Roman Catholics, Evangelicals and mainline Protestants gathered in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16 to urge President Bush to keep his promise to fully fund AIDS work.
Stephen Bouman, bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod, represented the ELCA Conference of Bishops. He called for full funding of the Millennium Challenge Account at $1.3 billion for 2004 to fight global poverty. He also sought $3 billion in 2004 for the Global AIDS Act.
"From Ground Zero, we are asking you not to ignore the other ground zeros in our world, especially that of AIDS in Africa," Bouman said.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the president is seeking only $2 billion because "we want to make sure the money is spent effectively and there is accountability."
David Beckmann, an ELCA pastor and president of Bread for the World, said, "The amounts at stake are tiny in relation to our government's budget."
Singer and AIDS activist Bono said, "By failing to spend the additional $1 billion, an additional 1.6 million people will become infected with HIV, and an additional 400,000 people will die who could have been saved by medicines."
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