Statement of Concern on Poverty
We commonly believe:
- that God loves all persons and God wants all human beings to live and experience an abundant life;
- that all persons should act as responsible stewards of God's creation and equally share the fruits of these resources among each other.
However, we also understand that inequality exists in our time between nations and among people. In our society today, there are poor people living in miserable conditions while a small segment of the population is living in affluence and controlling the majority of resources.
We also recognize that certain social structures and policies contribute to the worsening of poverty especially in developing and poor countries:
- governments in poor countries not prioritizing education in their budget allocation, thus limiting the access of poor people to quality education and thus depriving poor people of chances to get high-paying jobs;
- failure of the governments of developing nations to provide enough decent jobs;
- lack of welfare and support programs for the unemployed and underemployed;
- failure of the government of these poor countries to uphold the rights of workers to decent wages and instead, through legislation, protect the interest of big businessmen and corporations;
- rampant graft and corruption in government bureaucracies and offices;
- unequal trade relations between poor and wealthy nations and the debt crisis that diverts the country's resources to debt servicing;
- dysfunctional families that have neglected the welfare of children.
Given this situation, as people of The United Methodist Church, called by God to become world-changing disciples and to be stewards and keepers of our brothers and sisters who have been marginalized, we recommend to the local churches/agencies of The United Methodist Church that
- local churches create groups that will study and understand the root causes of and extent of poverty in their communities;
- the church agencies find ways on how to alleviate poverty in consultation with the community;
- the general church urge the governments of wealthy nations to forgive the debts of poor nations and work out ways to ease the burden of debt servicing;
- the local churches and agencies educate their constituencies on preventing corruption in the government and demanding investigation and prosecution of violators;
- local churches advocate for just wages for workers and urge the government to provide decent jobs for the workers;
- the local churches review and evaluate trade treaties or agreements promoting unequal/unfair trade relations and urge the government to repeal such laws or agreements;
- the local churches and agencies urge the government to prioritize education in their national budget allocations; and
- the local churches launch programs that promote caring and support for the poorest of the poor.
See Social Principles, ¶ 162E.
From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.