Rose French writes about religious and spiritual matters for the Star Tribune. Before arriving in the Twin Cities this fall, she covered religion for the Associated Press in Tennessee, where she wrote about the Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Gideons and other religious groups and issues.
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A new survey of evangelical leaders shows most would give more to the poor if government programs that help the needy are cut back.
The Evangelical Leaders Survey, a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals, indicates that “of the 78 percent that said their (evangelical leaders) churches or denominations would increase giving, 29 percent included qualified support, such as ‘if we can possibly afford to add to our giving’ or ‘I sure hope we would,’” according to a released statement from the association.
“It’s good to hear that evangelical churches will increase their compassionate giving to help the needy,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelical, who serves as pastor emeritus at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie. “The challenge could be great if there are significant cuts to government budgets. It would be a stretch for churches to double or triple their contributions to meet the needs in their congregations and communities.”
The statement continues:
“Yet with one in seven Americans living in poverty, church leaders warn that government must not abandon its responsibilities."
"Necessity does tend to produce more of an effort in the short run,” said Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Florida. “But most churches are struggling just to meet their budgets and cannot replace public safety-net programs.”
Those polled in the January survey include leaders of denominations and representatives of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches, according to the NAE.