As World Leaders Gather for UN MDG Summit, President Carter Calls on Faith Community for Support

09/17/2010 02:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Rev. Peter M. Wallace Host of "Day1" radio program, Episcopal priest, and author of "The Passionate Jesus"

At the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Review Summit in New York Sept. 20-22, 2010, heads of state are joining leaders from the private sector, foundations, and civil society to commit to an action agenda to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

Only five years remain until the target date for achieving the MDGs, so this collective effort to accelerate progress is essential.

In a special message broadcast Sunday, Sept. 12 on our nationally syndicated "Day 1" radio program, President Jimmy Carter called on members of all faiths to take action against global hunger and poverty by supporting the MDGs.

"The Millennium Development Goals target poverty, hunger, and disease," Carter explained, "while encouraging universal primary education and fairness for women and girls." The MDGs "are backed by global consensus, and have the strong support of all the world's major religious groups."

In his message, entitled "A Joyful Resolve: Transforming the Lives of the World's Poorest," President Carter observed that, for persons of Christian faith, "Christ's command that we serve the poor is reason enough to struggle on behalf of those without enough to eat."

Carter noted the emphasis on serving the poor throughout the Bible: "All people of faith who take the Bible seriously -- both the New Testament and the Hebrew text -- very much agree that God's heart is with the poor and the vulnerable. ... The Bible reveals how central the demand for justice for the poor and the oppressed is to the very nature of God. When Jesus himself observed that 'the poor will always be among us,' it was not to excuse indifference to the poor, but to emphasize that our faith finds its full meaning only in the unceasing commitment to justice."

"The MDG program is achieving strong results," Carter observed. "The effort rests on knowledge we already possess, and relies on proven, effective implementation strategies. In these ways, the goals represent a sharp break from failed development approaches of the past."

Greatly encouraged by progress to date, Carter highlighted our ability to transform the lives of the poor: "I have never been more optimistic about our ability to lift up our brothers and sisters and to change the world at long last. ... When ... we know we have the tools to make a difference, our obligation to do justice is all the more clear. We should feel a joyful resolve to press ahead."

You can watch a brief excerpt of Carter's message below. For more information about how you can express your support for the MDGs, or to read, watch, or listen to Carter's complete address, visit