In their letter addressed to Christians in the United States, the Latin
American leaders urge them to “lift up the voice of the millions of people
who do not have a part in the major economic decisions being made in
They call upon U.S. government officials to recognize that the actions they
take have consequences not only in the U.S. but also on the economies of
other nations, and therefore in both the short and long terms, they will affect
millions of people in the global South.
Congress recently raised the debt limit of the U.S. by $2 billion in exchange
for budget cuts that will affect social programs that benefit the poor, not only
in the U.S. but also in other countries, the letter states.
Expressing solidarity with the poor in the U.S., the Latin American leaders
express their surprise and indignation at how the economic crisis has been
addressed, and criticize politicians who “only embrace the interests of the
rich, while preferring cuts to social programs that serve those in greatest
“Paying more taxes will not bankrupt the rich. Cutting social benefits for
retired people, the sick, and others puts the lives of such persons at risk. Is
this not brutally unjust?” the letter says.
The Latin American evangelical leaders encourage U.S. Christians to
join the efforts already undertaken by various churches and Christian
organizations, such as those leading the “Circle of Protection” movement,
“Do not falter in your efforts, even though these may be lonely times for
those whose prophetic voice does not appear to be heard by the politicians,”
the letter concludes.
The letter is signed by the presidents of the Protestant Councils and
Alliances in countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Argentina, Brazil
and Uruguay, as well as directors of humanitarian aid and social action
It is also signed by such international bodies as the Latin American Council
of Churches (CLAI), Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (CONELA),
the Association of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches of Latin America
(AIPRAL), the Micah Network, Red del Camino (the Network of the Way) ,
the Movement Together for Children and others.
Denominational leaders who are signers include the Assembly of God,
Baptists, Church of God, Free Brothers, Pentecostals, Presbyterians,
Methodists, Lutherans, Reformed, Episcopalians. Other signers include
seminary rectors and presidents, directors of national Bible societies,
professors of theology, and leaders of other professional Christian networks.
The full text of the letter, dated Aug. 18:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We are fellow believers with you in the God who has never ceased
reaching out to defend the poor and the excluded. We view with deep
concern recent decisions in the United States that will add to the suffering of
the most vulnerable members of U.S. society.
As people of faith who have ourselves lived through economic and
political turbulence in recent decades, we join with U.S. religious leaders
from all Christian faith traditions who are fulfilling their prophetic role by
standing in solidarity with the poor. In such times, faith leaders must be
true to their vocation and amplify the voices of the vulnerable millions that
have been excluded from the heated political debates that have raged in
Those who govern should know that the decisions made in your country
have consequences for the economies of other nations around the world. In
the medium and long term, they will affect the lives of millions of people in
the countries of the Global South. It seems to us immoral that politicians,
with some exceptions, embrace only the interests of the wealthy, preferring
to cut social assistance to those in greatest need.
We know the generosity and solidarity of the American people and the
assistance programs to the poor that operate through churches and civil
society organizations in Latin America.
It is therefore inconceivable to us that the wealthy make no effort to take
responsibility for the debt generated by the country as a whole. Paying more
taxes will not bankrupt them. Cutting social benefits jeopardizes the lives of
the retired, the sick and others who are in need. Is this not brutally unjust?
Therefore we, the undersigned Christian leaders of Latin America, write
to express our solidarity with the people of the United States, especially
those who embrace Christianity, who call for a true and just resolution
to this crisis — a crisis that is not only economic, but also, and above all,
We encourage you to join the efforts of various churches, including those
called “Circle of Protection.” Our prayers are with you, dear brothers
and sisters in the faith. Do not falter in your efforts, although these may be
lonely times for people whose prophetic voice the politicians seem not to
want to hear.
God is watching the politicians and will not stop telling them: “Give
justice to the poor!”(Psalm 82:3)