Dear Senator McCain,
I am part of that Evangelical community that will provide massive support for your candidacy as the November election approaches. What I hope you do is recognize that our commitments as Evangelicals go beyond the two hot-button issues of gay marriage and abortion.
A growing number of us have broadened our agenda to include concerns about the environment, a desire to see the war in Iraq brought to an end in the immediate future, a commitment to help those who are suffering from AIDS in Africa and other Third World countries and, most of all, a desire to address the needs of the poor.
We have been prodded into an awareness of biblical imperatives to address the needs of the poor. Our preachers and teachers have told us that there are more than 2,000 verses of scripture in which God requires people of faith to correct the injustices that create poverty. Presently, our nation assigns less than four-tenths of one percent of our federal budget to address the poverty needs of the Third World. Those organizations, and especially the United Nations, that are trying to address the issue of poverty have asked that the developed nations assign seven-tenths of one percent of their federal budgets to ending poverty. We can do it! What’s more—we must do it! In the end, our security as a nation is more dependent on the friends that we make than on the armies we deploy.
Should you be elected, I hope that you will join Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in establishing something akin to the Marshall Plan that would address, in a comprehensive fashion, the poverty that exists in the world today.
Evangelical Christians, as well as people of other faiths, affirm the Golden Rule. We do not believe that the Golden Rule applies just to personal morality, but that it also encompasses national morality. On this basis, I hope that you would bring an end to the use of torture in interrogating prisoners. The spiritual values of America are eroded when we resort to torture, and even if we call it by other names, the world knows what it is, and you know what it is, having had to endure torture yourself.
Lastly, I would ask you to develop a Middle East policy that not only guarantees safety and security for the Israeli people, but also provides the same for the Palestinian people. So many Christian Zionists within the Evangelical community are anti-Palestinian in their desire to see the fulfillment of what they believe to be biblical prophecies. Please note that an overwhelming majority of us believe that God loves the Palestinian people every bit as much as He loves the Jewish people. Given that conviction we hope you make sure that the illegal settlements on Palestinian land are dismantled and that both Israelis and Palestinians have nations with secure borders and self-government. I hope you believe that justice for both Jews and Palestinians is God’s will. That is something which is at the core of the beliefs of not only the overwhelming number of Evangelicals, but of our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters.
You should know that even as I have put together this letter, I do so with a commitment to pray for you, hoping that you will live out the high principles that you have ably articulated; and that you will seek to do the will of God in all of your political activities.
Rev. Tony Campolo is President of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.
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