Unemployment, low wages, unsafe jobs, globalization, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, taxes (who pays and how much), the right to form a union (and why someone might want to), imports from China and closed factories in the U.S. – these are issues of economic justice. And they are very complicated issues.
But things are a little simpler for people of faith. We measure the economy against one fundamental truth: the earth and all that is in it belong to God (Ps. 24:1). God has blessed us with abundance and God’s vision for every one of God’s people, all 7 billion of us, is to live in the fullness of life. God intends for us to fully share God’s gifts (Exodus 16: 16-18). There is enough for all our needs if we share God’s resources. Each of us can live an abundant life.
As people of faith, before we begin working to change the economic system, we must first discern, as best we can, a vision of God’s will for our society and our economy. For many people, this would be a world where no one is poor, homeless, living in substandard housing, or lacking the nutritious food needed for a healthy life. Everyone who wanted a job would have one.
Once we have a vision, we can we begin working to put it in place – by lobbying our elected representatives for the needed legislation, standing with striking workers, resisting unfair international trade and investment agreements, sharing our abundance, ensuring the social safety net is sufficient, and taking other actions to make certain that all God’s children receive a fair share of the resources that God provides for us all.
These are big issues. But we are not alone. God walks with us as we work for justice.
UCC Economic Justice Movement
Since its inception in 1957, the United Church of Christ has been committed to economic justice. Many individuals and congregations have worked, with the grace of God, to make our nation and the world a place where all people may live in fullness of life. Still, too many people today are hurting. Poverty stunts lives. Rising economic inequality thwarts opportunity and creates insecurity. In the global North, unwise social choices and over consumption break down community, destroy the planet and threaten future generations. God’s people and God’s creation call out. We hear their cries and want to respond.
In 2014 the UCC Economic Justice Movement was born with the goal of continuing and strengthening the UCC’s work for economic justice. Individuals, congregations, and all settings of the UCC are invited to join this Movement. The focus is action, action that is based on sound information, guided by the Holy Spirit, and offered with, and in support of, those on the margins and at risk.
There are a variety of ways to get involved from joining in advocacy efforts and participating in demonstrations and marches, to becoming an Economic Justice Church. Wherever you or your congregation is on a journey of working for economic justice, you will find a welcoming place within the UCC Economic Justice Movement.
Issues of Economic Justice
Staff members of the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries educate and advocate around a number of economic issues. You can find links to these in the list below.
• Justice on the job for all workers, especially low-wage workers
• Corporate power and influence
• Globalization, trade and investment treaties
• Economics and the Environment
• Race, ethnicity, and economic justice
• Immigration, Labor Trafficking (modern-day slavery)
• Poverty, Inequality of income and wealth
• Preserving and strengthening Social Security
• Tax Reform
• Banking and our Values