By Laura Klairmont, CNN
Washington (CNN) - In the final hours of budget negotiations, a growing list of Congressional members are joining former Rep. Tony Hall and over 36,000 participants in a hunger fast to protest what they say are proposed budget cuts that would affect those living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad.
Members of Congress joining the fast include Democratic Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, California Rep. Mike Honda, Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, California Reps. Sam Farr and Barbara Lee, Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, and Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
The participating representatives will partake in a "relay fast," each one abstaining from eating for a day before passing over to another representative.
The fast was first announced last month by Ambassador Hall, Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and Ritu Sharma, president of Women Thrive Worldwide- who asked others to join them in putting pressure on Congress to protect vulnerable programs assisting the poor and hungry.
Read the full story about the hunger fast on the CNN Political Ticker.
Editor's Note: By CNN's Gabe La Monica
At the inner Washington offices of the American Enterprise Institute, I pitted the question to Shane Claiborne and Peter Greer, both Christian advocates for the poor. They had just participated in an in-depth discourse moderated by Eric Teetsel at AEI about the existential nature of charity.
Claiborne is a lanky, tall fellow with long dreadlocks, earrings and a goatee.
The founding member of the Simple Way community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, responded: “Jesus wasn’t anything that ended in “ist” - he was an existential lover - but I think that he was challenging all these systems, and he was pulling the best of the people in those systems out.”
Editors note: Bishop T.D. Jakes is a best-selling author and senior pastor of a 30,000-member church, The Potter's House.
As a faith leader, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, I've always had one foot in both the practical and the spiritual worlds. Prayer is good, but you also have to be able to manage your checkbook.
As our nation went through the early stages of the recession, I can remember the rapid decline of the housing market. During the slide, I was concerned to hear voices from academia, finance and government give the lion's share of the blame to the minority consumer for defaulting on loans for homes that they could not afford.
The conversation went as far as to suggest that church pastors contributed to the housing demise because they encouraged their parishioners to purchase homes.
What we must realize is that it was not wrong for people to want a new home or car. But it was wrong for financial institutions to prey on those desires with unbalanced financial solutions.
Read the full story
Editor's Note: Jim Wallis is CEO of Sojourners and author of "Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street — A Moral Compass for the New Economy."
By Jim Wallis, Special to CNN
The world needs President Barack Obama to be a global leader on HIV/AIDS.
It was not that long ago faith leaders and millions of activists organized across the globe to press President George W. Bush to respond to the AIDS pandemic and fund solutions to end extreme global poverty.
The result of bold American leadership led to nothing short of a historic wave of success. Today, nearly four million Africans are on life saving HIV/AIDS medicines, up from 50,000 in 2002. President Bush’s legacy in the fight against global AIDS is strong, but much more needs to be done.
Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to continue that leadership. But today, his promise has yet to be kept. Fortunately, it's not too late for him to do so.
The author with a Ghanaian woman who received an Opportunity International loan to run a daycare center and primary school.
Editor's Note: The son of missionary parents, Mark Lutz is Senior Vice President at Opportunity International, a non-profit microfinance organization, and author of the new book UnPoverty: Rich Lessons from the Working Poor.
By Mark Lutz, Special to CNN
Poverty is not an issue. It's people.
We hear about it, but do we really understand it? Myths about poverty abound, particularly among those of us bent on following Jesus' teaching about the poor and oppressed.
Myth 1: People are poor because they are lazy or stupid.
Poor people work incredibly hard, under harsh conditions, frequently seven days a week. With no welfare programs and no social networks, if they don’t work, they don’t eat. That’s reality.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.