The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) called on the U.S. Congress and the Bush Administration to “devise legislation that embraces our whole society” as it copes with the current financial crisis. The agency, one of four international program boards of the denomination, issued its statement after the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a $780 billion bailout plan proposed by the administration and Congressional leaders.
The GBCS statement, prepared by Jim Winkler, top executive of the agency, and John Hill, director of Economic and Environmental Justice, declares that “the financial bubble has burst.” The statement says corporate greed must be replaced by the biblical mandate of stewardship.
GBCS contends that the financial crisis provides the opportunity “to repeal tax cuts that have hugely benefited the wealthy during recent years.” The statement addresses several aspects of the U.S. financial system that should be addressed in any remediation of the situation. These include inequitable tax codes, single-payer health care, and predatory mortgage and credit card lending.
The GBCS statement quotes from the United Methodist Social Principles (¶163 IV. The Economic Community) that says all economic systems “should be under the judgment of God … and recognizes the responsibility of governments to develop and implement sound fiscal and monetary policies that provide for the economic life of individuals and corporate entities, and that ensure full employment and adequate incomes.”
The statement concludes with a call to prayer that U.S. officials will act with wisdom in this crisis. It also urges contacting your members of Congress to insist they devise a just and equitable response to the financial crisis.
The General Board of Church and Society’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education and Leadership Formation, United Nations and International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center at the United Nations.