This list includes some key issues that the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference Justice & Witness Ministries team can provide resources on. For more information on the Justice & Witness Mission Team, click here.
God fashioned human beings to live in harmony with the created world, and act as stewards and caretakers of creation. As early as 1959, the UCC General Synod called for conservation and responsible development of the Earth’s resources for the benefit of all people, and out of consideration for future generations. Today more than ever Christians are called to take seriously environmental science, and work towards preserving our climate, environment, and natural resources. PSEC Justice & Witness ministries:
- Recognizes the reality and threat of global warming as outlined by internationally respected scientific bodies, and calls for education and action around the issue of climate change.
- Calls for policies that conserve natural resources and energy, specifically investment in sustainable energy technologies.
- Stands with the United Church of Christ in calling for divestment from fossil fuel companies.
- Calls for a ban on “fracking” (the injection of a chemical-water mixture into the ground to extract oil).
- Recognizes the complex socioeconomic dimensions of environmental justice such as race, class, and global inequality.
To learn more, visit: http://www.ucc.org/environmental_justice_issues_resources
Members of the faith community have long advocated for sensible, responsible policies to end gun violence. In the words of Rev. William P. Worley, our PSEC Conference Minister: “Americans have added to the firearms of our forefathers hand-held and shoulder fired weapons of mass destruction. But we have abandoned the ethic or the expectation for their careful use in a culture that is increasingly driven by fear, division and emotional reactivity. There is a reasonableness to our relationship with guns that is being denied, to protect a right without commensurate responsibility, and our days are growing more and more deadly.” PSEC Justice & Witness ministries advocate for legislation to strengthen licensing and registration of gun sales, strengthen regulations of gun dealers, and ban semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips.
To learn more, visit: http://www.ucc.org/gun-violence
Jesus Christ’s ministry gave particular attention to people experiencing sickness. As Christians, we must continue to make progress toward a U.S. health care system that is inclusive, equitable, affordable, accountable, and accessible for all. For more than thirty-five years the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has advocated for health care as a right and a priority for all people. PSEC Justice & Witness ministries advocates for the following:
- Preserve the coverage gains made by the ACA and further decrease the number of Americans without health insurance.
- Preserve the funding for Medicaid expansion and expand the program in all states.
- Ensure that reasonable revenue is in the federal budget to pay for health care for all.
- Uphold the purpose of Medicaid by refraining from structural changes to how the program is funded. Changing the funding structure to a block grant or per capita cap would impose rigid limits on the amount of federal money available to states for Medicaid, endangering the health and well-being of children, older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.
- Ensure that insurance premiums and cost sharing are truly affordable to all. Policies to improve affordability must prioritize those with the greatest need, not those with the means to put money in a health savings account or wait for tax deductions.
- Maintain health services and benefits currently provided by the ACA including access to essential medicines, mental health services, preventive services, pre-natal services, and other key services necessary to maintain health.
- Maintain guaranteed issue for those with pre-existing conditions. Do not quarantine the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions in unaffordable high risk insurance pools.
- Prevent insurance companies from discriminating against women, the elderly, and people in poverty.
- Create effective mechanisms of accountability for insurance companies and not allow them to have annual or lifetime caps on expenditures.
- Continue to allow children under the age of 26 to be covered by their parents’ insurance.
To learn more, visit: http://www.ucc.org/justice_health
As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous and explicit in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. The United Church of Christ has historically demonstrated concern over anti-immigration sentiment in the United States, and supports the well-being of immigrants. As early as 1981, the UCC General Synod:
- Called for refugees and immigrants to be given constitutional and labor rights.
- Declared opposition to sanctions against employers.
- Urged penalties against exploitation or immigrants.
- Supported the granting of regular legal status to undocumented persons.
- Called for the church to support immigrants and refugees.
PSEC Justice & Witness ministries continues to advocate on behalf of immigrants and refugees, regardless of their faith tradition or nation or origin.
To learn more, visit: http://www.ucc.org/justice_immigration
The United Church of Christ has historically been a prophetic voice advocating for the intrinsic value, equality, and inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and same gender loving (SGL) persons. The first national UCC body to affirm civil rights for LGBT people did so in 1969. In 1972 the UCC ordained its first openly gay person into ministry. And in 1985 the UCC General Synod declared itself to be “Open and Affirming,” a designation welcoming LGBT persons as full members of the church. Nevertheless, LGBT citizens still face bullying, harassment, and violence, legal discrimination, and are targeted by hateful legislative efforts such as “bathroom bills.” PSEC Justice & Witness ministries not only encourages individual congregations to become Open and Affirming, but advocates for civil rights and protections for all LGBT citizens.
To learn more, visit: http://www.ucc.org/lgbt_about
The UCC’s call to be a multiracial and multicultural church is an acknowledgement that racial justice is the inclusiveness of all humans regardless of skin color, culture, or ethnic origin. Scripture states that all people are created in God’s image, meaning racism and white supremacy are not merely “personal beliefs” but real, categorical evil in our midst. Since the very founding of our nation, institutionalized racism has denied people of color equal access to freedom, property, representation, employment, education, just policing, and due process, just to name a few. Racial biases still remain embedded in our public and private institutions, unfairly privileging some of God’s people over others. As Christians, we are obligated to engage in sacred conversations on race, while seeking to dismantle both overt and covert racism wherever we encounter it.
To learn more, visit: http://www.ucc.org/justice_racism