With so much talk recently about faith-based initiatives it occurs to me three significant issues ought to generate action in faith communities. They could truly be faith-based initiatives if people of faith would take the initiative to press the U.S. government to act now.
First reauthorize PEPFAR, The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which has been delayed by conservatives because they say it’s too costly and supports prevention programs such as family planning and condom distribution rather than focusing exclusively on treatment.
Second, reverse the 10% reductions in payments to physicians for Medicare services. The poor and those with chronic health conditions have already taken huge cuts in reduced services at the state level. How much more will this country tolerate? Enough damage has been done. Reverse the reduction in fees to doctors.
Third, address the global food crisis. David Beckman, executive director of Bread for the World, wrote to President Bush in April suggesting several policy options to alleviate global hunger. The final point in his letter says, “the next economic stimulus package in this country should include funding for
food stamps. Hungry and poor families were left out of the first stimulus package, even though they are hardest hit by the economic slowdown. The best way to reduce hunger in America is through improvements in earnings, income and assets among low-income people. But the fastest, most direct way to reduce hunger – and stimulate the economy – is to strengthen the food
Each link above provides steps for direct action.
In difficult economic times as we are in now the voices of people of faith are needed more than ever to seek justice, offer compassion and stand with those who are vulnerable and whose voices are unheard in the halls of power. In such times and under such conditions faith really should mean taking initiative to bring change.