As someone who’s been so blessed by God, I believe it is vitally important that we use what we’ve been given to bless others. As the gospel of Luke tells us, to whom much is given, much is expected. We’re commanded in the scriptures to care for the orphan and widow and to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. There is no greater way to do this than in advocating for the poorest of the poor, especially those in the developing world who don’t have access to the welfare programs and support systems that we have in place here in the U.S.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen us as a nation lead the world in saving millions of lives with just a minuscule percentage of our own national budget—less that 1 percent! Our leaders have shown wisdom in recognizing the investment in not only lives, but also in international stability and economic development.
I first became involved when Bono, the lead singer of U2, began sharing the story of AIDS in Africa with Christian artists and pastors. Then, in 2002, less than 50,000 people in Africa had access to anti-retroviral medication. Today, thanks to President Bush’s historic initiative with the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, more than 11.5 million people have access to these life-saving medications. We have turned the tide on HIV and AIDS.
Beyond the HIV and AIDS pandemic, we have also made momentous strides to end malaria, tuberculosis, maternal mortality and child mortality. What else do we do with that 1%? We also support education, access to clean water, agriculture, nutrition, and international disaster assistance for emergency relief when crises arise. We lead the world in this benevolence.
Today, a lot of these accomplishments and this great progress is in jeopardy. Our country is considering cutting this funding by almost 30%. What will that mean for mothers and children among the most vulnerable? What will that mean for nation stabilization? What will that mean for potential conflict regions?
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