The videos were made by Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Bernie Sanders and can be found at CircleOfProtection.us. The other declared presidential candidates were contacted but have not yet provided videos.
“Christians are deeply concerned about the suffering of hungry and poor people,” said Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals. “We expect our presidential candidates to move beyond platitudes about the middle class and inspirational rags-to-riches stories. We are looking for well-conceived initiatives that can actually be implemented and that will help millions of people rise out of poverty at home and abroad.”
The 100 Christian leaders, as part of the Circle of Protection coalition, sent each presidential candidate a letter asking him or her to produce a video stating how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.
The videos are being disseminated among the Christian leaders’ wide networks and members in order to raise hunger and poverty as an election issue.
The Circle of Protection represents a diverse array of Christian denominations, churches, colleges and agencies across the country. They will not publicly evaluate the policy positions or endorse any candidate.
“We will be calling on people of faith to examine presidential candidates to see if they have a heart for poor and hungry people. We want to know how each candidate proposes to fulfill the mandate to those who govern to ‘give deliverance to the needy’ (Psalm 72),” said the leaders in the letter.
According to the latest U.S. Census data, 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger, while 45 million live in poverty. One in five children lives in poverty. That is 15 million children — 5 million of them under age 6.
The Christian leaders see the videos as the beginning of an active debate about how to alleviate hunger and poverty, and hope these issues will be at the center of the presidential campaign.