By Aciera Press
President Alberto Fernández, together with the Secretary for Religious Affairs, ambassador Guillermo Oliveri, hosted a meeting with members of the National Board of the Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches in Argentina (ACIERA) on December 27, 2019, at the House of Government.
“I am happy to know that the Alliance is part of the ‘Argentina Against Hunger’ initiative. I know very well what you do. I thank you for your work and I ask you to help me put an end to this problem of which we should feel ashamed as a society,” said the President.
The evangelical group was led by the Alliance’s President, Pastor Rubén Proietti, with Hugo Baravalle, Vice President of Internal Relationships; Guillermo Fernández, Vice President of External Relationships; Jorge Gómez, General Director; Norberto Saracco, Dean Emeritus of the FIET Theological Institute; Pastors Osvaldo Carnival and Bernardo Affranchino, representatives of ACIERA for the “Argentina Against Hunger” Plan; Laura de Brun, Director of Fundación “Elegí Sonreír” (“Choose to Smile” Foundation), who works in prevention of sexual abuse of children and teenagers; Dr. Jael Ojuel, Director of the Bioethics Department of ACIERA; and the Director of Chaplainship, Juan Zuccarelli.
It was a meeting where the President appeared open to dialog and both parties conversed at length. The authorities of ACIERA confirmed their full support to work and cooperate to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty from a holistic perspective, as the Evangelical church has already been working to fulfill this especially important mission: helping the needy and the most vulnerable.
Last week, the Government launched a plan to solve the problem of hunger and malnutrition in Argentina by providing 80% of families with children 6 years of age and under with a special food card for a value of Argentinian $ 4,000 or $ 6,000, starting next March.
The plan also includes non-bank credits for supplies, tools and machinery; linking social help plans with jobs and production; a specific plan for children in the first years of life and a plan to include youth who are not working or studying, that will be introduced gradually.
Furthermore, the subject of the importance of education in the country was discussed as well. ACIERA leaders told the President: “We believe in sex education, but we do not agree with ideological indoctrination on gender ideology. Besides, education is fundamental for the prevention of different diseases and abortion. The church is willing, not only to dialogue, but also to help by providing different tools to this end.”
Regarding abortion, the President knows the position held by the churches represented by ACIERA (sex education to prevent unwanted pregnancies, support not to abort and adoption to live), and valued the fact that besides helping women who do not wish to abort, they work with a strong emphasis on prevention and adoption, as well as helping vulnerable pregnant women. Alberto Fernández remarked that “Evangelicals work from values, not placing stress on dogmas.” He then added that he was sure that they would not agree in some decisions, but he was chosen to lead all Argentinians, regardless of their beliefs.
Other subjects were also brought to the attention of ambassador Guillermo Oliveri, Secretary for Religious Affairs: the “Buenas Noticias” (Good News) TV show, which aired on the State TV channel and was recently called off; the religious freedom bill of law that was presented to the Senate in the last days of the previous government and the situation of 700 missionary families living abroad that have been affected by the 30% price increase on all operations made in US dollars.
ACIERA leaders also told the President about the production of resources for education based on values, which may help in prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies.
Additionally, ACIERA leaders spoke about the experience of Evangelical churches in the area of substance abuse prevention, having worked in that field for over 40 years, with the possibility to contribute solutions and tools for this work. Another topic was the work in prisons, where a joint effort with the government could be made to extend help to the families of people who are incarcerated.
The meeting ended with a prayer by Pastor Norberto Saracco, who prayed for the President and asked for God’s blessing on our country. After that, the General Director, Pastor Jorge Gómez, presented the President with a Bicentennial Bible and the report of all the activities developed by the Alliance in the last period.