Evangelical Leaders Backing ONE and Writing to President Bush

Hat tip to stephen shields over at emergesque for this.
It's an e-mail that Rick Warren is sending out in support of the ONE campaign. Check it out:

I have a simple request -- but it could determine whether millions live or die.

You’ve probably read in the papers about “The ONE Campaign: To Make Poverty History” that’s been endorsed by a wide coalition of folks from all across the faith and political spectrum. Helping the hurting is something we all want to do.

I’ve never been involved in partisan politics -- and don’t intend to do so now -- but global poverty is an issue that rises far above mere politics. It is a moral issue … a compassion issue … and because Jesus commanded us to help the poor, it is an obedience issue! He told us to do all we can to alleviate the pain of our brothers and sisters: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, NKJV)

That’s why
John Stott, Billy Graham, and many other evangelical leaders are joining me in lending our names and prayers to this campaign. I deeply believe that if we as evangelicals remain silent and do not speak up in defense of the poor, we lose our credibility and our right to witness about God’s love for the world: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:17, NIV)

We are blessed to be a blessing to others, and certainly America, as the most blessed nation on our planet, has the greatest obligation to help those who are stuck in poverty around the world. Last month, I was in Kenya and Uganda, and then in Rwanda where the average income in that nation is 67 cents a day! Imagine trying to raise a family on that.

If you were hopelessly in debt, with no chance of ever getting out of debt -- or even your children getting out of debt -- you’d despair. But if someone cancelled all your debts -- as the Bible commanded Israel to often do -- you’d have the hope of a new future. The poor aren’t asking for a handout -- they just need a hand up!

This summer, at the G8 conference, our nation has a historic opportunity to lead the world by showing a visible and significant commitment to the fight against global poverty, hunger, and disease. In early July, President Bush will gather together with leaders from the world’s eight wealthiest nations in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss these very issues -- especially in Africa.

We all grieved when 250,000 lives were lost in the tsunami in Southeast Asia. But there is a health tsunami of that proportion in Africa every 12 days!

What can we do? For the past two years, I’ve had 4,500 of our Saddleback members quietly testing a prototype of our global P.E.A.C.E. Plan in 47 countries. It is a strategy for small groups in churches to show compassion. Once we have the template perfected, we’ll share it with every church that’s interested.

But there is something much simpler that you can do right now: Join me and other evangelical leaders in an open letter to President Bush that encourages him -- with our support and prayers -- to take specific, measurable actions to fight poverty, hunger, and disease at the G8 summit. Below is a copy of the text of this open letter we’re sending.

All I need you to do is e-mail me back at
rick@peace.gs giving your name and title, and I’ll add your name to the list. Also you can visit www.one.org for more information.

If you can send a copy of your signature (preferably in a jpeg format) to add to the bottom of the letter, that would be great, but don’t let that delay your response. We'd rather hear from you now.

Thanks in advance for showing your compassion for those suffering from disease, hunger, and poverty.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush,

· ONE billion people around the world live on less than ONE dollar a day;
· The US government spends less than ONE percent of its budget on fighting global AIDS and poverty;
· Americans are uniting as ONE across political and religious divides to support action to overcome the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty.

At the G8 leaders meeting on July 6th we urge you to:
· Help the poorest people of the world fight poverty, disease, and hunger at a cost equal to just ONE percent more of the US budget on a clear timetable;
· Cancel 100% of the debts owed by the poorest countries;
· Reform trade rules so poor countries can earn sustainable incomes.

We urge you to lead an historic deal with other nations to help Africa and the poorest nations overcome global AIDS and extreme poverty. Together as ONE, we can Make Poverty History this July.


U.S. Faith Leaders


Bob said...

How about personalizing the ONE campaign?

We want all Americans to:

1) live a lifestyle that can be supported by ONE income.
2) output no more than ONE can of garbage per week.
3) build ONE true friendship with ONE human being labelled as "the least of these".

That'll hit you more than telling the government to do something about it.

Bob Robinson said...

Sure, personal piety and lifestyle are important. I agree with the general implications of your three statements!

You surely would not deny that part of developing into a fully-devoted disciple of Christ is trying to take part in bringing God's Kingdom and Will to Earth as it is done in Heaven? (for that is what social action involves).

And you surely are not saying that Christians should not be involved in trying to bring change to the world around them--including insisting that the government that represents them and takes their tax dollars reflects Christian virtues like care for the poor and the dying?

So, I'm guessing you agree with the ONE campaign, but that you also wish that Christians would not become so interested in social change that they miss the inner transformation that's needed as the basis for being involved in such good works, right?

Bob Robinson said...

Of course, Bob,
What you are saying also lines up so well with the "mustard seed" faith that Tom Sine advocates to change the world. Thanks.

Bob said...

Whew! Yeah. Skimmed through the stuff on the book and I think you know what I mean. Glad I didn't have to defend a "false antithesis" ;) that protection of the environment and social justice are mutually exclusive.

But my review of the ONE site offered little suggestion on "involvement" outside of signing a petition and buying a trendy wristband. The rest was deferred to a faceless entity called the G8.

The points I made were far from suggestions on "personal piety or lifestyle". I was shooting at global thinking in terms of the treatment of the earth's resources and people. Unfortunately, they would probably spell economic disaster for a world economy addicted to American hyper-consumerism. Who would want that?

Scot McKnight said...

Through the efforts of John Stott (who builds on the British tradition) and Ron Sider and Jim Wallis, we are now witnessing a new generation of globally-sensitive Christians who are aware that "gospeling" involves the whole person and the whole world.

Thanks for posting this.

Bob Robinson said...

Welcome back from Italy, Scot!

It looks like (from your blog) you had a good time.

Bob said...

Okay, Bob. I signed the petition. I was watching Brad Pitt's interview on PrimeTime about the whole effort and do you know what sold me? Near the end he talked about how he was going to sell his mansion. That he'd never live in a huge house like that again. That he had a fantasy to have a closet 3' wide and a stack of clothes only 1' high.

This is a man who has gone into the world and seen what 80% of us live like and he is disgusted (my words) with the excess of his own life.

The two messages compliment each other quite nicely. End poverty and gluttony.

Bob Robinson said...


The meeting of the Bob Minds.