The Methodists and Social Justice

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The Methodists and Social Justice

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The Methodists and Social Justice

  1. 1. Winter A • 2010-2011 Methodists and Social Justice United Methodists take seriously their responsibility to claims the primary moral duty of every nation is to serve the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, those resolve disputes peacefully. who mourn, those who are persecuted, those who hunger for righteousness, the peacemakers. These, of course, are The Church’s General Board of Church and Society is the very groups Jesus calls “blessed,” in the beatitudes charged with showing Methodists that “the reconcilia- (Matthew 5:1-12). tion that God effected through Christ involves personal, social, and civic righteousness” (2008 Book of Discipline). Ever since John Wesley first exhorted followers to practice It does this through a number of church-sponsored both personal and social piety, Methodists––as individuals ministries and campaigns. Among them: and as a denomination––have been involving themselves in efforts to bring about peace and social justice. This ◆ The “I Am Prophet-Driven” campaign is an attempt fundamental tenet of Methodism is spelled out explicitly to advocate on behalf of those whose lives have been in the “Social Principles,” a statement found in the Book ravaged by our profit-driven society. As the country of Discipline that guides both official church action as well slowly works its way out of this current recession, the as individuals’ actions. These principles set forth official campaign calls on the government to focus primarily Methodist teaching on what constitutes just action in the on the needs of the poor rather than the affluent. social community, the economic community, the political Congregations are being asked to sign a “just economy community and the world community, as well as in the pledge,” which stipulates that “scripture demands we natural world and in our families. place those living on the economic margins at the center of our vision of a just economy.” Among the stances endorsed in the Social Principles: ◆ The UM Power Action Center is an online advocacy ◆ In social community, the church rejects racism and ministry that alerts subscribers to pending legislative asserts the rights of racial minorities to equal oppor- votes in a variety of social justice areas, and helps them tunities, upholds the rights of religious minorities, as send email messages or make phone calls to policy well as the old, the young, women, and those who are makers to influence the outcome. disabled, and calls for abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs. ◆ The Faith in Action weekly newsletter provides regular news and views from the General Board of ◆ In the economic community, the church recognizes Church and Society. Each edition offers editorials, the right of employees to organize for collective profiles of United Methodists engaged in social justice bargaining, the right of safe and meaningful work, work, announcements of upcoming conferences or supports efforts to ensure truth in pricing, packaging, seminars, links to study resources and other guides lending and advertising, moderation in consumption for those wanting to become in some aspect of social of consumer goods and abstinence from gambling. justice. ◆ In the political community, the church calls for ◆ The United Methodist Seminar Program on freedom of information and quality education, National and International Affairs designs one- to defends the rights of individuals to practice conscien- three-day seminars and field trips in Washington D.C. tious, non-violent civil disobedience, and urges the or New York City for both Methodist and non-Meth- creation of new systems of criminal rehabilitation. odist groups on a range of social justice topics. ◆ In the world community, the church holds nations In short, ever since John Wesley fearlessly spoke out on accountable for unjust treatment of their citizens, the controversial issues of his day––issues such as slavery, affirms the right of people in developing nations to health care for the poor, prison reform––generation after shape their own destiny, applauds efforts to create a generation of those who have come after him in the more justice international economic order, condemns church have been empowered to continue to speak out war as incompatible with the teachings of Christ, and and to act on behalf of those whom Jesus called “blessed.” SR-00-WA-10-M-Methodists and Social Justice©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • www.livingthegoodnews.com • 1-800-242-1918

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