Churches speak to the budget

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Yesterday was one of those crazy days when I forgot to read the paper. I missed this important article by faith leaders to the Canadian parliamentarians regarding our economy and the choices we make. Let those who have ears, hear!

Politicians warned to heed ‘moral values’ TheStar.com
January 26, 2009

Stuart Laidlaw
In an open letter to Canada’s first ministers, a coalition of Canadian churches and religious groups is warning that economic stimulus without attention to “moral values” is doomed to failure.

“We know this crisis is at the top of your agendas,” reads the letter, to be released today.

“Yet we are deeply troubled by the lack of attention to the moral values needed to guide us out of crisis, toward a more sustainable future.”

The letter, coming the day before the federal budget is unveiled, calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the provincial premiers and territorial leaders to aim higher than they have in the past, and to see the current economic crisis as an opportunity to address past inequities.

“Now is the time to change our course, dramatically.”

The letter is being issued through Kairos, a coalition of church groups that includes the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church, as well as Presbyterian, Mennonite and Lutheran churches dedicated to social justice issues.

“Kairos understands this financial crisis as a systemic failure in global financial markets,” the five-page letter says.

“Over the last 30 years, governments have increasingly deregulated these markets, allowing them to be manipulated in favour of short-term interests of the wealthiest and most powerful.”

This, the letter says, needs to stop if reforms and economic stimulus are going to be sustainable.

“We believe moral values are an essential foundation for public policy that responds to the economic crisis while preventing its recurrence in a few years.”

Church leaders Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada and David Giuliano of the United Church of Canada are giving the letter their personal endorsement.

“Canadians look to their members of Parliament for strong leadership to address poverty, adequate housing and affordable health care” Archbishop Hiltz says in a statement to be released with the letter.

The letter calls for investments in renewable energy sources and green initiatives, aid for developing countries dedicated to helping the poor and respecting human rights, Third World debt cancellation and a tax on currency transactions to curb speculation.

But such measures are not the focus of the letter, which instead sets out four moral principles the group says should guide politicians as they address the economic crisis: sustainability, sufficiency, equity and solidarity with living creatures.

“Particular attention needs to be focused on those who have historically been marginalized in decision making and power sharing, such as those living in poverty, women, indigenous people and racial minorities,” the letter says.

One comment

  1. The Churchmen’s statement seems right on the button. Of course Catholics have a rich seam of Social teaching to draw upon. For example:

    ‘……the right ordering of economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces. For from this source, as from a poisoned spring, have originated and spread all the errors of individualist economic teaching.’ Quadragesimo Anno, No. 88, 1931.

    It’s almost as if Pius XI was seeing the future as well as describing the world situation at the time. Everything changes but everything stays the same.

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