…” username=”womenoftheelca”]
If you question whether you and I should be involved in this, you need only look to Scripture for the many, many references where God’s followers are called to do justice, to care for the hungry, to bring good news to the poor. Our commitment as a church was made clear in The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective, a social teaching statement adopted by a more than two-thirds majority vote of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly (1991). “As a prophetic presence, this church has the obligation to name and denounce the idols before which people bow, to identify the power of sin present in social structures, and to advocate in hope with poor and powerless people.”
Social activism has been at the heart of Women of the ELCA since our organization began. In our Purpose Statement we commit ourselves, among other things, to “engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.” Together we are living out our purpose when we work to end hunger and poverty.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA.