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Book of Resolutions: Electoral Campaign Finance Reform

 

Campaign finance reform is a moral matter for the religious community. The temptation to buy favors is an ancient and unjust one addressed often in Scripture. The prophet Amos thundered against those merchants in Israel who “have sold the innocent for silver, and those in need for a pair of sandals…and push the afflicted out of the way…” (Amos 2:6-7). Psalm 15 defines upright persons as those who “…[keep] their promise even when it hurts…who won't accept a bribe against any innocent person” (vv. 4-5).

The pouring of large sums of money into political campaigns in order to buy special influence with legislators is a scandal. Too often citizens forsake participation in the political process because they believe policies are shaped by money from special interests, not by the national interest or the needs of the people.

The issue of campaign financing is far more than a political matter. It goes to the heart of the ethical and moral life of a nation.

Many elected officials continually court monied special interests in order to finance their next election campaign. If politicians are to focus on the well-being of the people and the nation, they must be able to depend on public financing rather than pursuing special-interest money.

It is time to free electoral politics from this corrupting pressure. A system of public campaign financing would take government away from special interests and return it to the people.

We commend those politicians of all parties who are working to achieve real campaign financing reform.

We call upon all United Methodists to work within their own countries to build support for measures that would end the flood of special-interest monies to political campaigns and restore integrity to decision making.

ADOPTED 1996
AMENDED AND READOPTED 2004
AMENDED AND READOPTED 2012
RESOLUTION #5071, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #269, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #253, 2000 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

See Social Principles, ¶ 164A, B.