- 10.4 million bed nets to fight malaria will not be provided
- 6 million treatments for malaria will not be administered
- 3.7 million people will not be tested for HIV
- 58,286 HIV-positive, pregnant women will not receive treatments to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV
- 414,000 people will not be provided their antiretroviral (ARV) medication
- 372,000 testing and treatments for tuberculosis will be halted
"When your remind Americans what's going on, what is really happening in the world and in their own country, they will respond and respond in a good way," Hall said in an interview. "I think they really don't know. Hopefully we'll get this in front of them with this fast."
Hall, an evangelical, has two goals: a groundswell of Americans joining him in fasting and prayer to oppose cuts to domestic and foreign aid programs; and the prayer that at least a few Republican House members will "break rank" and speak out against the cuts precisely
"because they are evangelicals ... because of their faith."
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that evangelicals, more than any other group of Americans, are more likely to support cutting spending for foreign aid (unrelated to security interests) and programs for the unemployed.
But Sojourners founder Jim Wallis doesn't believe the Pew results are an accurate reflection of what he sees among rank-and-file evangelicals -- particularly younger evangelicals who he says are deeply engaged with global issues related to poverty, disease and other forms
Wallis, who plans to join Hall in a water-only fast, said that a generation or two ago, global poverty and relief weren't even on the radar as "moral issues" for most American evangelicals.
That's changing, said Adam Phillips, a young evangelical pastor who directs faith relations for the ONE Campaign, founded by U2 frontman Bono. "A younger generation of evangelicals definitely gets this," said Phillips, who said young evangelicals see budgets, as Wallis does, as
Right now he's working with churches to plan "Lazarus Sunday" events on April 11 to support continued funding for life-saving HIV/AIDS drugs that have the ability to snatch a dying person from the jaws of death (a phenomenon known as the "Lazarus effect.")
"In 2002, only 50,000 Africans had access to life saving anti-retroviral treatments (ARVs). Today nearly 4 million Africans are on ARVs," Phillips said. "This is definitely a legacy of President George W. Bush, but it is also a testament to the efforts of Rick and Kay Warren, World Vision, the National Association of Evangelicals and many others.
"We need a responsible budget that reflects our collective values," Phillips said, "and our assistance to our poorest neighbors is part of that equation."
Wallis, who knows a thing or two about going up against forces with bigger budgets and more lobbyists than he has, is ready for a fight.
"It is not only bad economics, but also bad religion," he wrote recently. "And if the super-rich and their representatives in Congress persist in this fight against the poor, they will be picking a fight with all of us."
This commentary originally appeared via Religion News Service.
Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of several nonfiction books including Sin Boldly: A Field Guide For Grace and the forthcoming Belieber!: Fame, Faith & the Heart of Justin Bieber (Worthy, Sept. 2011).
Follow Cathleen Falsani on Twitter: www.twitter.com/godgrrl