Justice & Witness Key Issues

The UCC Public Policy Briefing Book identifies a number of domestic and international social justice issues and suggests public policies to address these issues.

Domestic

Bullying and Harassment

Bullying happens in all kinds of communities—at school and even at church. At school, bullying creates significant adverse academic and other consequences for students. No federal law or policy exists that requires schools to address the problem, and existing state laws and school district policies vary greatly in their breadth and effectiveness. To learn more, visit: glsen.org/binary-data/GLSEN_ATTACHMENTS/file/000/000/916-1.pdf.

Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign finance reform sits at the intersection of our faith values and our democratic ideals. It is not simply a political or public relations dilemma but a moral matter. Rules governing the financing of campaigns have long been a focus of Congressional debate; yet meaningful campaign finance reform that would make the electoral process more responsive to and accessible to average voters has long been elusive. To learn more, visit: freespeechforpeople.org.

Environment

In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the right to regulate greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions under the existing Clean Air Act. However, opposition has been strong and the EPA has announced that it will delay until later in 2011 the implementation of new rules limiting smog and industrial boiler pollution.  Air pollution has an immediate and long-term impact on the health of our communities.  Dirty air has a disproportionate effect on children and non-white poorer communities.   Delaying or diminishing the new rules will add to climate change and its perilous outcomes for future generations. Make your own community or congregation a model of energy efficiency and mobilization for clean air, and then invite your elected officials to come and see how ordinary citizens are taking action.To learn more, visit: : ucc.org/environmental-ministries/water-air.html.

Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expands access to quality, affordable health insurance to an additional 32 million currently uninsured Americans. For the first time the U.S. has a health care policy that addresses escalating costs, uneven quality, discriminatory practices by health insurance providers; provides mandatory funding for prevention and wellness programs and activities; and strengthens the Medicare program. Repealing the 2010 law would return us to a health system that was unfriendly to many. To learn more, visit: ucc.org/justice/health.

HIV-AIDS

The U.S. has a growing HIV epidemic. 38% of those who test positive for HIV are diagnosed with AIDS within one year. The need for antiviral HIV therapy is greater today than it ever has been. However, large numbers of the uninsured or under-insured do not have access to the life-saving treatment and care services they need. To learn more, visit: ucc.org/health/hivaids/uccpolicy.html.

Human Rights

A number of controversial provisions of the Bush Administration’s Patriot Act are set to expire this year. By passing repeated extensions of the Patriot Act, Congress has failed to come to terms with serious social justice and liberty issues within the Act including warrantless searches and seizures. There has been significant movement to introduce new legislation to maintain these provisions in law. To learn more, visit: voices.yahoo.com/the-usa-patriot-act-2001-1040241.html?cat=75.

Immigration

Comprehensive immigration reform to promote family unity, bring people out of the shadows, and create a path to legalization for undocumented persons living in the U.S. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youths who entered the U.S. as children to enter a path to legal status through higher education or military service. Yet, heightened enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and police has resulted in record deportation of residents with thousands of families broken apart. Enforcement-only legislation, prescribing ways to punish violators without providing a path to legal citizenship in the U.S., has a devastating impact on immigrant communities. To learn more, visit: ucc.org/justice/immigration.

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