Sacred texts describe basic human needs for food, clothing, healing, compassion, and hospitality. A contemporary list of human needs would also include a decent job that earns a living wage, adequate and accessible health care, affordable housing, quality public education, high quality childcare, and a healthy environment.
Instead, in an increasingly interdependent world economic order we find unfair economic systems that work to benefit some and hurt others. Globalization has helped to create a situation in which relatively few are hoarding an increasingly large amount of the world’s resources. Oppressive labor practices in effect “imprison” large swaths of the world’s population in poverty. In our own country, income inequality is greater today than at any time since the Great Depression.
People of faith have a responsibility to address these inequities and the political processes that organize our common life, allocate resources, and tackle our shared problems. We have a responsibility to speak on behalf of, and stand with, the poor, oppressed and marginalized in order to redress the imbalances and live together in God’s shalom.
When it comes to the public trust, we call for fair and moral budgets that support the less affluent, including our homeless and hungry neighbors. We advocate for a livable minimum wage and fair and progressive taxation. As an alternative to an economic order focused on consumerism, we lift up the importance of cooperation and the values of community.