Approved by the 206th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, June 4, 2005
The Bible is filled with calls and commands “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). Amos speaks of the wealth of the land, and the indifference of the rich. “There is no justice in the land” (3:10). “The poor are afflicted and exploited” (2:6-8). “The end has come upon my people, Israel,” he dreams. God says through him, “Let justice well up like waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”
“What do you mean by crushing my people, By grinding the face of the poor?” asks God through Isaiah, (3:14-15)
Jeremiah’s vision was of a God yearning to reform and purify his beloved people, to no avail:
“Their houses are full of treachery;
Therefore they have become great and rich.
They have grown fat and sleek.
They judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless.
They do not defend the rights of the needy.” (Jeremiah 5:27-28)
Jesus reminds us that God commands us “to love our neighbors as ourselves” (Luke10:27), and to create a just and loving society for all of God’s beloved. Jesus tells us by way of parable that as we do it towards the least of these our brothers and sisters, we do it unto the most holy. (Matthew 25:40).
Text of Resolution
WHEREAS, “Poverty is a religious issue that rings from cover to cover in the Bible” (Jim Wallis, “GOD’S POLITICS”); and
WHEREAS, the priorities of the present Federal budget do not reflect Christian values, moral values, or family values; and
WHEREAS, the FY 2006 proposed Federal budget aims to cut the deficit by half; and
WHEREAS, the FY 2006 proposed Federal budget seeks to make permanent past tax cuts and to enact further tax cuts; and
WHEREAS, the FY 2006 Federal budget proposes to achieve its budget cutting goals by making deep cuts in programs that critically impact the health, education, and welfare of our most vulnerable populations; and
WHEREAS, when the Federal budget is cut in areas of health, education, and welfare, greater burdens to preserve programs fall to the states, counties, cities, and towns, government entities whose taxes fall heavily on those at the lower end of the income scale; and
WHEREAS, funding for healthcare, adequate food, and housing, educational opportunity, childcare, and all the other programs that support life and the rise out of poverty are already inadequate to meet the need; and
WHEREAS, these deficiencies jeopardize our future as a nation and contradict our self-image as a wise, socially compassionate, and fiscally responsible society;
THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED, that the 206th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ calls upon the Interim Minister and President, and the Board of Directors to exert their full influence on the Massachusetts Congressional delegation to support the restoration of just and necessary taxes and to oppose cuts in programs that target the most vulnerable; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that 206th Annual Meeting urges the Interim Minister and President, and the Board of Directors, through the Commission for Mission and Justice Ministries, to work with the Governor and the State legislators in order to ease the burdens of poverty in this state, and to work towards the goal of lifting everyone out of poverty; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the 206th Annual Meeting encourages the Board of Directors, through the Commission for Mission and Justice Ministries, to aid and coordinate the work of our individual churches on local and statewide poverty concerns and to assist our churches to understand the impact of the tax cuts proposed by the governor; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the 206th Annual Meetings asks the Massachusetts Delegation to General Synod 25 to bring this resolution, modified as necessary, before General Synod at its meeting in Atlanta, July 2005.