President Bush accused by churches of failing poor children

By staff writers
October 21, 2007

The organisation linking together 35 of America's mainline Christian churches, accounting for 50 million members, has accused President George W. Bush of neglecting the needs of sick children, especially in poor communities.

"We have failed our children today", said ecumenical leader the Rev Brenda Girton-Mitchell upon learning of the failure of the US Congress to override President Bush's veto of the state children's health care insurance program (SCHIP).

"We will continue to pray and work until our nation and its leaders are more responsible about taking care of God's precious trust to us--our children," said Mitchell, the associate general secretary for justice and advocacy at the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCUSA).

In September 2007, the Rev Michael Livingston, president of the NCCUSA, joined faith leaders and children's advocates in calling for the passage of SCHIP.

"Our scriptures teach us not to put our children or those living in poverty in harm's way," said Livingston.

He added: "In the Gospel of Matthew 18.6 Jesus said: 'If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.'"

Livingston's statement on 18 September concluded: "Failure to reauthorize SCHIP or allowing a presidential veto is tantamount to placing stumbling blocks in the path of our children."

The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These NCCUSA member communions have 45 million members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.

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