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Evangelical Leaders Urge Lawmakers To Protect 'Hungry and Poor' from Spending Cuts

Circle of Protection: "It is time to frame the budget debate in terms of moral choices that are understandable to the American people."

A notable coalition of Christian leaders is urging the federal government to avoid allowing "hungry and poor people" to fall through the cracks as spending cuts, scheduled to start Friday, could force the reconsideration of funds for certain welfare programs.

A letter sent by the Circle of Protection, a coalition formed two years ago, to President Barack Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls for lawmakers to "frame the budget debate in terms of moral choices that are understandable to the American people." It also urges the politicians to "reduce hunger and poverty by expanding opportunity and justice."

The letter is signed by 65 prominent Christian leaders from church ministry, higher education, and aid/relief backgrounds, including:

Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals

Stephan Bauman, president and CEO of World Relief

Richard Stearns, president of World Vision United States

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC Hispanic Evangelical Association

Luis Cortes Jr., president of Esperanza

Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition

Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action

Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners

Heather Larson, director of compassion & justice ministries, Willow Creek Community Church

Jay Barnes, president of Bethel University

Craig Williford, president of Trinity International University

Editor's note: CT editorial vice president David Neff is among the letter's signatories.

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