Just Picking on the Poor: The Facts and the Faces of Cutting SNAP

September 20, 2013

, Christian leader for social change and president of Sojourners; also the author, 'On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good' is the writer of this blog that appeared on the Huffington Post on September 19, 2013.  


Today, the House of Representatives votes on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps. The proposal would cut SNAP by nearly $40 billion over the next 10 years. These cuts would hurt millions of people, namely seniors and the poorest among us. But it will most heavily affect low-income families with children where the parent(s) work for a living but don't make enough to adequately feed their families. Working families with kids are 72 percent of all SNAP beneficiaries.

According to the Census Bureau, food stamps kept 4 million people out of poverty last year. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the House proposal would cut assistance to nearly 4 million low-income people in 2014 and an average of 3 million more each year for the next decade. Christian leaders across the evangelical, Catholic, Protestant, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American church spectrum are reacting with moral outrage at this assault on the people that Jesus specifically instructs us to protect.

Many of these leaders are from the Circle of Protection, a coalition of more than 65 heads of denominations and religious organizations, plus more than 5,000 church pastors. We have been working for more than two years to resist federal budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people.

Who are the pastors? They run across the political spectrum, but are characterized by one thing -- they actually know poor people, work with low-income families, and have SNAP beneficiaries in their congregations. All of the pastors I've ever talked to who know, work, and worship with those affected are adamantly opposed to these cuts because they know what they will mean to people they love...

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